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Ever since Sara’s best friend, Linda, disappeared, Sara has been writing newspaper articles about the alarming amount of missing women in her city as a way to spread awareness. That is until one day she receives a death threat because of them, one that could help her find Linda if she is willing to risk her and her family’s lives. Meanwhile, her brother Emiliano is head over heels in love with someone he can never have as long as he is poor. Emiliano is suddenly faced with a decision: does he join the world he’s avoided for so long for the price of success and love? Taking place in Mexico over the course of four days, DISAPPEARED follows the thrilling story of siblings Sara and Emiliano as they make decisions that will change their lives forever.

"DISAPPEARED is a whirlwind and action packed journey full of three-dimensional and likable characters. Stork is not afraid to make things messy or complicated...."

I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this book when I first started. At a first glance, DISAPPEARED seems like a mystery and a thriller, but it was so much more than that. Stork deals with family, first love, immigration and survival all in the short span of 300 pages. I assumed that DISAPPEARED would be like any other thriller centered on a kidnapping, but instead I got more than I ever expected. I read the book in almost one sitting, never wanting to put it down because I was on the edge of my seat.

While most thrillers set out to figure out the mystery and solve the crime, what truly sets DISAPPEARED apart is that it deals with the risks the characters have made and illustrates the consequences of their decisions. The characters have to decide things like personal safety versus the greater safety of others, or success versus personal beliefs. None of the characters make easy decisions and Franciso X. Stork explores how everything has a price all while carrying an entertaining plot. By putting Emiliano and Sara though these struggles, Stork creates amazing character arcs for each of them.

The story mostly takes place in Mexico, following two Mexican teens. Because of this, a very current issue shines through: the unrealistic and negative portrayal of Mexican immigrants. While mainstream politics and certain people popularize a certain stereotype of Mexican immigrants, Stork humanizes Mexican immigrants and shows the fear and complexities behind undocumented immigration. I found this part of the story particularly interesting because I had never read a book that so directly touched on these issues.

DISAPPEARED is a whirlwind and action packed journey full of three-dimensional and likable characters. Stork is not afraid to make things messy or complicated but is rather writing what people today need to read and hear. I’d highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a story that touches on immigration or wants an intense thriller.

Reviewed by Brynn S., Teen Board Member on September 27, 2017

by Francisco X. Stork