Stephanie thought it would never happen to her. News about a serial killer has sent shock waves through her small town. Two teenaged girls had mysteriously disappeared; one had been found "not alive". Despite warnings from the local police, her mother, and her own best friend, Stephanie decides to walk home from the bus stop after a shopping trip to the city. After all, she took the shortcut home all the time...what could happen?
A lot. Stephanie is grabbed from behind, drugged, and kidnapped. She awakens hours later, tied up in a cabin located in the forest miles from civilization. Luckily Stephanie is not like most survival victims who totally panic. She had spent last summer with her grandfather, an avid outdoorsman who had taught her survival skills (like using the sun as a compass and knowing how to find water). Stephanie escapes the cabin and begins her journey home, constantly looking over her shoulder in fear that the man who had kidnapped her would track her down and finish the job.
The beginning of Taken had great promise, especially since it was written by Norah McClintock, an award-winning Canadian mystery writer. Unfortunately Taken wasn't exactly the mystery I had hoped for. Stephanie seemed so "in control" in the woods there wasn't much tension - unlike Brian Robeson, the character who really struggles to survive after a plane crash in Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (see link below). Stephanie's homelife has more drama, as we see through flashbacks about her huge fights with her mom, her sadness about her father's death, and her dislike for her mom's boyfriend. Taken is a decent crime novel for kids, but I was still hoping for a bit more suspense. Only 176 pages.