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Book Review: The Night She Disappeared by April Henry

6 Apr 2012

Title: The Night She Disappeared
Author: April Henry
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: 13th March, 2012
Format: e-ARC
Source: Publisher for review via Netgalley (Thank you!)

Gabie drives a Mini Cooper. She also works part time as a delivery girl at Pete’s Pizza. One night, Kayla—another delivery girl—goes missing. To her horror, Gabie learns that the supposed kidnapper had asked if the girl in the Mini Cooper was working that night. Gabie can’t move beyond the fact that Kayla’s fate was really meant for her, and she becomes obsessed with finding Kayla. She teams up with Drew, who also works at Pete’s. Together, they set out to prove that Kayla isn’t dead—and to find her before she is.

The Night She Disappeared is a fast-paced thriller that prompts readers to consider the severity of kidnapping/ disappearances that has happened around the world. While it did have its ‘ups’ and ‘downs’, I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

As a hardcover crime fiction fan, I’ve always been fascinated by crime scene investigations, autopsy reports, transcripts of interviews between police and suspect etc. I loved how in addition to the story, there were also newspaper clippings, phone transcripts and even an autopsy report! I was literally over the moon every time I read a police report/transcript/clipping, since these files are such a rare sight in YA fiction these days! 

The story is told through multiple perspectives – Kayla (victim), Drew, Gabie, and even the perpetrator! While I must admit, had I not read the title of each chapter (which specifies whose POV we’ll be reading from), I wouldn’t have been able to tell.  Drew's and Gabie's ‘voices’ were indistinguishable, in my opinion anyway, but funnily enough, it wasn't a huge problem. But I felt the fact that we got to read from the perspective of the victim & perpetrator defeated the purpose of unravelling the mystery behind the girl’s kidnapping- half the book,everyone were freaking out over whether Kayla was dead or not, but since I knew she was still alive, it just…sort of ruined the mystery :/.

I also had a little issue with the characters. It was difficult to connect with Gabie and Drew; I just couldn’t understand Gabie’s rash decisions and while I did understand her feels of guilt, her actions seemed a little..’over the top’. My biggest issue however, was with the police officer- his actions were unbelievable and just so un-police-like. I highly doubt, even with my very limited experience with cops, that they would yell at a guilt-ridden girl and accuse her of not contributing at all to the investigation? (i.e. yelling “you’ve been no help at all”.) I personally find that a little hard to believe.

And before I finish off, as a crime-fiction freak, I’ve always believed one shouldn’t announce a person has died, until the body is found. (It’s common sense, right? Or…not?) But here, the theories were all over the place and even with inconclusive evidence, it seemed the police, and everyone else, decided to believe this particular theory just to achieve some sort of closure. And guess what? I find that hard to believe.

Overall, I found this a very entertaining read, despite the lack of intense mystery & suspense.Even though it was so short, this still managed to get me thinking about some local, and globally known kidnapping cases. (which reminds me...there was an attempted kidnapping incident near my school! *scary*) Anyway, for a 240-page book, this was pretty good! :)


  1. Oooh it HAS been a while since you've written a review hasn't it? :P OMG you love crime fiction too? Have you read anything by James Patterson? Or are you steering clear from adult books at the moment? My friend has read quite a few by him and she really likes them and he's supposed to be REALLY good at writing crime fiction. :P

    It's frustrating when it's difficult to connect with the characters. :( Gah shame that the actual crime part of it was a bit muddled...but at least you still mnged to enjoy it. :)


  2. YESSSS! I read James Patterson's umm..that women's murder mystery club or something? I forgot the name :S Anyway, the first book was pretty good- but it was a little graphic.. NOO WAY! I LOVEEE ADULT BOOKSS<3 (Just not erotica, LOL) He's alright? I prefer Agatha Christie's crime fictions<3 You'll NEVER be able to guess who the culprit is!

    It was not exactly near my SCHOOL, but around the area, I guess? Like pretty close! This teacher announced it during assembly, but it sounded so unbelieveable cuz the supposed kidnapper wasn't being SUBTLE AT ALL. (he had pink headphones (I think) on! Isn't that just like screaming out - LOOK AT ME! WATCH WHAT I'M DOING!)? hahahaaa GO AHEAD! AND THEN WE CAN SWOON OVER SHANE WEST TOGETHER<3 HAHAAA

  3. Kidnapping is always a scary thing to imagine! I've seen some good reviews for this book so I'm looking forward to reading it myself. I do like a good mystery but I'm not too keen on multiple points of view. I can see why that ruined some of the mystery to the story, but I hope that doesn't end up bothering me as well. Awesome review, Shirley! :D

  4. It's been so interesting to see the different reactions to this book. I had a bit of a hard time adjusting to the writing style so it probably isn't something I'll rush to read, either, although I know many readers have also really enjoyed it. Thanks for the honest review!

  5. I think this seems pretty intriguing. Think i'll look it up to see if it's for me or not :)

  6. Yesss I need to read that series! So far I only the first few books in the Alex Cross series. I really want to start reading them. OHHHH Agatha Christie! I've got her collection of Miss Marple. :D I've also got the collection of Sherlock Holmes, have you read anything of those?

    EEEEK. PINK HEADPHONES? What a creeper. o_o But it was an ATTEMPTED kidnapping so he failed right? Probably was listening to music too loudly...


  7. I've been seeing this book in different blogs. Never was quite interested to pick it up but the cover looks creepy and scary. Sad that you weren't able to connect with the characters but I'm still glad you found it entertaining!

    Awesome review, Shirley! ♥

  8. Haha it sounds like you were in HEAVEN with all the crime investigation evidence and stuff. They'd be such cool additions and like you said, they're so rare in YA, so it makes for an even more intriguing and unique story! Sucks that the mystery was ruined by the POV switching and some disbelieving moments, which often tend to pull you out of the story no matter how engaged. Still, I'm glad you liked it! Fantastic review, SHIRELY!!

    EEEEEK. And that is scary about the kidnapping near your school :S DON'T GO ANYWHERE ALONE!

  9. Hmm... Haven't read th Alex Cross series :S might check it out when I have time! (I.e. After year 12 LOL) Ooohh, I've only read Christie's stand-alone novels, and a few Poirot ( don't know how to spell it!), but not Miss Marple :S SHERLOCK HOLMES! Hahaa I read ONE umm..story/case for year 9 English (our topic was crime fiction!) - does that count?:D

    Yeahhhh he failed. Apparently he was ASIAN, wearing PINK HEADPHONES. It was an attempted kidnapping of an 11 year old girl :/ but she escaped :DDDD

  10. lalaine Ficbookreviews7 September 2012 at 19:10

    Sounds interesting enough, the thing that catches my attention was the title, I thought there was more to it than that, but the lack of suspense and mystery seemed a bit disappointing. I am not too eager to read this now but I'd definitely would dive into this book in the future. Great review Shirley, as always.

    I hope you are getting all my comments already. :))


    Happy Easter


  11. YES!! I love love LOVED having all those police reports and stuff because it was so cool, and not many YA books deal with this kind of stuff! But I had the exact same problems as you! I couldn't connect with the characters for the life of me, and I felt like all the characters had the same voice. And I kind of wish we didn't know Kayla was alive either -- it would've made everything more intense! x)

    Super-amazing honest review, Shirley! (You're like a Mimi mind-reader!) It sounds like you would make a kick-butt crime scene investigator -- or at least better than the ones in this book! :) <3


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