The Missing: Book 5 Caught Margaret Peterson Haddix

The Missing: Book 5 Caughthaddix

Margaret Peterson Haddix

Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers © 2012

I heard about Caught (The Missing: Book 5) by Margaret Peterson Haddix at the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Conference in New York. Ms. Haddix spoke at the conference and I’ll admit at first I wasn’t overly impressed with her. In fact I’d never heard of her books or her.  But after listening to her speak about writing and her stories I was captivated and eager to learn more about her work.

This is the fifth book in “The Missing” series. The general premise of the books are that in the future when time travel has been invented wealthy people are able to hire time travelers to go back through time and steal the children of famous people.  Jonah, the protagonist, of the series is one of those missing children, but his true origins are secret. Due to the laws of time travel, the children that are taken are unable to return to their original timelines and are thus left to carry on new lives in the 20th Century. Jonah lives with a family, and Katherine is their natural child and Jonah’s allie in his quest to rescue children that have been stolen.

Overall this is a very good book, so good in fact that it only took me two times to finish the book.  Haddix provides well developed characters, setting, and plot along with a fast paced mystery adventure. The cover art promises an adventure with otherworldly encounters and the story succeeds in fulfilling its promise. Also, I learned a lot about Albert Einstein but it wasn’t too deep or superficial. For me this book was a wonderful surprise because it combines science and history.

The science fiction of the story is time travel. Jonah is in middle school and his sister, Katherine, is in sixth grade, so I wasn’t expecting complex explanations about time travel. What Haddix provides are broad strokes that hit the high points for children and for the adult reader there is enough information to know that the writer has developed a science for time travel. Haddix stays away from technical aspects of Einstein’s theories and only refers to them as equations that need to be solved.

While I love science and math it always comes down to the characters because characters are the make or break in a series. While I really wanted Jonah and Katherine to be extraordinary, I later found myself happy that they were just normal kids in extraordinary circumstances. Haddix could have taken the relationship between Jonah and Katherine in many directions, but the fact that they are partners and best-friends adds something special to each character. They are personable with a lot of room for growth, which is good to have.  In their adventures they are often accompanied by another missing child and JB, a time travel agent who has helped Jonah and Katherine to rescue and relocate missing children. Unfortunately in this book, the relationship between JB and Jonah is not at the forefront, but there is some dialogue at the end which shows a brotherly relationship between the two.

I highly recommend this book for girls and boys who are into science and/or history.

If you need other reviews to convince you.

Xander’s Middle -Book Reviews

Charlotte’s Library

You Decide: Should I read it or Not?

 

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