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Some choices change everything. Scarlett chose to run. And the consequences will be deadly.
Stolen from her family as a young girl, Scarlett was lucky enough to eventually escape her captor. Now a teen, she's starting a summer job at an amusement park. There are cute boys, new friends, and the chance to finally have a normal life.
Her first day on the job, Scarlett is shocked to discover that a girl from the park has gone missing. Old memories come rushing back. And now as she meets her new coworkers, one of the girls seems strangely familiar. When Scarlett chose to run all those years ago, what did she set into motion? And when push comes to shove, how far will she go to uncover the truth . . . before it's too late?
“With flashbacks that slowly reveal the terrible secret of Scarlett’s escape and Pixie’s fate, this psychological thriller evokes well-paced fear.” —Kirkus Reviews
Psychological Thrillers are all the rage right now and if you tore your way through novels like Damage Done, With Malice, or The Darkest Corners , then you will want to add Amanda Pinatch’s Never Missing, Never Found to your “reading a psych-thrill and chill” queue.
Never Missing, Never Found has a certain afterschool special vibe to it that will trigger memories of a common childhood fear for a lot of people. Most of the story takes place in a creepy-ass theme park where the story’s protagonist works and maybe this is something unique to children who grew up in the 80s, or maybe it’s universal to all generations, but the setting alone was enough to keep me creeped out and entertained. Theme parks are horrifying.
The tone of the novel is a cocktail of paranoia, confusion, desperation, and deception. Little pieces of the larger story reveal themselves through flashbacks as certain things trigger memories from the main character’s painful past. This book is a page turner that will have you feeling completely outraged by the end. I was not sure how I felt about the ending because it was more dark and scandalous than I was expecting. But it will keep you thinking about it for a while, making you wonder what you would have done in a similar situation.
I also had mixed feelings about the narrator, but that’s the effect that Pinatch seems to want . The author creates an unreliable narrator in the most subtle ways, and it is brilliant. While there is a healthy dose of lust, romance, and teenage angst, the story focuses on unravelling a tale that depicts the presence of the past in everything one does. Especially when the past is better left behind for the sake of the narrator.
All of the characters are skillfully developed and I ended up saying to myself, “I so know this person/a person like this”, after being introduced to the romantic interest, Conner. At other times I ended up thinking, “who the hell does something like that?!”. The book evokes all kinds of emotions such as anger and incredulity as more of the story reveals itself and as more of the characters intentions come to light.
Overall, Never Missing, Never Found was a solid psychological thriller that is perfect for a summer night spent reading until the wee hours. I found myself yelling at this book like I do with some movies and/or television programs that dare to push the envelope or the audience’s tolerance and patience. The author plunges the reader into a dark story that captivates from the first page, and I am excited to see what kind of depths she will explore in her next novel.
Have you read Never Missing, Never Found? What did you think?
Just for fun:
I found this funny blog post titled “18 Signs You Work At A Theme Park“, and thought I would share its hilarity with you.
6. You’ ve learned to detach your emotions from the upset reactions of people too tall/short/large/small to ride your attraction
Sad tears, aggressive shouts—you’ ve heard it all, and by now, you’ re immune to the effects of these outbursts. The rules are for their safety, and you can’ t budge from your word.
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