Wow. Just the premise of this novel had me intrigued, but once I started reading Kimberly Derting's The Taking, I was avoiding sleep and thinking about it until I finished...and dang, I'm *still* thinking about it. Well written with an expected but not patronizing reveal, the details and the emotion move this story along and kept me gripped from the get-go. From the dropped clues to the harrowing climax, I had a vivid suspense movie playing inside my head the entire time. So good!
Basic facts: Kyra Agnew disappears at age 16 after an argument with her father, making the poor decision to leave the car to walk home. For five long years, her friends and family look, worry, agonize, and grieve over their loss. When Kyra wakes up behind a dumpster at a local convenience store, she's sure her parents are gonna be ticked with a capital T over her staying out all night. Imagine her surprise and then horror when she goes home to a place where someone new lives, her parents have split, and her boyfriend is now dating her best friend--and five years have passed. Now technically 21, Kyra doesn't feel as though any time at all has passed, though the proof lies before her in her boyfriend Austin's younger brother Tyler, now a tall, engaging seventeen year old. In fact, Tyler seems to be the only one who Kyra can relate to, and he does a sweet, amazing job of sweeping her off her feet. But it doesn't take long for Kyra to realize that if the world has changed, so has she, in ways she could never imagine. So who is she? And what happened to her during the time she was away?
It's hard to find a stopping point in this novel because each chapter leads to yet more questions and startling developments. While a few things bugged me (Why wasn't Kyra returning a major news story? Why was Tyler so smitten so quickly?), nothing detracted from my overall enjoyment and the fascinating idea of this novel. If Kyra was sullen, well...most sixteen year olds are, and her entire world was upside down. And if the climactic events leading up to the final, intense turning point seemed a bit "out there"...well, it's all forgiven because I am totally, completely caught up in the storyline Derting has created. Who hasn't wondered if there is life besides us out there, and just what their intentions would be should we encounter them? And please don't get me started on that cliffhanger of an ending! I am certain I will explode before the next entry in this series shows up. As it is, I'll be spending quite a bit of time thinking of Kyra and hoping for the best until I have the next book. Spellbinding and intense, The Taking is going to be the hit YA book of the summer.