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By author: Becky Citra
Selling Points: "death, horses, mystery, friendship, family"
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: Apr/01/2011
Pages: 184
Fiction Ages 9-12
Price:  $9.95
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"I like being alone," I say. "Honestly. Groups just aren't my thing. It's actually fun not having friends."
   I don't know why I said that. It was supposed to be funny, but it sounds pathetic. Van's face is more transparent even than mine. He doesn't embarrass easily but he definitely looks annoyed.
   "I don't think sarcasm suits you," he says stiffly.
   I'm tired of talking about this. I stand up and stretch. "Have you ever seen Renegade?" I ask.
   "Who's Renegade?" says Van.
   "A horse," I say. "Come on."

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.
Washington State Young Adult Review Group - April 1, 2012
"The mysery is engaging...and the story will appeal to reluctant readers, especially horse-loving girls."
Canadian Teacher - January 1, 2012
"Citra's thirty years' experience of ranch life and horses shines as does her powerful writing. The descriptions engage the senses. The pacing will keep the targeted readers out of breath as they quickly turn the pages to find out what happens next. The characters are engaging and alive."
Library Media Connection - October 1, 2011
"The novel provides just enough foreshadowing that readers will enjoy piecing together the mystery. The theme of fitting in and finding acceptance will resonate...Recommended."
School Library Journal - September 1, 2011
"The story is fast moving and compelling...The concurrent story line of Thea's maturing relationships with those around her add another layer of interest."
Canadian Children's Book News - July 1, 2011
"The action begins right away, and the tension is kept tight with hints and foreshadowing...The mystery thoughtfully leads readers through themes of guilt, jealousy and death...Missing is a considered and thoughtful novel for horse-lovers and non-horse-lovers alike."
Booklist - May 1, 2011
"The intersection of Thea's mysterious past with a cold-case mystery she stumbles upon in her latest stay deep in the Cariboo wilderness is compellingly told in Thea's first-person narrative...The theme of finding yourself by letting yourself care for another is subtly and richly conveyed. Citra has written several books for the Orca Young Readers series; fans who are now older should flock to this gripping novel."
VOYA - April 1, 2011
"A quick and engaging read. Readers who live with one parent, lost a parent, or feel like outsiders will especially be able to relate to the main character, Thea...Also, readers who are drawn to mysteries will find it interesting to try to put the pieces together of a crime that remained unsolved for more than fifty years. Young readers will appreciate the speed with which the plot develops, and the clearly—if briefly—drawn characters."
Teen Reviewer for VOYA - April 1, 2011
"Missing succeeds in winning over hearts with a passion for horses. It is easy to connect with the main character, Thea, due to her curiosity and courage as she faces some of the typical problems of a teenage life. The book is an easy read, has a terrific plot, and comes together nicely because of its great presentation...It would be most appealing to middle school students. It is time, as Thea would say, to find a comfortable place to curl up with a good book."
Kirkus Reviews - March 15, 2011
"Citra's writing is solid, and Thea is strong and appealing."
CM Magazine - February 11, 2011
"The storyline's chilling recollections of sibling rivalry, and dramatic moments...should keep readers engrossed. The plot, which is established early, immediately draws the reader into the characters' lives, while the descriptions of Thea's observations and surroundings (especially those of the ranch owner's travel photography and Van's grandfather's realistic carved birds) captivate the senses...Recommended."


Resource Links "The Year's Best", commended  CA  2011
OLA Best Bets, commended  CA  2011
SYRCA Diamond Willow, winner  CA  2012
Arthur Ellis Award nominee, short-listed  CA  2012
Silver Birch Award nominee, short-listed  CA  2013

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Middle Reader Fiction

Compelling fiction
for at-level readers

Key Features:
Compelling stories
Age-appropriate plots

Teaching Resources:
Accelerated Reader
Curriculum Connections


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