Ellen and Maggie have been friends since their first day at school, always there for each other, sharing everything, as close, if not closer, than sisters. But now Ellen is no longer there and Maggie is trying to make sense of what happened and of her feelings of loss and abandonment. To help her come to terms with them, she starts writing to Ellen, letters that will never be posted, but that help Maggie put into words things that she can't say to her family or friends.
Told alternately through Maggie's letters and a series of flashbacks, Missing Ellen is a story of friendship and loss. Told in the first person, it brings an immediacy to her feelings though for the sake of preserving the mystery of what has happened to Ellen, Maggie doesn't reveal everything at once.
It soon becomes apparent that Maggie and Ellen had been drifting apart for some time - while Maggie wanted to join in the school drama group, helping to make costumes, Ellen's idea of fun was getting drunk with her older boyfriend. And this was my only reservation with the book - that Maggie was a little too 'goodie goodie', Ellen so very, very bad and the moralistic attitude that if you're in the 'bad' category, then worse will befall you.
It's a great story though of friendship and growing up, and the strains that come with it. It's less cutting and not as dark as some 'real life' teen fiction so perhaps suitable for the younger end of the range and even pre-teens.
Maryom's review - 4 starsPublisher - O'Brien Press
Genre - teen fiction,
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