Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Review of 'Vanished' by Christina Holt

by Christina Holt



Ten years ago, Emily Miller went missing when she was only five years old. Everyone in town thought she had either drowned in the lake near her house, or had been kidnapped. Some even whispered that her father, Frank Miller was responsible.

No one suspected the old boathouse behind the Miller property, except Emily’s father. Frank Miller knew what had happened to his little girl. He knew the boathouse had her.

Ten years later, thirteen-year-old George Morgan wanders into the same boathouse and discovers a magical secret. At first he’s thrilled. He reveals his secret to his fifteen-year-old brother Eddie, thinking it will bring them closer together. After all, George and Eddie used to be best friends, before they moved to town, and before Eddie started hanging out with a bunch of older boys—the same boys who make it their mission to bully George on a daily basis. But, when Eddie tells his friends about the boathouse, everything starts to go wrong.

Suddenly the cool, magical secret of the boathouse isn’t a secret anymore, and the mysteries of the past come back to haunt them, putting their lives in great danger.

Read an excerpt:
George walked along the fence line of the property. He thought about the family and what they might have been like. There was a sign on the front gate that read, ‘Keep Out, Private Property’. He wondered if Emily was their only child. The other kids at school probably knew. Not that he could ask. He wasn’t exactly the type of kid to go and start up a conversation. He did know that little Emily just disappeared one day out of the blue. The Miller family looked for her for several years. Then they just boarded up the house and left town.

George had overheard at school that since the Millers still owned the house, the town couldn’t do anything with it, so now it just sat there untouched. The kids at school also said if you go there every year on the night of Emily’s disappearance, her ghost will appear at midnight in the window of her bedroom.

Of course, George didn’t believe half of what the kids at school talked about, anyway. This was the same group of kids that said that old man Miller went crazy after she disappeared, and that’s why the family left town.

George glanced over his shoulder one last time for good measure. He walked toward an old oak tree that stood in the back of the woods, partially overlooking Fox Lake. The tree was his own personal getaway spot. No one in the world knew about it. Whenever he wanted to be alone, he went there. Not that George wanted to be a loner. He dreamed of the day he would be popular like his brother and have tons of friends. He was just different from the other kids in his class. The tree had two large limbs that stretched out, making it perfect for a tree house. He knew his dad could build an amazing tree house if he tried, but because the tree was on private property, he didn’t dare ask his dad to help.

Over the past year, George did the best he could to collect old boards and nails. He made a platform between the limbs and even used a few of the boards to make a ladder to climb the tree trunk.

Once he was settled into his spot, he was able to relax again. He hated that Eddie bullied him so much. The two brothers were once very close. They’d been best friends when they were younger. He still loved his brother, but things were very different now. His brother always tried to impress the other boys. Occasionally, when it would rain, the two boys would hang out in Eddie’s room just like the old days. Those were his favorite times with his brother.

**My thoughts**

This is the kind of book I would have eaten up when I was a kid. I know that technically, it is considered to be a young adult book. I think that kids even in upper elementary would enjoy this.

Eddie and George are 15 and 13, respectively. As I was reading this, I honestly felt like each one of them was about two years younger. That is part of why I think it would appeal to younger readers.

Both of them are able to find strength within themselves, that they didn't realize they had. Both of them learn lessons about what is really important in life. George is a very relatable character. Eddie is annoying in the beginning, as big brothers can be, but grows on you as the story continues.

Emily is a mysterious character. I would have liked to have gotten to know her better. Perhaps there could be a spin-off story about what really happened to her over the past ten years?

The boathouse is also a mysterious character in its own right. The explanation for its behavior is not one I was expecting!

This was a fun, quick read.   
~~Buy it on Amazon~~
AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Christina Holt is a writer of Young Adult Science Fiction. She loves to create original stories that capture the young reader from the first page and give them a reason to love reading. Christina’s first published novel was Second Chance (LBF Books, 2007). Christina Holt currently lives in Memphis, TN with her husband, daughter, and the family pug, Pete. You can find her online at www.christinaholt.net ,http://www.facebook.com/pages/Christina-Holt/101163427315 or www.lachesispublishing.com

Christina will be awarding loose teas and chip nuts (Chips nuts are peanuts coated with potato chips) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US/CANADA ONLY). Follow the tour for more chances to win!


  1. Andi,

    Thank you so much for your review of Vanished, and for taking the time to read it.

  2. Thanks for the honest review

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  3. Andi...Thanks for letting us know that the book is appropriate for even younger (than YA) kids. That's good to know.
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

    1. Thanks for showing interest, Catherine. Please let me know if you get a chance to read. Feel free to pass this link along to those you know with YA and middle school readers!