Thursday, 27 March 2014

Missing You by Meg Cabot

Missing You (2006) (HarperTempest)
Meg Cabot
Grade: A-
Genre: young adult
Source: own 
Missing: (1) When Lightning Strikes, (2) Code Name Cassandra, (3) Safe House, (4) Sanctuary, (5) Missing You 

Jessica Mastriani is trying to live a normal life. After being hit by lightning when she was sixteen, she developed a power to find missing people that changed her life forever. All Jess wanted to do was find the kids who appeared in the ‘Missing’ ads on the back of milk cartons, but the FBI had other ideas. When she was asked to go to Afghanistan and join the war effort, she couldn’t say no and the experience has left scars that have yet to heal.

Now, Jess has blessedly lost her abilities. Not that the FBI didn’t try to cure her and regain their most valuable asset, but her powers are gone completely and eventually, they had no choice but to let her get back to her life. Now in New York, Jess is at Juilliard and trying to readjust to normal life with her best friend Ruth when the person she least expects turns up on her doorstep. It’s her ex, Rob Wilkins and he wants her to find his sister. Jess wants more than anything to help the man that she once loved, but how can she find his sister when she can’t even find herself?

Almost ten years ago, it was a fierce contest as to whether Meg Cabot’s Missing series or The Mediator series were my favourite. Both Jess and Suze of The Mediator were formidable teenage role-models, unafraid of speaking their mind and standing up for causes that they believed in. Plus, both had super-hot yet untouchable heroes who I had major book-boyfriend crushes on. Meg Cabot is heralded for inventing teen-lit and no one quite writes like her. Returning to these books with an older, more cynical eye, I note and appreciate the flaws but I can’t stop myself from loving her books with the same utter dedication as my thirteen-year-old self.

Missing You was published four years after the release of book four in the series, written at the request of readers. That time gave Jess and Rob time to mature as individuals and their time apart has made them stronger and more resilient to hurdles in their journey. Their anger management issues are (for the most part) long behind them and while there’s some great connections with characters and events of the previous books, Ms Cabot has managed to bring the series in a full circle and give these beloved characters the ending they all deserve. You really can’t ask for more.

Full of her trademark-funny, Missing You was the perfect end to the Missing series. There was a television series based on the books but I’ve never been able to find it on DVD which is a major disappointment. I’m aware of its deviations from the books, but I would love to see it nevertheless. Do read books 1-4 first. Jess and Rob get up to some memorable adventures and his determination to stay away from ‘jail-bait’ Jess is funny and frustrating for the both of them. Meg Cabot’s older books occupy a special shelf in my heart (and literally on my bookshelf too!) and while substantively books 1-4 take the prize, I can’t deny that Missing You was the perfect epilogue for a pretty perfect series.

Image courtesy of Book Depository

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