The Night She Disappeared: A Decent Thriller, But Too Much Was Unnecessary

I’ll be returning to Tuesday and Friday uploads for the next couple of weeks until school starts up again in late January.

The Night She Disappeared is written by April Henry. It was published in 2012 by Henry Holt. Henry’s website can be found here.

Genre: Realistic, Tough Read, Mystery, Suspense Young Adult


“Gabie drives a Mini Cooper. She also delivers pizzas part-time. One night, Kayla, another delivery girl at Pete’s Pizza, goes out with an order and never comes back. To Gabie’s horror, she learns that the man who called in the fake pizza order had asked if the girl in the Mini Cooper was working that night. Was Kayla’s fate really meant for Gabie? Obsessed with finding Kayla, Gabie teams up with Drew, who also works at Pete’s. Together they set out to prove Kayla isn’t dead—and to find her before she is.”

~Inside Flap


“Excuse me,” Amber says. She only works weekends. “I heard he asked for the girl in the Mini Cooper. Doesn’t that mean he really wanted Gabie?” She looks over her shoulder at Gabie and whispers “Sorry!” as if she has revealed a secret. And it’s clear that for some people in the room, this is the first they are hearing about this.

Gabie freezes. At least the top part of her body does. Even her knees still for a moment.

~Henry 44

How long can he keep me here?

Will I ever see the sun again? Will I die here?

Is there going to come a point when I want to die?

Will they find my body, years from now, and wonder who I am? That thought is the worst, that I might become some nameless dead girl, a stranger’s pile of bones. I finger the label on an empty water bottle. I could write on the back, and leave it in my pocket so people will know who I am. Only I don’t have anything to write with.

What does he want from me?

~Henry 144

Cover Art

Warnings: Violence, kidnapping, suicide.

Recommended Age Range: 14+

Rating: 2/5

What I Liked:

The plot has a definite thrill aspect to it, and a sense of time ticking down and running out. It’s a decent thriller, although I’ve read better. It’s a page-turner, and that’s a good thing. The alternating viewpoints are done well and serve to heighten the suspense. I liked the way the characters dealt with their fear throughout. The kidnapper was suitably creepy and not pathetic at all. Probably my favorite part was the newspaper articles, paper clippings, and other miscellaneous things that were scattered throughout the book which gave it an air of authenticity.

See? Things like this really lend well to the ambience.

What I Didn’t Like:

Gabie’s parents are the stereotypical doctors: health-freaks, coldly rational, and machine-like. And the stereotype is so thick I found it humorous. I suppose you’re supposed to feel sorry for Gabie, with such cold, busy doctors for parents, but I just kept snickering at the author’s description of them. Organic skim milk? Yeah, okay. Lay it on some more, why don’t you?

Also present is the stereotypical romance. It was also an unnecessary romance. Sometimes I feel that authors think that they need to put romance in a book to make it appealing, or to make it YA. You actually don’t. Don’t get me wrong, when done right, I like romance. But in times like this, when it’s a romance that’s been done a million times before and does nothing to the plot…I’d prefer that it wasn’t there. It’s just distracting, and it doesn’t lend itself nearly as well to character development as people think.

Nice job having the police officer blackmail teenagers as if it was a regular, normal activity. I find it hard to believe that this is a normal police activity. Maybe it was just that particular officer. One thing I dislike about  current literature is that police officers (and law in general) are now viewed in a generally negative light, as opposed to the positive light in older works.

Overall Review:

The Night She Disappeared is a decent thriller/suspense/mystery. It’s just burdened down with a lot of stereotypical characters and an unnecessary romance that distracts from the plot. The kidnapper was creepy, though. I wish there had been a bit more revealed about him, but he was a good villain. And Kayla has got a lot of spunk, so kudos to her.

You can buy this book here: The Night She Disappeared

Coming Up Next: The Revenant by Sonia Gensler