Excellent. Derek has an authentic voice, and it's great to see him mature over the course of the summer. His conflicts are realistic and, while it's easy to understand the issues he has with his family, they too come across as believable.
The story covers a lot of familiar YA ground, but the narrative is fresh and engaging. Or, to put it a different way? I read the last 20% at 3 a.m. because I just couldn't put it down.
Also, I'll admit that when it comes to downloading free e-books, I've sort of accepted that there will be more mechanical (SPaG) issues. Not here. I'm not sure whether the author engaged the services of a professional editor, has a very good beta, or just reviewed carefully before uploading, but the text is polished and professional.
I'm eagerly awaiting her next book, and while I'd like to read more about Derek, I'll probably be just as happy if she introduces someone new next time around. Kudos!
Fantastic! It's smart, it's funny, it's got a heroine with a believable flaw and some honest-to-goodness character growth. A real winner. Misses a perfect 5-star rating due to some random acts of boldness--not from the characters! I wouldn't dock it for that! From the font. If the formatting were fixed, it would get the full 5.
Well written and pulse-pounding, but considering that there have been real-life cases of child abductees returned years later, I think the execution of the story was too rushed. There would have been a hearing, likely a court-appointed social worker or psychiatrist... it just seemed a little too over the top.
I mostly couldn't put it down. Engaging characters, taut suspense, and superb editing. So why aren't I giving it 5 stars? Well, there were a couple of minor points that did spoil things for me. Specifically the 17th-century Victorian mansions and the fingerprint expert. So 5 stars for writing and grammar but minus 1 for fact-checking issues.