Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on February 23rd 2016
Daisy's best friend is missing . . . and not for the reasons she thinks.
Henry Hawking is sixteen years old, brilliant, funny, and sly--and now he's missing. But no one seems worried except his best friend, Daisy Cruz, who knows that Henry's security-obsessed parents would never leave town without taking proper precautions. And Henry would never go away without saying good-bye.
Daisy considers all the obvious explanations for Henry's disappearance (federal witness protection program, alien abduction) before breaking into Henry's house. In his room, she finds a note that pleads, SAVE ME.
Desperate to find Henry, Daisy follows his trail deep into the California wilderness. What she finds there makes her wonder if she ever knew Henry at all . . . and if the world as she knows it will ever be the same.
Let us take a minute and look at how pretty the cover is. And intriguing! Then add in the synopsis, and wow, I am needing answers.
Now, kindly forget all of those things and open the book.
Let’s start with Daisy, because I liked Daisy. She’s funny, and relatable. Like, if I were her age, I could see us hanging out on weekends or something. She was a good narrator for the book, because she’s equal parts appropriately freaked out and regular teenaged girl. It worked, because had she somehow turned into a serious faux-adult, it would have seemed ridiculous, but if she had been completely aloof it would have felt even worse. She has a good balance to her personality and I enjoyed it.
I also enjoyed how much she cared about her family, even though they definitely had their share of problems. They weren’t perfect, but there was love and a bond and it was incredibly important to Daisy. Even while they were apart, Daisy thought of them, they never were missing from her mind, which was refreshing and believable.
The book also moved at a quick pace and was easy to read, and was interesting enough to keep me wanting to see the story out. Even when I was wavering on the plot or some of the character’s actions and responses, I still was curious enough to go on.
“So, this ‘wavering on the plot’ stuff you speak of…” may be something you’re curious about. Right. Well, this is kind of a weird story. Henry is missing and Daisy wants to find him. Okay, I am on board. But then things get… odd. And it’s kind of where the logic ends too. I’m not even sure how much of this would be considered “spoilers”, so I am treading carefully, but this book isn’t about Henry’s disappearance. It starts out that way, yes. But it definitely turns into something very different. At first, I was okay with that. But how it all played out was just not believable in any way. There were a group of people in the story who I am pretty sure were supposed to be extra-crazy versions of the Duggars? They were instead the Dunkles, and all seventy bagillion kids’ names started with “K”. And they were, as I said, even more off their rockers, and I feel like they were there for sheer entertainment/filler value. If you cut them out of the story, nothing would have really changed, except for a few fewer chapters and names to remember.
Then there’s those pesky character reactions and responses that didn’t work for me. At one point, Daisy is trapped somewhere. And instead of like, losing her shit, she does dishes for awhile. Look, I don’t do the dishes on a good day, so when I am in a place I can’t escape from and have no idea what my fate holds? I am going to skip the housework, mmmkay? And then she starts making crafts. Because of course she does. She is not the only character to do this kind of thing, but this is an early, non-spoilery example.
Okay, so the next part, which incidentally, is the part that annoyed me the most, has to be put into spoiler tags. The first spoiler doesn’t spoil the whole book, but if you want to go in blind, don’t read it. That cute kid GIF from last time worked to stop you people from looking, so let’s try it again.
Do not look if you haven’t read/don’t want to be spoiled!
View Spoiler »So the basic problem with the entire plot was the absurdity of it. There were bunkers and such, because apparently, it was the apocalypse that made Henry disappear. Or more accurately, the “Madagascar Plague” which somehow got transmitted by lemurs? And now pets? To humans?
And then it came to America, so Henry’s family and a few others quarantined themselves in the woods with the faux-Duggars and were like, sporadically driving into town which seemed insanely stupid. And they were all completely sure (except for Daisy, who was literally the lone voice of semi-reason) that this was the end of the entire freaking planet.
Also, why wouldn’t Henry’s parents have just like, sent a note to school saying he was going on vacation, or there was some impromptu family emergency? Then no one would wonder where he was, hence no one would come looking. For all their prepping, this was pretty thoughtless and/or lazy planning on their part. « Hide Spoiler
So yes, I was kind of rolling my eyes at quite a few of these things. But again, I was still curious enough to read on to find out how it all wrapped up. Which brings me to my next spoiler…
Now, this one will spoil the whole book. So seriously, don’t read it unless you have read the book or are like, into being spoiled, which it seems like some of you masochists are 😉View Spoiler »And then it ended. Things were getting so bad and people were dying and then….. a cure. Just like that, apocalypse averted. Go back to business, I think there’s a dance coming up at school (I shit you not). So the mass hysteria was for almost nothing. Yes, some people did succumb, but I think that the quarantine bunkers and the living in the woods nonsense was extreme. « Hide Spoiler
Bottom Line: While I liked the main character and found the book easy to read and relatively entertaining, the implausibility of the plot as well as the character’s actions left me scratching my head.