The Girl in the White Van

Holt. May 2020. 224p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250157591.
Gr 7 Up–Living with her mom’s abusive boyfriend in a new city isn’t easy for teenager Savannah Taylor, but she has an outlet: her kung fu class, where she is developing friendships as well as her own strength and skill. Then one night after class, a stranger accosts her in a deserted parking garage and takes her to a mobile home where she meets Jenny, another girl he kidnapped months before. Together, Jenny and Savannah must figure out a way to escape—or die in the process. This tight, fast-paced thriller forgoes deep character exploration in favor of action, keeping the narrative moving at breakneck speed from the first page until the last. It’s ideal for striving readers, particularly those who favor adventure or survival stories. Savannah is a capable but fallible protagonist; though her martial arts training does not prevent her kidnapping, it plays an essential role in protecting herself and Jenny, and her commitment to her own self-sufficiency creates believable tension with her mother’s boyfriend.
VERDICT Sure to satisfy fans of Courtney Summers and Caroline B. Cooney, this book is a solid purchase for libraries with widely circulating thriller collections.

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