Five years ago two 12-year-old friends Petra and Tina suddenly disappeared and their friend Mandy was left wondering what had happened. The two girls were fixated by a crumbling old house nearby, which though still lived in, was somewhere that most people avoided. Mandy has been traumatized by the event and wants to know what happened after she left her two friends. This has been intensified by the certainty that she has seen Petra on at least two occasions in the past few months. Then with the fifth anniversary approaching things take another turn and Mandy may well find the answer to her questions.
One again Anne Cassidy has produced a masterpiece of suspense which draws the reader in so that you just have to keep on reading to the end. The story is told from two perspectives and whilst they tell a similar tale they also highlight differences that are important in the context of the story. The first narrative is that from Mandy who is suffering from guilt that she did not tell the police where the girls had gone until several hours after their disappearance; if she has told them earlier, would it have made a difference? The second narrator is Petra, one of the missing girls and her story takes the events in a different direction. The one person that we hear nothing from is the third member of the group, Tina, and it is her fate that is the focus for much of the book. This is very much a story of relationships, those between friends and those within families. We are allowed to see the difference perceptions of friendship that people have and it is quite sad to see how Mandy and Petra view the dynamics of the original threesome, although we are reminded that they were only twelve years old. The family relationships are even more complex but the author uses them to help create the framework for the story and they help explain many of the actions.
This is a great book for the younger teens and although it has female central characters the story will be enjoyed by both boys and girls.