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Everyone knows they left. No one knows they're...

m i s s i n g

Reeve's End is the kind of town every kid can't wait to escape. Each summer, a dozen kids leave, and at least a quarter never come back. I don't blame them - I'll do the same in another year. We thought it was just something that happened in town like ours.

We were wrong.

515 pages, ebook

First published April 18, 2017

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About the author

Kelley Armstrong

273 books30.8k followers
Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers' dismay. All efforts to make her produce "normal" stories failed.

Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon. She's the author of the NYT-bestselling "Women of the Otherworld" paranormal suspense series and "Darkest Powers" young adult urban fantasy trilogy, as well as the Nadia Stafford crime series. Armstrong lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and far too many pets.

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5 stars
1,021 (30%)
4 stars
1,274 (38%)
3 stars
770 (23%)
2 stars
182 (5%)
1 star
51 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 486 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
April 24, 2017
Here I am, children. Right over here. Step off that safe, moonlit path and come meet me.
You aren't afraid, are you?

This was seriously creepy. Small towns, dark forests, and a psychopath playing twisted games. The only reason this didn't get a higher rating was because the "reveals" of the mystery were some serious DEUS EX MACHINA.

I'd forgotten just how easy to read Armstrong's books are. Her narrative just flows and it's easy to intend to read one chapter between other tasks and then find yourself, half a book later, having done nothing you'd intended to do that day. I fell into Winter's story immediately and breezed through the book in two sittings.

What I actually liked most about Missing was - surprisingly - its social criticism. Through Winter, who lives in a small town trailer park and often goes hungry, and Lennon and Jude (LOL yeah), who are the adopted sons of billionaires, the author explores class divides and prejudices. Interactions between the characters offer consideration of class, wealth and privilege, and Winter also criticizes the idea of Southern "chivalry".

Additionally, it is very atmospheric. Armstrong uses the isolated small-town Kentucky setting to create a sense of foreboding. She shows their suspicion of outsiders, and the way in which they're always watching their fellow residents. It's hard not to start wondering about the truth - if those who left Reeve's End were just regular kids escaping the confines of their small town life, or if something happened to them. If that's why they never came back.

All that being said, and though I don't regret having read this, I was really disappointed with the way the mystery resolved. A character came flying in from nowhere to offer convenient answers that were... anticlimactic.

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Profile Image for Lisa Mandina.
1,907 reviews441 followers
April 26, 2017
I rarely read YA books that don't have a paranormal or dystopian type of story-line. But there are certain authors that I will read almost any book they write, no matter what genre, and Kelley Armstrong is one of those. This book is a perfect example of why she is on my YA author automatic read list. The story read just like I was sitting on the edge of my seat watching a suspense movie at the theater. It had so many twists and turns, and while I had a tiny inkling of who or what might be behind all of these threatening events, Armstrong still made it so that I really was guessing up until that final climactic scene at the end. All of the characters were so complex, and while you felt like you really got to know them, the whole story was used to unravel just who they really were. And I like that in a YA book, as that is how it really is for teenagers, not knowing just yet who they are.

You can check out my full review on Lisa Loves Literature.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
3,009 reviews378 followers
March 21, 2017
Armstrong never disappoints. It doesn't matter in what genre she writes, when I open up one of her books I always know I am in for something fun and well written.

Her latest YA mystery was just that. It was fun, entertaining and kept me on my toes. One of the few YA mysteries where I didn't see everything coming long before the book was over and one that had me guessing and second guessing right up until the very end.

With engaging characters, a fast paced plot line and enough mystery and creepy thrills to leave me wanting more and flipping rapidly through the pages to discover who was responsible for it all.

I highly recommend this to someone looking for a well throughout, plotted mystery that will thoroughly keep you engaged until the very end.

*ARC copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Chelsea.
1,144 reviews593 followers
May 13, 2017
TW: Graphic Animal Cruelty

This book is a thriller, following Winter Crane and Lennon, because actual people in tiny southern towns are definitely named stuff like that. There’s a serial killer, it’s a mystery, and I don’t care about any of that.

Here are my issues with this book:

1. Disgusting, unnecessarily graphic, animal cruelty. If you don’t want to read about a serial killer slitting the throats of dogs and hearing about them bleeding out slowly, maybe skip this. Only one dog survives, so there are multiple times when the murder of dogs is described.

2. The author knows nothing about feral dogs. As someone who has worked in rescue for over five years and has experience with feral dogs and knows those who work with feral dog packs, this is not accurate. Feral dogs want to find food and stay the hell away from humans. Unless they are trapped with humans, they will run away much sooner than they would attack. In this book, the feral pack trees an injured man and stalks the humans who go into the forest. This is not a dynamic that feral packs take on; they do not have a pecking order with an alpha and omega, like this book, because dogs are not wolves, and the “pack animal” stereotype has no basis with dogs.

Later it is revealed that the killer was drugging the dogs and dehydrating them, which made the dogs “go mad”. How would that do anything other than make the dogs weak? There are no drugs that would make dogs stalk and attack people in the woods.

3. This line:
“She might be fierce and wiry, but she’s small, and I send her flying. There’s Pit Bull in that bitch, though, and her teeth rake down my calf, furrows splitting open as I howl in pain.

Fuck. This. Book.

Let’s talk for a second about why this line is incredibly problematic.

If you don’t know, I have worked in dog rescue for over five years. I recently went off to start my own rescue. I volunteer at a high volume animal control, where nearly every dog is a Pit Bull type dog.

I have experience with these dogs. I also have experience with people who buy into the stereotypes. When I worked in puppy rescue, I couldn’t count how many times I had someone ask me to guarantee that this wide eyed, innocent puppy had no Pit Bull in it, like we were trying to trick them. I’ve had people look at my dogs and blatantly say to my face “we don’t like Pit Bulls” or “he’s too nice, can’t be a Pit Bull”.

In the shelter I work with, every Pit Bull type dog must be saved by a rescue or they will be killed, because the shelter refuses to allow them to be adopted directly.

So I have no patience for this bullshit. A while ago, I started noticing this line that would pop up in books or tv shows: “so and so is like a Pit Bull” followed by “aggressive”, or “a killer”, or something to that effect.

And boy did that piss me off.

Way to reinforce stigma, to continue making people reject a dog in the shelter for no reason other than appearance. Thousands of dogs are killed in shelters every day, and nearly every one is a pit bull type dog. THOUSANDS. Just follow Urgent Dogs of New York on Facebook if you don’t believe me that happy, healthy dogs are being killed because people are afraid of owning a dog labeled Pit Bull.

Bottom line, having lines like that casually sprinkled through pop culture feeds into the idea that these dogs are aggressive, stops people from adopting them, and gets dogs killed.

The dog in this book, Alanna, that is described as a Pit Bull, is also described as twice as nasty as the other dogs. The main character even suspects that she killed one of the other dogs at one point.

Her aggression is attributed to her being a Pit Bull. Her bite is powerful because she’s a Pit Bull, so it doesn’t matter that she’s smaller.The dog that bites and attacks the main character is a vicious, evil Pit Bull, and that reinforces why people reject these dogs left and right.

Am I making a huge deal out of one line?

Absolutely. But I think it’s important to make a big deal out of small things that are problematic, because if I can help someone become aware that something is wrong, that’s the first step towards changing perception.

Please please please, authors, stop demonizing Pit Bulls in books. At this point, I have read exactly ONE book (the brilliant Ari and Dante) with a positive portrayal of a Pit Bull type dog. I want to see more, or at least stop seeing these lines.

Anyway, I was pretty much done with this book after I read that line. I have taken Armstrong’s other books off my TBR and will not be reading anything else by her again.
Profile Image for Amelia.
173 reviews49 followers
April 11, 2018
4.5 stars

I found it so hard to put this book down at times, it was that good.

The reason for the 4.5 stars was because I didn't care for the romance that occurred between two character, and I didn't like Jude as a character. I found him so annoying, and hence a minus .5 star.

Other than that I did not dislike anything else. I enjoyed the story and cared for Winter.

Armstrong's writing is spot on! At certain times of the story I found myself with goosebumps on my arms and legs. And it is hard for a book to do that to me, so well done Armstrong.

Highly recommend to everyone.
Profile Image for Marta Cox.
2,629 reviews194 followers
March 18, 2017
This author is a superstar as far as I'm concerned and her fantastic paranormal stories cannot be praised enough. Yes I've even enjoyed the ones she has written that are aimed at teenage readers so I was intrigued by the possibilities of a more mainstream YA thriller. Absolutely no supernatural events just a mystery with suspense that lasts until the end.
Winter has grown up in dead , going nowhere Reeves End, Kentucky. Oh she's not exactly a poster child for the Appalachian mountains but she knows how to keep her head down and blend in. Winter dreams of a better life and like so many others can't wait to escape just like her sister. Hey,so many leave and don't look back so why shouldn't Winter be one of them ? Yes Winter has a plan and she's worked long and hard but one night alone in the nearby forest changes everything she believes in as she makes a discovery that leads her down a dangerous path!
Whilst not exactly action packed ( although lots of things happen ) there's a brooding intensity that just hangs over this story. Winter finding a badly beaten boy is just the start of a sick and twisted game. It's very easy to like Winter as she's courageous and practical but it wasn't so easy to warm to the confusing characters around her. With twists, turns and red herrings the author keeps her readers guessing and if honest I was eighty percent in before I had a firm idea of just where this was going. I didn't like the attitude of authority figures in this although there are instances of kindness but overall I was left feeling that the majority of the supporting characters just muddied the waters. An ending that felt rushed after all the build up but I cannot deny that it kept me up late reading it as the mystery and obvious connections just needed to be resolved . Definitely more suspense than romance with its myriad multi laters and I really enjoyed the sense of dread that permeated as Winter found herself repeatedly in danger . I think what resonates most of all though is how easy it is to fall off the grid, for loved ones to become lost and those left behind to believe their own propaganda . I'm not sure if there are many who live a 'hillbilly' lifestyle anymore but thought the author did a creditable job of making Reeves End feel believable .
This opinion is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts are my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Jody McGrath.
377 reviews52 followers
April 20, 2017
Awesome story, but a bit slow.

Profile Image for Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede.
1,937 reviews799 followers
April 18, 2017
By no one else's fault than my own did I get the impression that this would be a paranormal book and that was what I was looking forward to reading. However, this is a YA thriller, a whodunit book about Winter, a young girl who discovers that the people that have left the little town of Reeve's End have perhaps met a grisly end. Among them is Winter's sister that left a year before and never was heard from again.

Young adult is not a genre I read that often, but I've lately been reading up on Kelley Armstrong and this book seemed interesting and it turned out to be quite a good book. For a YA is it actually really good. However, despite that Armstrong managed to create a really great female lead characters and also write an interesting story, did I not completely fall for the story, especially not the ending. I don't know, it just didn't really intrigue me and I felt that the book lacked suspense.

Missing was an interesting book. I came to like Winter very much, she is a strong character and I loved how Winter, despite her upbringing has a goal in life. I also loved the little town of Reeve's End, there is just something special about town like this, far from civilization. The best part of the book was the beginning when everything was still a mystery and one wondered what was going on, what had happened with all the youngster? Personally, would I have loved a paranormal angle to the story, but it worked as a thriller, despite the lack of a truly suspenseful ending.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,740 reviews712 followers
May 21, 2017
I'm a sucker for these sorts of books, so I'm not sure why it took me so long to get to it.

I really liked Winter. She's tough and smart and hard working. She has a crap home life, but doesn't let it rule her. I loved being in her head, seeing how she deals with everything that happens. There are some other interesting characters, but I don't want to spoil it.

Plot wise, I was captivated from the start. This book is filled with twists and creepiness and it's all topped with a delicious layer of tension. Every time I thought I had things figured out, something would be revealed. In my mind, everyone was a suspect.

The only bad thing I have to say is that there are several scenes with feral dogs and Winter needed to fight and stab the dogs to get away. I could almost forgive one scene, but not as many as I read.

Overall, it was intriguing with small bits of humor and sweetness. I'm sure I'll still be thinking about this later.

**Huge thanks to Crown BFYR for providing the arc free of charge**
Profile Image for Fuzaila.
251 reviews360 followers
July 29, 2017
”That’s the problem with lies, they keep growing.”

This book was unlike anything I’ve read before. As such, it was interesting, but not engrossing. Kelley Armstrong did a good job with the psychology element, but not quite with the suspense.

Reeve’s End is the kind of town every kid can’t wait to escape. Each summer, a dozen kids leave and at least a quarter never come back. I don’t blame them—I’ll do the same in another year. We thought it was just something that happened in towns like ours.
We were wrong.

Missing is a psychological thriller about a town – Reeves End, which according to Winter Crane is the least livable place in the world. She hunts down rabbits and deer for food; she lives in a trailer at the border of a forest and endures an abusive drunkard of a father each night.
While on a hunt in the forest, she comes across Lennon Bishop. He had come to Reeve’s End searching for Edie who’s been missing, and he was attacked at the forest. Winter rescues him from a pack of feral dogs, brings him to her shack, and vows to help him find Edie. But Lennon takes off himself. His brother Jude Bishop, comes searching for him and encounters Winter and they start their search together.
A psycho killer is on the loose – he has killed the feral dogs, kidnapped Edie and Winter’s sister Cadence, and probably Lennon. The question is, who is he? Why is he doing this?


♦▫Winter. She is a horribly confusing main character. There were many instances where I wanted to slap her hard, and at the same time, sometimes she was easily relatable. I was surprisingly moved when she opened her mind about her family and sister – her personality was unpredictable. At times, she’d be totally cool about ripping off a rabbit skin, and the next moment she’d be horrified when someone gets a broken wrist.

♦▫The writing was endurable. Nothing much there, but the way the author describes bloodshed and violence like they’re our everyday soap-opera – made me gag. There is brutal violence and a psycho who kills just for the fun of it. Definitely not for the faint-hearted.

♦▫The romance. While I did expect there to be a romance in the plot, what I did not expect was to fall for it. It was pleasant and warm – not too much of it, just the right amount.

♦▫The characters. They weren’t realistic, but they weren’t cardboard cut-outs either. I loved Jude right from the start, and Lennon was also fairly lovable. I had my issues with Winter, but then when the veil lifted and I was able to actually understand her, she was good too. (Ah! And how I wish I could hear Jude play the piano?! *sigh*)

♦▫There were definite loopholes in the plot. The book was engaging and engrossing, but the whole kidnapping-murdering thing felt short of actual planning. It was confusing at times to match one point with the other, and even after the ending, I don’t think everything exactly fell into place.

♦▫The suspense and ending. The ending was too abrupt and the author didn’t bother with much explanations. Many questions were left unanswered. I knew better than to suspect anyone to be the killer (because thrillers these days just make up characters at the end and entitle them as ‘killers’ and that’s what happened here too). I JUST AM NOT SATISFIED WITH HOW IT ENDED.

As is common with psychological thrillers, it took me a while to get into the story. There were many things that just didn’t suit my taste. I was pretty sure it was going to be 1-star read, but then I sort of got used to the style and found myself enjoying the book in the end, albeit a little unsatisfied.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,894 reviews
May 16, 2017
Missing is a standalone YA suspense/mystery book.

Kelley Armstrong is one of my favorite authors. So I will read pretty much anything that she writes. I am in love with her adult series (Cainsville and City of the Lost) so I had very high hopes for this YA mystery.

The narrator is 17 year old Winter Crane. She lives in the small town of Reeve's End in a trailer park with her drunk dad.

She cannot wait to leave Reeve's End when she graduates high school. She is super smart and wants to be a doctor.

I found this book to be super creepy and chilling. There are a lot of woods in this town. And Winter is often running through them. At times it is very scary.

The beginning was good. The premise was interesting. The book showed promise, but I just wasn't loving the story. But then someone arrived in town and things got really good.

I actually preferred the story when it wasn't all about Reeve's end and more about figuring out the mystery. In the second half of the book the mystery got very interesting and I started to really enjoy the story. There is some romance in the book, but it is definitely more about the mystery and suspense.

I liked Winter. She was unusual to me. She was basically a loner who had to take care of herself. But I loved that knew how to hunt. She was independent, yet sassy. I enjoyed her friendships with the two brothers Jude and Lennon. And I liked how they each fit into the story.

I liked the romance. I actually wasn't really expecting the book to go in that direction (thinking it would only be a mystery). But it added an additional interesting element to the story.

I really enjoyed the ending. But I had one small issue.

Overall, the last part of the book was very strong. I liked learning more about Jude and Lennon's family. And I liked how the mystery was resolved.
Profile Image for K..
3,796 reviews1,022 followers
April 21, 2017
Trigger warnings: domestic violence, cruelty to animals, suicide.

3.5 stars.

So Kelley Armstrong is pretty much an auto-buy author for me at this point, which meant buying this one was a no-brainer. And it was fast-paced and action-packed, because I got through it in a couple of hours. But despite all of that, this one was just sort of meh for me.

It's billed as a YA romantic thriller, but I'd say it's light on the romance and heavy on the thriller. Basically, the main character, Winter? She's a small town girl from the wrong side of the tracks who just wants to go to college and become a doctor and find out what happened to her sister, who disappeared without a word a year earlier and hasn't been in touch since.

Then she finds an injured boy in a tree, surrounded by feral dogs, and takes it upon herself to help him only to find herself discovering that maybe all the kids who've left their small shitty town haven't left so much as vanished without a trace. And also maybe she's being stalked. And also maybe now he's vanished and his moody older brother has turned up to find him. Etcetera.

- Jude and Lennon were kind of dumb names for the brothers
- It was creepy but at times it also felt rushed
- The ending was HELLA abrupt. Like, I had about 35 pages left and it still had to get through the big dramatic conclusion and tie everything up
- I wanted more about Edie and I feel like she was more of a catalyst to investigating things than an actual person Winter cared about
- A lot of feral dogs die. Like...a LOT. In fairly horrible ways.
- I saw the plot twist coming, but I totally didn't guess who it was going to be, so...there's that

So ultimately, I liked it but it also felt drawn out at the start and rushed at the end.
Profile Image for K.A. Wiggins.
Author 19 books199 followers
June 9, 2017
Kelley Armstrong writes brilliant YA thrillers. She also writes great adult thrillers and YA fantasy, but... wow, this was a strong book. Love the characters; complex, relatable in a unique way, inspiring but not impossibly perfect or untouchable. Strong emotional beats to drive empathy and engagement alongside tight writing and fast pacing. Absolutely excellent, and one of my favourite of her books so far!
Profile Image for Kayla.
129 reviews
June 17, 2019
4 Stars.

I won this book in a GoodReads Giveaway & I really enjoyed it. I liked the pace it held and that it kept me wondering every step of the way. I was excited that I didn't anticipate the ending which is a nice change from what I've had in a while. Thrilling and engaging this story held my interest from beginning to end. Great read!
Profile Image for Kathy Davie.
4,712 reviews708 followers
January 27, 2019
A standalone thriller for Young Adult readers based in Reeve's End, Kentucky.

My Take
I do love that initial hook with Winter knowing exactly what's going on and what she wants. Ain't nuthin' gonna stand in her way! It quickly starts down the scary path, though, with Winter's rescue and the preternatural events that follow her.

Armstrong uses first person protagonist point-of-view from Winter's perspective, as we evade that pack of wild dogs, but discover lost arrows, retrieved arrows, laid out arrows. It's a terrifying stalker, coming through the woods. Mocking. Laughing. Murdering. In the woods that Winter considers hers.

Armstrong heightens the tension by using present tense in short sentences to convey the horror, the drama, the tension. The fact that no one believes Winter only adds to the horror. Add in the misdirection, the reactions of Winter's dad, all those presumptions, and it did keep me on edge.

On the negative side, it's too clichéd with the idiot sheriff and Jude and Lennon's and Winter's poor family situations. I don't know if Armstrong didn't work the story as well as it could have been because it's intended for YA readers or... I don't know. It was a good concept. Just...kind of annoying that it was so chopped and juvenile with these overworked stereotypes.

Add in all that whining from Winter about Jude protecting her. Oy.

Where the story really falls apart is the overall missing. That list Winter insists on writing up. Sure, Edie seems to be missing. And??? Why does this make Winter want to make up a list of missing people? What makes her think this could be a key? I'm not getting it. Armstrong did not make this believable for me.

The Story
It's lucky for that boy that Winter has picked up some skills, working for Doc Southcott. Someone needs to get him into the warm and dress his wounds.

But it seems that Lennon has brought more to Winter's door than his battered self...

The Characters
Winter Crane comes from the wrong side of the tracks in the worst town, and she aims to get out. Bert, a.k.a., Robbie Crane, is her deadbeat, alcoholic father. Mom died when Winter was seven. Cadence is her older sister who took off a year ago.

Edie Greene is/was Winter's best friend from a hill folk family. She left two months ago to pursue her dream of high fashion design. Granny and Pappy Greene raised Edie.

Lennon and Jude are brothers, brilliant and talented, who were adopted by a wealthy family. Peter Bishop is a Kentucky congressman; Elysse is his rich, controlled wife. Kendrick is Elysse's long-estranged brother. Roscoe is part of the family's security team. Maria is the cook. Clive Wilson. Mr Cleaver was Jude's history teacher. Matthew Lowe and Annie had been Jude and Lennon's parents who died in a car accident. Betty is their biological grandmother.

In Reeve's End
Doc Southcott is the town physician for whom Winter works. Mrs Southcott is his nurse. Robson's Pharma is the local pharmacy owned by Mr Robson. Tanner Robson is his cute son who's plans to study pharmacology. Mrs Dermody is the librarian. Mikey is a gamer. Garrett is hoping for a football scholarship. Colton had been Cadence's boyfriend whose family owns a pot farm. Miz Reid is one of the Cranes' neighbors. The missing include Marty Lawson, Tanya Tate, and Susie McCall whose dad, Owen McCall, is a pot farmer.

Sheriff Ronald Slate is the loser cop; his son, Eli, and son-in-law are deputies. The wives are clerical help and the night dispatcher who doesn't feel the need to be available.

The abandoned dogs went wild and are led by One-Eye and Alanna who is the alpha bitch...just like her namesake at school, Reject is the pack omega, Flea, Scar, and Mange.

The Cover and Title
The cover is browns and white. The browns of autumn leaves through which Winter, her blue eyes so bright, is peeking. All the text is in white, from the author's name centered at the top with the tiny info blurb below it. The title spans the center, vertically and horizontally, repeating itself, for the title is the clue, the Missing.
Profile Image for Laurie • The Baking Bookworm.
1,448 reviews376 followers
April 13, 2017
Missing is an intense and sinister read that will keep you on your toes. Edge-of-your-seat, ominous and even a few gruesome scenes help create a steady build-up of tension. Add in the evil taunts by the 'bad guy' and the first half of this book has a wonderfully creepy, dark feel.

The tone lightens a bit in the last half with less of that creepy feel and more focus on the mystery aspect as Winter tries to figure out what's happened to the missing teens from her small town of Reeves End, Kentucky. There is a smidgen of romance but, thankfully, it's kept to a minimum. The dialogue between Winter and her love interest elicited a couple of eye rolls from this 40-something reader so I was thankful the suspense was the focus.

This was more plot-driven than character based. The characters were a bit of a mishmash - from Winter and Jude whom we get to know fairly well to a smattering of locals (including the sheriff who was a one-dimensional corrupt, lazy man who was easy to hate) and some high powered, rich people.

The book focuses on Winter who was an okay main character but I would have liked to have seen more depth to her. Some of Winter's decisions were questionable and some issues had too much of a serendipitous 'right place, right time' feel but Winter she held her own.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. The cover is eye-catching and it's a good, chilling read with twists and a sinister overtone.

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Random House Children's Books and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Heather.
217 reviews63 followers
January 26, 2020
A delightfully creepy read in a day book with the unmistakable charm and voice of Kelley Armstrong!
Profile Image for The Captain.
1,096 reviews408 followers
April 18, 2017
Ahoy there me mateys! I received this young adult crime thriller eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .

So me mateys, I continue with me Kelley Armstrong obsession and this be her latest offering. It is not me favorite of her novels (as I prefer her fantasy or adult thrillers) but this was a quick and fun read.

The story follows Winter Crane who lives in a small poverty stricken town in Kentucky. Like most young residents of the town, she has one hope – to graduate high school and escape to the big city. Just like her big sister and best friend did. Except Winter can’t seem to get a hold of either of them.

Due to an abusive home life, she tends to take care of herself. Think hunting and trapping and shack in the woods. One day in the woods, Winter rescues a young guy in trouble who happens to be looking for Winter’s best friend – the same friend that Winter has been unable to reach. In trying to figure out the whereabouts of her missing friend, Winter begins to think that not everyone in town made it to the big city. Can she solve the mystery before anyone else goes missing?

One of the “problems” I had with the novel was the setting. In me vagabond nature, I once lived in a small, one street town in Kentucky. The author does try to address the stereotypes and challenge them. However, there were inclusions of many small town stereotypes like an idiot pointless sheriff, using food stamps as currency, moonshine stills, and old mountain folk with no running water or electricity. I couldn’t tell if some of these facts were trying to be based in reality or just plot points to forward the story.

Two less then stellar impressions were of some of the twists towards the end of the novel. I kinda felt like I was reading a V.C. Andrews melodrama in parts. And I wasn’t a huge fan of those books even back in the day. Also the way Winter puts another person’s wishes about reconciliation with her abuser ahead of her own preferences made me cringe.

But these issues were very minor for me overall concerning me enjoyment. I still found the author’s writing, characters, and story to be engaging. I read this book in one quick session. While I don’t think this will ever be a re-read for me, it was certainly entertaining if taken with a grain of salt. I very much look forward to Kelley Armstrong’s next novel.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Random House/Crown Books!
Profile Image for Dayla.
2,177 reviews203 followers
June 15, 2017
I received a copy of this book via the publisher.

This rant review is all over the place, btw.

This was just all over the place. I want to say I enjoyed it but...sigh. At first, it was intriguing and creepy, then the protagonist became a huge disappointment. Despite her "logic" she was constantly making the wrong decisions and putting herself in danger.

Then there was the insta-love (just because the protagonist and the love interest don't hook up on the first day, doesn't make their hooking up on the third day okay--by hooking up I mean kissing.) I'm not even going to mention the sudden change in personalities they undergo in like a couple of days. Also, the protagonist's hella judgmental ways.

The story and conclusion was really really convoluted. I'll admit that I skimmed a chunk of it because I just wanted to have it end. The conclusion left a lot of plot holes--what ever happened with the deputies?

Lastly, certain situations were so extra and/or over the top. Especially the police.

I'm giving it a two instead of a one star because of the occasionally creepy situation. Other than that...sigh. I'm kind of disappointed.

Happy reading!
Profile Image for Katie.
2,712 reviews142 followers
May 14, 2017
I liked this sooooo much better than Armstrong's first YA thriller, The Masked Truth. The description's a little misleading, though. It's really more about . The love interest was that Derek/Clay/Jack/Eric type that really works for me. (Wow. I don't love everything Armstrong writes or all her romances, but she's given me some really good ones.)

Anyway, if Armstrong is going to be write more YA thrillers, I'm more on board now!
Profile Image for Lola.
1,569 reviews246 followers
June 13, 2017
I don't normally read many thrillers, but I gladly make an exception when Kelley Armstrong writes them as she's one of my favorite authors. Missing was an interesting read, with a thrilling mystery, some creepy scenes, a great main character and a nice romance side plot line as well. I found the start of the book a bit slow, but once she met Jude things picked up and I quickly got sucked into the story. It kept my attention and I had a hard time putting the book down at times.

Thriller's usually aren't my thing as I am not a fan of the creepy stuff. There are a few scenes in this book that did push that line for me, but I love Armstrong's writing and her style makes up for a lot. There is a bit of animal cruelty and some human death's as well. The main focus is on someone who is stalking Winter and two people who went missing and they're trying to figure out what happened.

I did like the mystery part, the uncertainty of what's going on and why and wondering who is behind this all. The mystery is a pretty good one, although not one you can solve on your own easily. There's a hint that they discover at the end of the book and then they quickly figure it out, but without that piece of information things don't fall on it's place. Once you do have that information, things suddenly make sense. I did find the ending a tad rushed and would've liked a bit more wrap-up, tying up the lose ends and answering a bit more questions.

I liked Winter as a main character, she's had a tough life. She lives with her father in a trailer park, her mother died and her sister left town. Winter plans to leave town as soon as she graduates to go to med school. She's pretty capable and lives in the forest surrounding the town a lot and can hunt. Then one day she finds a boy named Lennon and that kickstarts the whole plot. I think Winter is a great main character, she's interesting enough, knows how to take care of herself and wants to solve this mystery.

But while Winter was an interesting character, I liked Jude even more. He's a great character and I liked getting to know him better and figure ut the different layer of his personality. Winter is a nice character, but Jude is great. While the romance is a side plot line, I was totally shipping these two and it was one of my favorite parts of the book. I love how Armstrong writes her characters and romances and the romance totally worked for me. I loved the scene with the piano and their awkward second kiss. I wouldn't have minded reading even more about these characters.

To summarize: if you're looking for a well written Young Adult thriller I would recommend this one. I usually stay away from this genre, but I did enjoy this one and the mystery surrounding who was after Winter. There were some gruesome scenes that made me a bit uncomfortable, including one involving animals sadly. The mystery and thriller aspect is a good one, I wanted to know who was behind this and why. Although without the final clue the mystery is basically impossible to solve yourself. I liked Winter as the main character, she was a smart and capable young women who wanted to get to the bottom of this mystery. I liked Jude even more, he was so itnerestign with the different layers of his personality. And the romance side plot line was great! It was one of my favorite parts of the book. The ending did feel a tad rushed to me and I would've liked a bit more wrap and answering of some remaining questions. But overall this was a great read.
Profile Image for Leah.
1,583 reviews292 followers
April 19, 2017

Missing is one of those books you devour. And boy, did I devour it! I’ve never read any of Kelley Armstrong’s previous books (of which she has many) but as soon as I read the synopsis, I knew I wanted to read this book. I *had* to read this book! Teens going missing? A place no one cares that teens are going missing, because everyone thinks they’re just leaving town and not looking back? And a girl determined to find out the truth, who I aspire to be like, like no one’s business. I really got into this book, and Winter was such a great narrator, such a great PERSON, she was fearless, man, and I wouldn’t want to cross her, ever.

Missing is YA thriller, and it’s going to be quite hard to forget - Kelley Armstrong really sets the scene, Reeve’s End is nowhere, where people escape from at the first opportunity, so when Winter Crane finds a boy, Lennon, stuck up a tree, injured, she’s inclined to help (instead of y’know running away, but Winter is a far, far better person than I) it sets off a chain of events she could never have expected - especially when Lennon himself goes missing and his brother, Jude, arrives, anxious to find him and finds it hard to believe Winter isn’t involved in it all. So they make an unlikely alliance in a bid for Jude to find his brother, Lennon, and Winter to find her friend, Edie. It’s a great thriller, with a pretty creepy protagonist, like severely creepy, and I had no idea who it was.

I loved Winter. So much. Her abilities in the woods, the fact that she had to hunt for her food or not eat (which creeps me out, and there is a bit of me that feels sad for the animals but I’m a hypocrite because I eat chicken and beef and sausages so what’s the difference?), I loved her cabin in the woods (although the snakes are a no-no for me, just no. NO NO NO NO. Hell to the no. But otherwise I could have a cabin in the woods. Perhaps not in Reeve’s End, considering everything Winter goes through, but it sounds nice and all until a stalker comes a-calling. What I liked is the fact I thought this was going to be a romance between Winter and Lennon and I was so wrong. Sooooooo freaking wrong, but in the best way possible because JUDE WAS EVEN BETTER. I loved how much depth Jude had - he wasn’t just coming to Reeve’s End for a romance with Winter, he was coming to save his brother, and he was pragmatic and level-headed and wasn’t taking Winter’s nonsense (that wasn’t actually nonsense) and they just had this vibe that worked, which is weird since they like hate/don’t trust each other at the start, but what can you do? But I liked the way they both opened up to each other, because they were the only ones looking for Lennon and Edie, so they had to rely on each other and I loved it.

Missing had a few scenes that made me want to puke. Mostly the animal abuse, by which I don’t mean the rabbit or the deer Winter kills, but the feral dogs. I know they’re feral, I know they couldn’t help it in one of the cases, and I know they are fictional dogs but it doesn’t make it any easier to bear, I am never, ever comfortable killing animals in books and it always makes me feel sad inside, in my bones. But apart from that, which is a personal thing that likely comes from being lucky enough to never go into woods with wild animals who might skin me alive, I suppose, this was a captivating, pulse-pounding read. This is apparently a new direction for Kelley Armstrong but hopefully it’s a sign of many more fantastic books to come because I devoured this. I hardly wanted to put it down and it kept me sucked in from beginning to end.

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Profile Image for Cocktails and Books.
4,093 reviews320 followers
April 27, 2017
This review was originally posted on Cocktails and Books

I have to say, I haven't read a YA thriller before, but Kelley Armstrong made me realize these are books I should read more often.

Winter is stuck in Reeve's End hoping she's going to be able to get away from her father and fulfill her dream of being a doctor. And when she helps a boy she finds in the woods, she's suddenly in the middle of strange happenings and missing people.

This story had twists and turns. I wasn't sure if Winter should trust Lennon, the boy she helped, or what to think of his brother. There were times I was convinced she shouldn't trust both. But that's the great part of a thriller (at least to me) is never knowing who the main character should trust.

This is a fast-paced read with a heroine that I truly enjoyed. I wanted her to figure out who was behind the evil that seemed to be in her woods and that, in the end, she found a happiness her life previously lacked.

I'll definitely be checking out more books by Kelley Armstrong.
Profile Image for Trisha.
4,748 reviews169 followers
October 7, 2017
"Here I am, children. Right over here. Step off that safe, moonlit path and come meet me."

This was a wonderful mystery - a true page turner....up until it wasn't. Our Main character, Winter, was compelling. She was resourceful and strong - a true survivor. She's living a rough life half in the woods in a shed, half out showering and attending school. All to get out of her rundown town. Because that's what kids do, they turn 18, graduate and get out of town.

But one day there's a random shoe in her forest - a shoe that leads to a boy stuck in a tree. From there, Winter is pulled into Lennon's world and into a long standing wonder. The kids that leave this town - the ones going to college or work or just OUT - they are all making it out....right? Including her own sister?

I loved this one until about the last 50 pages. It was hard to put down. I kept wondering what was going on and making wild guesses. I had so many theories until they had all been shot down and I was just left wondering what on earth I'd missed. but I felt the ending was way too convenient - everything all easily wrapped in a bow. It was just all too....nice and a complete let down.
Profile Image for Erin.
1,262 reviews19 followers
May 17, 2017
so there's a girl named winter crane in modern day appalachia-aka-hillbilly country who is basically katniss everdeen

she can't wait to get out of her terrible town where the police are literally keystone kops, to the point where they see a dead body and basically point and laugh

she thinks all the high school grads before her who have left and never came back are just enjoying the high life of millenials in big cities, as they do

then she meets a dude and is all "stiff upper lip katniss, this gentleman is in trouble and you shan't flirt until we got to the bottom of this"

then she meets the first dude's brother and it's basically love at first abusive encounter

i mean at first she doesn't like him for literally pushing her around but then this sociopathic behavior is excused because the dude is deep, like still waters and shit, plus he plays the piano

then the plot unravels into something overly complex that i didn't pay that much attention to

also dogs
Profile Image for Sofie (BooksbySofie).
156 reviews5 followers
October 24, 2020
'Everyone knows they left, but nobody knows they're missing.'

Winter lives in a small town and she spends a lot of time in the woods. One day she finds a injured boy in the woods. She fixes him up and he tells her a crazy story about why he's come to her small town.
And then. He disappears.

After reading the darkest powers trilogy, I was excited to read more by Kelley Armstrong. I was expecting this to be another YA fantasy book, but it turned out to be a mystery

Winter gave me strong Katniss vibes. She knows how to hunt and spends a lot of time in the forest. I thought she was badass from the beginning.

I really enjoyed the dialogue, it's witty, funny and fast paced.

This book is so suspenseful! It filled with action and quite some horrible events. However, the ending was very predictable and rushed.
Profile Image for Kelsey.
544 reviews17 followers
July 20, 2017
2 Stars

Sadness. I've never disliked a Kelley Armstrong novel, but this is the first. The story was semi-interesting but bogged down by the usual YA tropes. It ended meh and didn't begin with too much of a bang either. The mystery aspect on the blurb isn't as prevalent in the novel itself. I was bored most of the time, but the writing as always is good. Not for me, I guess.
2 reviews2 followers
July 23, 2017
I can't condone a book that basically okays domestic violence on the basis of hard lives and tough love, not to mention the gratuitous violence towards animals.
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