Without A Trace

Thursday, January 28, 2016
Sam couldn’t sit still. She headed to her room as soon as the news went into the final weather forecast. She didn’t know what she could do, but knew she needed to do something. Anything. Which, as far as she could tell, was more than the sheriff’s office was doing.

Book: Without a Trace (Samantha Sanderson) by Robin Caroll, Zonderkidz, 2016

Genre: Realistic Fiction/Mystery
Target Audience: Girls 11-15
Subjects: Family Relationships, Rumors, Truth, Friendship
Summary: Tam? Missing? That doesn’t even make sense to Sam. He’s the responsible student. He’s the last one she would have pegged as a runaway. So when the police treat his disappearance as exactly that, Sam knows they are wrong and begins her own investigation. Talking to some of Tam’s friends at school, listening to a conversation with the school officials and police, digging into his school reports and getting Makayla to hack into Tam’s facebook account all lead her to conclude that something has gone seriously wrong.
Notes: This is the fourth in a series about a middle-school girl with a passion for cheerleading and investigative writing. She is a strong Christian who takes her faith seriously. She encounters friends who are not Christians and makes a strong effort to not look down on them, but rather show them love and hope that they come to know the Savior she has found. This series is a part of the faithgirlz imprint – books for girls 5th-8th grade that specifically focus on helping their grow in their faith. In this book Samantha continues to wrestle with ethics in reporting. She does a few things she knows are disobedient or illegal – and gets in trouble for those. Her mom supports her when she pushes the boundaries but stays within the rules though. An interesting comment from her mom is when she says “Sam, you have to know that Dad’s always on your side. He’s just required to color a little more in the lines than I am.” There is kind of an implication that her dad, as a policeman, has to follow the rules more closely than her mom, an investigative reporter. It doesn’t actually say that her mom approves her breaking rules – as mentioned above, she is in trouble when she actually does. But sneaky things like spying or publishing an article with information thought by the adults to be confidential is allowed. The overall theme of the book is following your own instinct. Sam is convinced something happened to Tam and determined to find out what, even though the police don’t agree. The spiritual elements aren’t really a focus of this book. The others in the series have a much stronger focus. There is still the element of praying when they are concerned for Tam and thanking God when something good happens. Overall though, this particular book is more just a focus on the mystery.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 3/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Isaiah 30:21 – Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Thank you to the publishers for providing me with a free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.


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