Wednesday, February 10, 2010
THEY NEVER CAME BACK by Caroline B. Cooney
THEY NEVER CAME BACK by Caroline B. Cooney is a great thriller for middle grade readers. There are just enough twists and turns in the plot to keep readers focused, and it offers a few thought provoking questions to make readers consider just exactly what they would do in the same circumstances.
Chapter one is about Cathy. She is enrolled in a special accelerated summer school. The program squeezes one full year of Latin into a summer course. Her focus is Latin morning, noon, and night. One afternoon in the cafeteria, Cathy is shocked when a boy named Tommy approaches her table and calls her Murielle. He even drops to his knees before her as he insists she is his long-lost cousin. He claims she was taken from his home five years ago by social services. Then he adds that she had been abandoned by her parents who were guilty of stealing millions of dollars from business investors. Suddenly Cathy is the center of attention.
Chapter two begins with Murielle. Ten year old Murielle is a lucky girl. Her parents are in the financial investment business, and they are able to provide her with anything her heart desires. She is used to living in a fancy house, having pretty clothes, new things whenever she wants, and private lessons in just about anything she is interested in doing. Even though they are constantly working and leave her in the care of various babysitters and housekeepers, Murielle thinks her parents are terrific.
One afternoon Murielle is with her Aunt Lois headed toward the airport. The plan is that her aunt will be dropping her off to catch a flight with her father. They will be flying to England where they will meet up with her mother. Suddenly Aunt Lois turns the car away from the airport and begins shouting about how she won't go through with the plans. Murielle has no idea what is going on except that she is not going to be going with her parents. At that point her life changes forever.
Could Cathy and Murielle really be one and the same? Is Cathy, who lives with a struggling foster family, really the daughter of millionaire investors? It's been five years since their scandalous disappearance. Could they really have been more interested in money than in their adorable little Murielle?
THEY NEVER CAME BACK is a fast-paced novel with a unique plot. Caroline B. Cooney's smooth flowing prose will keep readers on the edge of their seats as they follow the action to see just exactly who is who in this clever mystery.