How to Find a Missing Girl

Little, Brown. Sept. 2023. 400p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316511506.
Gr 9 Up–Iris Blackthorn’s sister, Stella, has been missing for a year. The detectives in rural Hillwood, LA, have all but closed the case, assuming she ran away from her alcoholic mother. But Iris is determined to find answers. When Iris’s ex-girlfriend, Heather, goes missing after releasing a podcast episode about Stella’s disappearance, it is undeniable that something else must be going on. Readers must prepare to suspend their disbelief in this slow-build thriller as 17-year-old Iris and three of her LGBTQIA+-inclusive friends band together to form their very own underground detective agency. Hacking police databases, designing a tracking app to keep an eye on suspects, breaking and entering—Iris will risk everything if it means uncovering the truth. If readers can get past the notion of teenagers conducting a full investigation when the police have no leads, the dialogue and relationships between characters are complex and believable. Readers will be rooting for Iris to succeed and the natural integration of LGBTQIA+ characters feels authentic and relatable. Most characters cue as white, with some supporting characters described as Latinx and Black.
VERDICT A secondary purchase where crime thrillers are popular.

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