Thursday, July 3, 2014

Book Review: Wake Up Missing

Wake Up Missing
By Kate Messner
Walker Childrens, 2013
Reviewed from Advanced Reader's Copy
Audience: Grades 5 to 8
ISBN:  9780802723147
Publication Date:  September 10, 2013

Cat has travelled across the country in search of a cure for her ongoing concussion symptoms and ends up at I-CAN in the Florida Everglades.  Even though this is a renowned treatment facility, there are only six patients, two of whom she never meets.  Cat meets Ben during her travel, then meets Sarah and Quentin, two other patients just beginning their treatments.  Cat is skeptical that anything can help, but the first rounds of treatment seem to work, then she meets Trent, one of the elusive patients and learns that he is acting entirely different from his original self.  Now Cat is questioning I-CAN and the charming Dr. Ames and their motives after overhearing some concerning conversations.  Will Cat be able to find out the truth about I-CAN and keep herself and the other patients safe?

This is another mid-list title from Kate Messner, but from a different publisher and it a totally different genre.  This is definitely science fiction as the treatments for concussion seem strange and quite unethical toward the end, although there is real science behind the fiction.  The story really didn't grab me until the last 80 pages or so, rather, there was a paranoid attitude on the part of Cat that the reader knew was valid, but had no context about why.  The whole tone of the book felt like something by Margaret Peterson Haddix, a very popular author that I never really got excited about.  

All that said, I would still recommend this book to young readers, especially those that want to dip their toe in science fiction.  The setting is firmly rooted in reality, but it's the treatments that are amazing, so it is sci-fi lite.  And it is a good adventure story with some real action that will have readers questioning the outcome.  For me personally, stories like this (and virtually everything by Haddix) are a lot of questioning and running and paranoia with little reward.

But for those of you that like a good government cover-up with ethically questionable experiments going on, then Wake Up Missing might be just the book for you.

Happy Reading!

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