Gone Missing by Jean Ure
|Gone Missing by Jean Ure|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Another of Jean Ure's brand of light, issue-based in which everythings turns out well in the end. Highly recommended for late primary and early secondary children who like realism, but nothing too demanding.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 192||Date: January 2007|
|Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Fourteen year old Jade is having a miserable time at home. Her step-father is overly strict. Her mother doesn't like confrontation. Her sister, Kirsty, is an infuriating goody two shoes. Jade is at That Age. She's stroppy, opinionated and faddy. She likes boys and make up. She doesn't like eating meat. She has an intense - and voluble - dislike for most of her teachers. Jade's step-father is old-fashioned, very religious and a strict disciplinarian. It's all a recipe for disaster really.
After a particularly unpleasant confrontation with her step-father, Jade resolves to run away to London and persuades her friend, Honey, to go with her. Honey is a sweet child with an alcoholic mother. Honey is so painfully shy and nervous, most people think she is stupid. But when Jade and Honey do reach London, Honey proves to be the stronger of the two girls.
I really like Jean Ure. She writes kitchen sink dramas for the early teens and she does it really well. Gone Missing is told by Jade in a first person narrative and for the adult reader, Jade really is a riot. She's stroppy, she never stops to think unless she's sulking in some high dudgeon or other and, deep down, she's a really great kid. Ure has a knack of creating such characters - her heroines are all warm creatures and ones both her readers and their parents will recognise immediately. They do learn from their mistakes, but only eventually. The adult figures in her books also learn from their mistakes, but also only eventually. There's a wise and tolerant vein of humour running under each family crisis.
In Gone Missing, one of the adult figures remains intractable, but this is presented as a means of differentiating child from adult and is the kind of subtle quality that sets Ure above many of her chick-lit for teens contemporaries. The writing is colloquial but clear and the plotting is pacy. Ure deals with real teen issues but there isn't anything to make even the most over-anxious parent over-anxious. And the last page, as ever, ends with a smile.
Gone Missing will appeal to confident readers of 10 and up and is highly recommended.
My thanks to Harper Collins for sending the book.
Fans of Jean Ure can write to her via her website.
If your child likes Jean Ure but needs something more demanding, try The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson. If they're not quite ready for a full-length novel, try Anne Fine's How To Write Really Badly.
You can read more book reviews or buy Gone Missing by Jean Ure at Amazon.com.
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