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Newly rejacketed to create a strong look Children going missing is a high-profile and important subject Told with the the trademark pace and accessibility of the bestselling and much-loved Cathy MacPhail

About the Author

Cathy MacPhail won the Kathleen Fidler Award with her first novel, Run Zan Run, the Scottish Arts Council Award with her second novel Fighting Back, and a Royal Mail award for Roxy's Baby. Cathy MacPhail's work is enormously popular with young teenagers, her trademarks being a mix of humour, with pacy and topical storylines. Cathy lives in Greenock, Scotland.


Thirteen-year-old Maxine, protagonist of MacPhail's (Run Zan Run) unconvincing novel, believes that her parents "hadn't any room in their thoughts, in their hearts... for her"; her older brother has been missing for 10 months, and they are obsessed with finding him. Sometimes she almost hates Derek and sometimes she wishes that "he had just died." But after her father identifies his body, her mother is inconsolable and begins seeking out mediums to communicate with her dead son. Meanwhile, Maxine receives mysterious phone calls from someone claiming to be Derek; Maxine wonders if it's a ghost or a bully out to hurt her, or perhaps it really is her brother after all. While Maxine's complicated feelings for her missing brother are understandable, other aspects of the novel, unfortunately, come across as too extreme, such as Maxine's father's angry reactions to her skipping school and to her attempts to talk to him about the phone calls, as well as the remarkably facile family therapy session in which Maxine is finally able to tell her parents how neglected she feels and get confirmation of their love. Ages 10-up. (Nov.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

'A gritty, superior page-turner' Guardian 'Young adult fiction is going from strength to strength, led by authors like Catherine MacPhail' The Bookseller

Gr 5-8-Maxine Moody, 13, is struggling with the disappearance of her older brother. Her emotions run from guilt for wishing Derek dead to rage at her parents' seeming indifference toward her, and her guilt deepens when her father identifies Derek's body. The Moody family begins to unravel further as her mother seeks comfort from psychics and her father refuses to talk about his son or his wife's deteriorating health. Matters worsen when someone begins calling Maxine, identifying himself as Derek. She thinks that the calls may be the doing of the vicious class bully, who had taunted her brother. Unable to turn to her parents, she confides in her new friend Cam, who agrees to go with her to meet the mystery caller. The plot initially catches readers' interest, but then it branches into many poorly developed subplots, and the thin characterizations make it difficult to care about these people and their problems. The conclusion seems contrived when all the conflicts are solved and Derek returns home. Fans of the mystery/suspense genre will be better served with titles by Caroline Cooney and Lois Duncan.-Angela M. Ottman, Merton Williams' Middle School, Hilton, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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