November 17, 2017

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Disappeared by Francisco X. Stork | SLJ Review

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redstarSTORK, Francisco X. Disappeared. 336p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Bks. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780 545944472.

Gr 8 Up –Sara, a reporter at her Mexican hometown, writes a column in the local newspaper detailing numerous cases of abducted young girls in Cuidad Juárez, including her best friend Linda. When the young woman receives a coded email message hinting at her friend’s whereabouts and captors, she investigates further and discovers how deeply the corruption and criminality runs in her city. Her brother, Emiliano, lives a normal life focusing on soccer, his crush Perla Rubi, and a budding artisanal crafts business. He is determined to rescue his mother and sister from the poverty and dangers around them, leading him to accept a lucrative but illicit business deal. Stork’s use of alternating perspectives provides insight into the siblings’ motivations, and establishes a strong sense of setting as the characters move through a variety of environments. Sara’s thread is fast-paced and thrusts the plot forward, while Emiliano’s moral and emotional struggles provide complexity. Once the siblings flee to the U.S. to save Sara from the criminals she exposes, her story line recedes and Emiliano becomes the focus. This novel touches on themes like the persecution of journalists, political corruption, and cyber investigations. VERDICT A timely and touching novel that will surely engross fans of true crime stories. This title would be a welcome addition to young adult collections.–Jessica Agudelo, New York Public Library

This review was published in the School Library Journal August 2017 issue.

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