Friday, September 20, 2013

Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner

Cat fell out of a tree a couple months ago, and she's still suffering from the concussion.  Headaches, hard to focus, forgetful, Cat wants her old life back.  She and her mother discover a clinic called I-CAN that uses cutting edge gene therapy to help people recover from head injuries.  Cat is eager to start getting better and begins treatment at the clinic, but soon she realizes the doctors' main focus isn't on making her and the other kids well.

This was a good middle grade science fiction read.  And it wasn't too science fictiony.  No space or super computers or interplanetary whatever.  Four kids with concussions are in danger of being implanted with the DNA of past scientific geniuses.  And no, I'm not giving anything away by saying that, because that's on the back of the book.  Kind of dumb, really, because then there's not anything to reveal in the course of the book, but there it is.

Cat, even before her concussion, was struggling with who she was, a classic middle school experience.  We learn that her best friend, Lucy, has recently ditched her, and Cat had spent all her life doing whatever Lucy did, whether she really liked doing it or not.  Now Cat is feeling even less like herself, suffering from memory loss and unable to concentrate on anything. 

Cat goes off to the miracle head injury clinic in the Everglades and finds that there are only five other kids there, all around her age.  Cat is hopeful at first, since two of the other kids who were there before her already seem so much better.  But it isn't long before things don't seem quite right.  It's hard for Cat to piece everything together, because it's so difficult for her to concentrate.  But one kid seems to have undergone a complete personality change and another is confined to her room for mysterious reasons. 

While freaking out about becoming part of a crazy scientific, possible terrorist plot, Cat is also beginning to learn how lead and not just follow and to trust herself.

So good dose of middle school issues and finding yourself, along with science fiction mad-scientist plot.  Good times for all!

Wake Up Missing came out September 10.

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