Genre: YA Science Fiction
Pub. Date: April 29, 2014
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day. Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men. Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?"Kyra is one sixteen year old who seems to have it all. She's got a dedicated boyfriend, Austin, whom she has been friends with since they were kids. Her dad is her biggest fan and she has a bright future as a softball pitcher in college since scouts already have their eyes on her. Her father wants more for her than to just attend the school of her and her boyfriend's choice and while discussing her future with her father in his car on the way to a pizza place to celebrate a softball victory, she gets out on the side of the road in anger. Kyra's plans for her future include her boyfriend, Austin, whereas, her dad thinks she should branch out a bit more. Before she knows it, she is on the side of the road disappearing in a flash of white light. She remembers nothing after she wakes up behind a dumpster at her town's gas station. She has no recollection of what has happened to her and starts to head home, only to find that her mother remarried, she has a baby brother, and her boyfriend is in college and is dating her best friend. What is most alarming is the fact that it has been five years since she disappeared and she hasn't even aged one bit. Kimberly Derting's latest novel, The Taking, is an addicting tale that fans of science fiction won't want to miss.
While Kyra was an interesting character in The Taking, she ultimately drove me nuts. I, along with her father, wanted to pull her aside and tell her to not plan her college career around a boy, even if she thinks he is the love of her life. She needs to focus on her and her softball career, but instead makes choices that I don't necessarily agree with. But who can rationalize with a stubborn teenager in love anyway? Kyra doesn't even get to explore the consequences of the argument with her dad since she lost five years of her life and comes back to a world that she barely recognizes. She doesn't get to be a senior, graduate, play softball in college, or even grow up. She's stuck as a sixteen year old, whereas Austin and her best friend Cat, are twenty-one. The only solace she finds is in Tyler, Austin's younger brother, who is now her age.
Oh, Tyler. I wanted to really like him. I did. I was hoping Derting would have created a male protagonist that could tug my heartstrings, just like Jay in The Body Finder, but I couldn't get past the fact that it was Austin's brother. She spends the first chapter of the book completely obsessed with her relationship with Austin and then the rest of the book she is crushing on his brother, Tyler! Kyra and Tyler sort of had a case of insta-love and Tyler, apparently, has had a crush on her for years. As the story progressed, I felt like Tyler was getting himself into a lot (aliens and National Security Agency!) just for a girl that he "crushed" on as a middle schooler and watched his brother date five years ago. Their relationship kind of seemed rushed in that sense and wasn't entirely believable. I had a hard time believing that Tyler was able to hold onto his feelings for Kyra for five years after she was missing even though she didn't give him the time of day since he was just a kid. It seems unlikely to me, so, I was not 100% invested in their relationship.
After finishing the novel, I was trying to decide if The Taking deserved 3.5 stars or 4 and what bumped me over to 4 stars is the fact that the premise is so darn interesting. An supposed alien abduction of a teenager makes for a compulsively readable tale. Even though I wasn't feeling the relationship between Tyler and Kyra, I liked the science fiction aspects of the story. Derting does a great job hooking the reader in and there's a lot of action in this story, which I liked. Plus, there's this whole concept of people who have been "taken" and are now "returned." It's a fascinating premise, no doubt.
Derting ends The Taking with a cliffhanger and leaves readers with many questions, namely, why was Kyra abducted in the first place? Hopefully the next book will give us more backstory on that and answer a few major questions regarding the cliffy ending. If you like the sci-fi genre and stories involving aliens, definitely check out The Taking this spring.