Taken by Virginia Rose Richter

Taken by Virginia Rose Richter

Taken (A Willow Lane Mystery, #4) by Virginia Rose Richter
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Young Adult/Middle Grade, Suspense/Mystery, Historical
Length: Short Story (60 pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 3 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

Time is running out. When thirteen year old Jessie Hanson witnesses a kidnapping in broad daylight, she and her friends, Tina Adams and Bryce Peterson, use their combined deductive reasoning to help authorities find the culprit before the young victim is whisked out of Fairfield to be lost forever. “TAKEN: A Willow Lane Mystery” is the fourth book in ‘The Willow Lane Mysteries’ series set in rural small town Nebraska.

Sometimes the police need all they help they can get.

I really enjoyed seeing how Jessie interacted with her friend Tina. They seemed to have a lot in common and were good influences on each other. The friendship between these two girls was so kind and playful that I looked forward to every scene about them. It was especially interesting to see how their close relationship influenced how they attempted to solve this case, although I can’t say anything more about that without giving away spoilers.

There were a few things I didn’t understand about the plot. Jessie’s reliance on a traditional camera for her sleuthing surprised me. The circumstances surrounding the kidnapping also felt like they would have been much more plausible a few decades ago. It was never quite clear to me if these things were supposed to stick out in the reader’s mind, though, so I would have liked to have a few more hints about what time period the author was thinking of when she wrote it. I had a hard time figuring out if this story was meant to be set in the present or the past. It was distracting not to have a firm answer about this.

What an interesting case! Kidnapping isn’t a topic that I’ve seen covered in many middle grade mysteries, so I was eager to see how Jessie was planning to find enough clues to solve it. The number and type of clues that were provided were just right for this age range. They weren’t too easy or too difficult, and they showed up exactly when the reader needed them the most.

I’d recommend Taken to fans of the young adult and mystery genres alike.

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