The Taking by Kimberly Derting

Publisher: HarperTeen

Sale date:  April 29, 2014

About the book:                     A flash of white light . . . and then . . . nothing.

When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ‘n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day.

Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men.

Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned.

Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?  [Source: Harper Teen]


What I liked:

This is quite an exciting book to read, especially if you enjoy stories where the protagonist is trying to solve a mystery — in this case, the main character is in denial over what happened when she went missing five years earlier, but eventually has to confront the truth.

I thought Kyra, the main character was a bit short-sighted and unappreciative of her talent in the beginning of the novel. She’s a star softball pitcher, good enough to land full scholarships for university, but instead, she wants to attend the local college so that she can stay together with her boyfriend. Understandably, her dad advises her to see more of the world and not limit herself, but she refuses to consider his point of view, so they have an argument and she gets out of the car in the middle of nowhere. Kyra is believable. She’s 16-years-old, thinks she’s in love, and doesn’t want to be told that her boyfriend might not be good enough for her. Her life revolves around softball, her boyfriend, and her best friend.

Of course, once she returns after her abduction, everyone has moved on with their lives, including her boyfriend. The only friend she seems to have left is her ex-boyfriend’s younger brother, Tyler, so they spend time together and eventually try to solve what happened to her when she went missing.

The plot is suspenseful and contains a lot of action, especially as government officials close in on capturing Kyra. I enjoyed how fast the pacing was and I also liked the pace of when information is revealed about her case.


Minor Quibbles:

I loved Tyler’s character — he’s the nerdy boy-next-door who reads, is articulate, draws beautiful pictures and has been in love with Kyra for years. Kyra has never noticed him until now, so the only part of this science-fiction story that’s perhaps unbelievable is how quickly Kyra forgets her ex-boyfriend and begins to have feelings for Tyler. Yup, practically all the plot events are believable to me (I want to believe!) — I was totally game for whatever sci-fi twists and turns this story was taking — but it was the sudden falling-in-love plot point that I didn’t buy. But I still felt happy for them because they were so earnest about being in love — especially Tyler. I mean, what protagonist wouldn’t fall in love with someone who creates chalk masterpieces on the street every night for you to wake up to? So the one quibble I have is related to the romantic sub-plot. But I say it’s a worthy trade-off for the story that unfolds when you read The Taking.

Overall, this is a very exciting, ‘twisty’ story, and I’ll be stalking the sequel for my ‘to be read’ list.