Monday, March 25, 2013

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Missing

Today’s PickMissing by Becky Citra

Orca, 2011

Thea and her dad are always on the move, from one small Cariboo town to another, trying to leave behind the pain of Thea's mom's death. They never stay long enough in one place for Thea to make friends, but when her dad gets work renovating a guest ranch on Gumboot Lake, she dares to hope that their wandering days are over. At the ranch she makes friends with Van, a local boy, and works hard to build the trust of an abused horse named Renegade. When Thea unearths the decades-old story of a four-year-old girl who disappeared from the ranch and was never seen again, she enlists Van to help her solve the mystery. When some disturbing facts come to light, she finally starts to come to terms with the losses in her own life.
My Take: 

Even more than the mystery in this story, I enjoyed the emotional subplots of Thea working with Renegade to build his trust, thinking about her relationship with her mother through her memories, and working to develop friendships in a new place where no one seems to notice her. I really liked the author’s writing style, where no words were wasted and just the right amount of detail was included to help me picture the setting and characters.
This is another story where the voice drew me right in. It helped me connect with Thea and see the world from her perspective. I love the way the author weaves in small, specific details that help to make the story and setting more authentic. I’d study this novel to see how to include clues to a mystery and leave space for the reader to put the pieces together.
Favourite quotes:
“I hear his hooves clumping on the hard ground as he moves, shadowlike, back into the safety of his shelter.”

“Everyone says it’s better to let things out instead of bottling them up inside. I’ve never tested out that theory.”

Other Info:
Becky Citra is a full-time writer who lives on a ranch in a small place called Bridge Lake in British Columbia.

According to her website, she started reading and writing early: “An avid reader of The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, I started scribbling my own mystery series at 11 years old.”
Becky works on her writing everyday if she can and says, “I love the initial stages of a story best when everything is new and full of promise.”

Her recently developed blog contains great tips and advice for writers and book recommendations. I’ll definitely be following it to learn more about writing.

Missing is nominated for an Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading award in the Silver Birch category for 2013. Other nominated books that I’ve featured include: Dragon Seer's Gift by Janet McNaughton, Cat Found by Ingrid Lee, A Tinfoil Sky by Cyndi Sand-Eveland, The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis, Making Bombs for Hitler by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, The Dead Kid Detective Agency, and The Grave Robber's Apprentice.

Other books by this author include:

 The Way Home
 After the Fire
 Sam's Ride
 School Campout
 Dog Days
 Never To Be Told

The Enchanted Theater series:
Jeremy and the Enchanted  Theater 
Jeremy in the Underworld 
Jeremy and the Golden  Fleece 
Jeremy and the Fantastic Flying Machine
The Ellie and Max series:

Ellie’s New Home
The Freezing Moon
Danger at the Landings
Strawberry Moon

For more, visit Becky Citra’s website.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was dreamed up by the incredible Shannon Messenger, author of Keeper of the Lost Cities. Visit her blog for an up-to-date list of all the bloggers who are participating and posting about middle grade books today!



  1. Sounds like a winner to me. I'm always up for a girl and her horse story:)

    1. Me too! I love stories about horses. One of my daughters used to be addicted to the Saddle Club books.

  2. Sounds good. The voice and the mystery really make it sound interesting. Thanks for the review.

  3. I haven't heard of this, so thanks for the heads-up. I'm especially intrigued by what you said about studying this novel to see how to add clues and let the reader put them together. Sounds like I need this book!

  4. When I was a girl, I devoured any story that had horses in it. I think it was my way of actually 'owning' a horse. This book sounds great.

  5. I would have loved a book like this growing up. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I just stumbled upon this. Thanks for the great review. I'll keep following your blog!


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