Trending Thursday: Kidnapping and Missing Persons

Welcome to Trending Thursday, a periodic post in which I choose a bookish trend and then we discuss!  

As I've been going through the spring 2015 book catalogs, I've noticed a growing trend of young adult books about kidnapping and missing people.

These kinds of books can span a variety of genres, from thrillers to mystery to magical realism to contemporary. They can tell stories that end in tragedy or discovery.

The kidnapping/missing persons trend isn't a new one, of course. Every year, YA seems to produce a handful of kidnapping stories, books like Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott (2008), Stolen by Lucy Christopher (2009), Pretty Girl 13 by Liz Coley (2013), Pointe by Brandy Colbert (2014), and Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick (2014).

And missing people (especially teenage girls) aren't new in YA either. We've seen books like Paper Towns by John Green (2008), 17 and Gone by Nova Ren Suma (2013), Then You Were Gone by Lauren Strasnick (2013),  and Don't Look Back by Jennifer Armentrout (2014).

So ... why the sudden upsurge in missing and/or kidnapped characters? If I had to guess, I'd say it's the huge popularity of this 2012 book (and 2014 movie) about a missing woman:

So, what's on deck in this category for 2015-2016?

Ruthless Zero Day Emmy & Oliver
Last Good Day of the Year pic name
Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams (Simon Pulse, July 2015)
Zero Day by Jan Gangsei (Disney-Hyperion, January 2016)
Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway (Harper Teen, June 2015)
There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake (Bloomsbury, January 2015)
Last Good Day of the Year by Jessica Warman (Walker, May 2015)
Also (no cover): The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke (May 2015)

The Creeping Finding Paris Charlie, Presumed Dead
Vanished Bone Gap Vanishing Girls
The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy (Simon & Schuster, August 2015)
Finding Paris by Joy Preble (Balzer + Bray, April 2015)
Charlie, Presumed Dead by Anne Heltzer (HMH, June 2015)
Vanished by E.E. Cooper (Katherine Tegen, May 2015)
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby (Balzer + Bray, May 2015)
Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver (Harper, March 2015)

What are your thoughts on these kinds of stories? Sometimes they're too disturbing for me, but I do have a few of these for review, so keep a lookout for my thoughts to come!


  1. I used to read a lot of detective novels by Karin Slaughter or psychological thrillers by Nicci French! I haven't lately though. I'll probably try to pick some of these up this year!

  2. I agree with you! Gone Girl was huge when it came out although I think much of the attention was because of Ben Affleck. I also think it's trending cause it's an attractive topic. There's an air of mystery and endless possibilities to the what-happened-to-that-person storyline.

  3. I do enjoy a good mystery but I loved Bone gap and I had no idea about emmy and Oliver. But I tried reading Finding paris and I dnf that book. I finally read gone girl and that was messed up lol

  4. I'm not really a big fan. I used to love them when I was in my early teens but I think I tired myself out. I feel like I've read so many of them before because they all start to sound similar.

  5. I havent heard a bunch about these, but will probably end up reading a few

  6. Huh. Now that you mention is you're right! I hadn't noticed the trend until you put them all together. Well, I hope that makes for some great thrillers!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  7. I actually love these kind of stories. I love the missing girl better than the kidnapped. I love any thriller or mystery though.Now Gone Girl was a bit much for me. A little too sadistic. But it was for sure a shocker.

  8. I the thrillers about missing people. And I absolutely loved Gone Girl. Those books look great, especially Finding Paris.

  9. I think stories along these lines have always been around, but you're right that with GG's popularity, Gillian had sparked inspiration among other writers.

  10. For some reason, I really like books about kidnappings. But missing people, not so much. I'm so excited for Ruthless and Emmy and Oliver!

  11. I'm sure you're correct about the Gone Girl connection. There's nothing like a trend to jump on. lol

    I really haven't read many of either genre though - nor am I interested to. Most of the kidnapping stories end up being a romance with the kidnapper which always bothers me and it's hard to care about someone who's missing from the novel most of the time.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

  12. I just realized I've never read any of these books yet, and I've never even heard of the new books releasing this year! I hate school for making me busy and not being up to date in the book world. I'm gonna start reading more books with this trend, since I've never even read a single one! :)

  13. I'm such a fan of missing persons books (does that make me morbid?), I've got an eARC of Vanished. I think I just like mysteries the most and these kidnappings always have some interesting twist!

    Looks like Spring will be my season of book buying! :)

  14. I love these kind of stories. IF they provide enough psychological elements, which will also be impressive if an author can do. Obviously, for the book to be good the emotional impact of such events must be realistic, and that's what I look for in books like these :)


  15. Can I just say that I love when you do these posts? I feel like you're very very good at seeing bigger picture trends than I am and so it's always interesting to have you point them out and then I'll just nod my head in the background.

    The kidnapping + missing person storyline also has the one where the kid is returned to his family but no longer remembers them. Like the one the author of Wake published. Can't remember the name now though... but it's esp. what you said: not a new trend & can span a bunch of genres.

    Ahhh, yeah, Gone Girl is hugely popular, so I could see that making waves for why this trend is popping up. Also John Green's super popular now too so I wouldn't be surprised if Paper Towns was making its influence known too.

    Have you read any of the ones you listed so far? / heard good things? I think I saw Bone Gap got a starred review from Kirkus...


Post a Comment

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you will share your thoughts on this post!