Sunday, September 27, 2009


By Norah McClintock
ISBN No. 978-1-55469-152-4
Youth lit has certainly grown up since the days when “The Catcher in the Rye” – which was about a youth – was considered an adult novel (publishing house editors have since said if the book were published today it would most likely be a youth title). Fast forward 50 years and witness “Taken”, which takes as its premise the POV of a girl kidnapped by a serial killer (It’s like a prequel to “The Lovely Bones” without the pretensions).
Now, this being youth lit publishing and not the wild west internet you just know that Stephanie, the book’s narrator, is going to mine her confidence, resources and survival lessons taught by her grandfather to survive her ordeal. That’s a given, right? Right? What we’re not prepared for, though, is the news that since Stephanie’s run away from home before she knows the police won’t be looking for her. Uh oh. And suddenly “Taken” takes on a whole new emotion for this genre: dread.
But before any happy ending (and I’m not saying there is a happy ending just that most youth lit books have happy endings) we’re treated to the obligatory checklist of do’s and don’ts for at-risk kids (which is another major ingredient of youth lit). Thankfully, the lessons are made palpable by McClintock’s winning way with the way tweens and teens talk and think and text. Even more impressive is how effective the book is at warning and informing parents and kids about avoiding dangerous situations and dealing with them when they happen. “Taken” is a keeper.