Haddix, Margaret Peterson. (2008). Found. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Textbook Chapter: 7
Subgenre: Science Fiction
Possible Curriculum Connections: Time travel, Adoption, Famous Missing Persons from History (Amelia Earhart, Virginia Dare, etc)
Found is an excellent beginning to The Missing Series by Margaret Peterson Haddix. The prologue to the book grabs the reader's attention as a mysterious plane filled with only babies appears and disappears at a US airport roughly 13 years prior to the book. The plot unfolds several years later as Jonah, an adopted 13 year old boy, and Chip, his new neighbor and friend, begin receiving notes in the mail saying "You are one of the missing." and "Beware! They're coming back for you!" These mysterious notes lead Chip into discovering that he, too, was adopted, although his parents had hidden that from him his entire life. As Jonah, Chip, and Jonah's sister Katherine begin investigating these notes, they follow a lead to FBI agent, James Reardon, who is anything but helpful. While at the FBI, the teens are helped by a "ghost" who shares a file with them about other kids who were also "missing." Upon further investigation, all of the teens on the list were adopted around the same time, were close to the same age, and all live in the same area. After a meeting with an airport worker who witnessed the plane disappear years earlier, the teens believe that they may be part of something bigger and scarier than they thought. Finally, the book concludes as the trio attend an adoption conference, where they notice that they are paired with all of the other "missing" kids from the list. They end up being tricked into a cave which was actually a time continuum by two opposing time travelers/ manipulators. The reader discovers that the teens are not actually teens, but are actually famous missing people from history that have been transported to present day America. The book ends with the trio being transported back to the 15th Century. I guess I will have to read the next book in the series to discover what happens next!
Personal Reaction/ Why Young Adults would Read this book:
From the very beginning, this book caught my attention! The prologue was definitely a hook for the reader, as discovering who the missing babies were, where the plane went, and what was going to happen next became my life for the next several days! However, after the prologue, I felt that the book was a little slow in developing. Although it is a great plot, the climax does not happen until the very end of the book in the cave. I know that series books are written in this manner to keep the reader wanting more, but I would have liked a little more action, a little sooner! The science fiction aspect of the book was very interesting! The combination of historical figures and science fiction makes the book unique for sure! I definitely want to read the next books in the series to see what happens next because the end of the book was one of the best climaxes I have read in a long time!
I think that young adults would like to read this book. The plot develops slowly, but steadily, and the twists, turns, and surprises were fairly easy to follow. The main characters in the novel were 12 and 13 years old, which would appeal to the age of the intended audience. Also, what teen, or anyone really, wouldn't want to time travel!? The themes in the book were teenage appropriate and would also appeal to the reader. Finally, the adoption theme would tie into adolescence because just like the characters in the story, most teenagers are struggling to find out who they really are, both literally and figuratively. This would be a great series for both male and female young adults to read!