Songs For The Missing by Stewart O’nan

An enthralling portrait of one family in the aftermath of a daughter’s disappearance

“It was the summer of her Chevette, of J.P. and letting her hair grow.” It was also the summer when, without warning, popular high school student Kim Larsen disappeared from her small Midwestern town. Her loving parents, her introverted sister, her friends and boyfriend, must now do everything they can to find her. As desperate search parties give way to pleading television appearances, and private investigations yield to personal revelations, we see one town’s intimate struggle to maintain hope, and finally, to live with the unknown.

This book has kind of a cool story to go with it…. while searching on Barnes and Noble (yes, the Mother Ship) I stumbled across a book group they call First Look. First Look lets people from all around the world request to receive an advanced copy of a book that an author wants reviewed and discussed before the release date. Fun? I know!!!

I read about the book that was coming up and it sounded interesting so in January of this year I requested a copy. I heard nothing on it but in May, I received a package from Barnes and Noble with the advanced copy and a letter from the author. S W E E T !!!

The job of the selected readers is to read the book in sections and then discuss it on line through a private discuss only open to those who were given the book. I was so excited to be holding this beautiful book that on the back says a publication date of November 2008. I feel like I am in a secret club and like I own a secret decoder ring!

The book is about Kim, an 18 year old who is out one afternoon with her friends and while on her way to work that day, disappears. The author is well written and his focus is mainly on the ones that were left behind – a mother who becomes an advocate for her missing daughter as everything else falls to the way side, a father – who searches the country side with volunteers at first and then alone – a sister who has always played second fiddle anyway and now secludes herself even deeper – the boyfriend who carries his own guilt – the girlfriends who go between trying to move on and being overrun by memories…

I like the layout of the book as each chapter is told froma different persons perspective. However at the end the book feels rushed to close like the author has become bored with the story. The “hints” early on in the book that give you the impression that the friends know something about Kim’s dissapearance is a false lead, and **Spoiler Alert when Kim finally is found it never explains where or the circumstances and it all turns out to be random.

I belive the best part of reading this book – was being chosen to read it and review it with others from all over. I will watch the site for future books but as for this one – I have to rate it 2.9 (was holding a strong 4 in the begining but the ending really dissapointed me).

Hmmmm... what do you think?

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