The Missing Girl by Norma Fox Mazer

The five Herbert sisters live in a world where they are poor but safe in their small town. Unknown to them, a man has started watching them, waiting to catch glimpses as they hurry off to school, trying to remain unnoticed. The tension in the book builds as each girl takes risks that would be considered safe in any other book. Until one girl takes one risk too many and goes missing.

Each of the girls has their own unique personality and problems, from wanting to escape to failing spelling. Their strength (and the novel’s strength) comes from the fact that the girls are fascinating both as individuals and as a group. The family dynamics are complicated not only among the sisters but also between their parents. The pacing in the novel is deliberate and tense, slowly escalating to the point of no return.

In the end, the book is immensely satisfying. Girl power is definitely rocking in this book, even though none of the sisters would see themselves as powerful. Mazer has created a novel where children are victims but not powerless, a novel that needs to be read and that teens will love to read.