In a tantalizing opener to a new series, Haddix (the Shadow Children series) taps into a common childhood fantasy--that you are really the offspring of royalty or famous people, and were somehow adopted by an ordinary family--and one-ups it by adding in time travel. As the novel begins, a brand-new airline employee experiences an event that she is later told never to talk about: a plane carrying 36 babies, and no one else, not even a pilot, shows up without warning at a nearby gate. Fast-forward 13 years, and two 13-year-old friends, Chip and Jonah, are receiving mysterious notes, with messages like "You are one of the missing" and "Beware! They're coming back to get you." Only then does Chip learn that he, like Jonah, is adopted. Joined by Jonah's sister, Katherine, the boys investigate and discover that the FBI was involved with their adoptions. These smart kids show initiative and do a great job using familiar technology (camera phones, photo-editing programs, etc.) to get information and track down other adoptees. By book's end they are trapped by some shady characters; learn that they are among the most famous missing children in history (e.g., Virginia Dare, the 15th-century English princes in the Tower); and get sent back in time. Readers will be hard-pressed to wait for the next installment. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)[Page 71]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Gr 4-8-- Haddix's latest science fiction series starts off with a bang in this nail-biter. A plane arrives at an airline gate unnoticed by radar and most personnel. There are no flight attendants, no pilot, in fact no adults at all, but there are 36 passengers--each seat is inhabited by an infant. Thirteen years later in Ohio, teenage adoptees Jonah and his friend Chip begin receiving ominous messages declaring that they are among "the missing" and that someone is coming to find them. Frightened yet intrigued, the boys begin a search for their real identities with the help of Jonah's younger sister. Their search leads them to a discovery that strains credulity and leads them into danger greater than they ever imagined possible. The story is driven by an exciting plot rather than extensive character development, and the teens act independently of the adults, who appear as "bad guys" or are basically useless. If used in a classroom, the revelation of the babies' identities can be used to kick off a history lesson or two. This book's exciting premise and cliff-hanger ending will leave readers on the edge of their seats and begging for more.--Heather M. Campbell, Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO[Page 124]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.