They Never Came Back, by Caroline Cooney

Caroline Cooney has never quite achieved household-name status, but she's made a successful career out of writing suspense novels for young readers. Her latest effort is They Never Came Back, a fast-paced, enjoyably melodramatic novel about the fallout from a financial scandal.

When fifteen-year-old Cathy Ferris signs up for a intensive Latin class in a neighboring town, she doesn't expect it to turn her life upside down. A fellow student takes one look at her and accuses her of being his long-lost cousin Murielle, the only daughter of Rory and Cade Lyman*, a notorious pair of fugitives who fled the country with millions of dollars in embezzled investments. Cathy denies it, but the boy doesn't give up, and pretty soon the whole school is weighing in—is Cathy really Murielle? And if so, how could her parents abandon her?

They Never Came Back should have been thirty pages longer, and there are some highly questionable plot twists in the final chapters, but those objections only occurred to me after I put down the book (which is easily read in one sitting). Rather than focusing on the details of the Lymans' crimes, Cooney keeps the novel centered around Cathy, using her experiences to explore questions about family loyalty and obligation. The end result is immensely readable, and sure to be gobbled up by fans of her earlier work.

*As names for embezzlers go, “Lyman” isn't as good as “Madoff”, but it's close.

[Review based on publisher-provided copy.]
Posted by: Julianka


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