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Book Review: The Missing Season by Gillian French

Publisher’s Book Description:
Whenever another kid goes missing in October, the Pender kids know what is really behind it: a horrific monster out in the marshes they have named the Mumbler.

That’s what Clara’s new crew tells her when she moves to town: Bree and Sage, who take her under their wing; spirited Trace, who has taken the lead on this year’s Halloween prank war; and magnetic Kincaid, whose devil-may-care attitude and air of mystery are impossible for Clara to resist.

Clara doesn’t actually believe in the Mumbler. But as Halloween gets closer and tensions build in the town, it’s hard to shake the feeling that there really is something dark and dangerous in Pender, lurking in the shadows, waiting to bring the stories to life.

Karen’s Thoughts:

As a kid who moved a lot in my life – military brat! – I was immediately drawn to Clara’s plight as she moved to yet another new town. And I do love a good, creepy town with spooky urban legends – at least on the page. From the moment that Clara sees the poem about the Mumbler under the bridge readers will be sucked in. Is the Mumbler real? Are they in danger? Is it supernatural, a drifter . . . or someone they know and trust?

While the urban legend is slowly being revealed and developed, Clara makes friends, goes on a prank spree, and finds her new friendships challenged by her hookup with the resident hot guy.

There is a lot to love here. Unfortunately, the pay off kind of unravels due to a very rushed third act. Right as the truth is being revealed it’s all kind of . . . just over. Teens will still want to read this, but I wish the back half had been better developed and maintained the creepiness and the tension of the beginning. It’s a satisfying and creepy read, but falls just short of being highly recommended.

Coming May 21st from HarperTeen. I downloaded a digital ARC on Edelweiss for this review.

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