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Wherever Nina Lies Hardcover – February 1, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up—Ellie's beloved, artistic, and wild older sister disappeared two years ago. By chance, Ellie finds one of Nina's drawings in a donation box at a thrift store, and with the help of her friend Amanda, who works there, she tracks down the guy who donated the box, leading her on a chase all over the country to find her missing sister. At a party in town, she meets Sean, a guy from a local prep school who thinks fate brought them together. His brother died a few years ago, and he'd do anything to get him back, so he relates to Ellie, and the next thing they know they're driving from their suburb in Illinois to Nebraska, Colorado, and California, following clues. An unbelievable plot—Ellie's mom doesn't care that her daughter is missing for days, Amanda lets her friend run off with a complete stranger, and Nina has made no effort to contact her family despite the ability to do so with the help of police and the Internet—combined with sloppy writing—makes this one hard to recommend, despite the intriguing premise. The story takes an abrupt turn toward a Lifetime movie when Ellie figures out that Sean murdered his brother, who was, in fact, Nina's boyfriend, and that he plans to murder both her and Nina. This road-trip novel pales in comparison to John Green's Paper Towns (Dutton, 2008).—Jennifer Barnes, Homewood Library, IL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Ellie’s attempts to live a normal life since the disappearance of her beloved older sister, Nina, have been futile. Every time the 16-year-old manages to get it together, a new but ultimately worthless clue emerges, returning her to despair. Even her best friend, Amanda, is losing patience. So it is a relief that Sean enters Ellie’s life just as she discovers a drawing done by Nina with a phone number embedded in the design. Sean proposes a road trip to find Nina, and Ellie jumps at the chance in spite of having met him only days before. Murder, mystery, and romance all wrap into a road trip.Weingarten offers a fully dimensional story that even includes an occasional psychedelic tip of the hat to Francesca Lia Block. Readers will be jerked around from one clue to the next dead end, each time getting closer to the eerie truth. While the denouement is a bit too lengthy, this will be exciting recreational reading for teen mystery and romance fans. Grades 8-12. --Frances Bradburn
Top customer reviews
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Um, and Sean was *expertly* done.... Okay I can't say more because it's supposed to be a mystery but really, good job.
The whole thing is just really evocative... So many neat observations and sharp and bitter insights... And just moods and moments of realization are captured so well. It just feels like being that age , when everything is crazy and new and you know that it's new and that you're excited but you don't realize quite how much the newness of it is coloring your experiences of and your responses to everything. And you also don't realize how much and how permanently you're being formed. You just realize it afterwards. Reading the book it was like I knew exactly what summer the author was talking about you know? (Even though my sister never disappeared fortunately so I never went looking for her... Or on a road trip... I still felt like I knew EXACTLY what summer in my life the book was about. If that makes sense.)
In addition, it was really very suspenseful. I could tell from the first awesome sentence that I was going to like the book, but I wasn't really expecting it to be genuinely suspenseful... I was impressed. I even had to do that thing that other people always yell at me for doing, where I got so anxious to know whether they would find Nina that I actually cheated and skipped a few pages at some point because I just had to know how the trip was going to end.... one way or another.
In response to "A Road Trip Full of Twists and Turns" which I mostly agree with, but which said that things seemed to come together a little too neatly... Maybe it's just a subjective thing but I didn't feel that way as I read it. Actually it seemed to me like there were a lot of times when the clues really did run out.... But Ellie pushed harder and made it happen.
The last thing is.... I actually read this already like a couple weeks ago (I read it all in one night by accident), and the thing that's really stuck with me, as "Courtesy of Teens Read Too" said, is Ellie's love for her sister, which is very deep and complicated and not always happy but still but rock-solid... Just like love within families really is. I actually have a younger sister not an older sister like Nina but... It was just very moving and I felt like it did give me some insight into the younger sibling's perspective. I felt like all the other good things in the book made it fun to read at the time, but that element made it stay with me even after the book was over.
Some of the novel is told in flashback about Ellie's reminisces of her four-year older sister, Nina. The rest is set in the present as Ellie searches for Nina, even though the police and her mother have given up on Nina being alive.
When you're sixteen like Ellie, you have a few expectations it seems: that your friend Amanda will keep emotionally supporting you in your grief and unfounded belief that your beautiful and charismatic elder sister, Nina, who disappeared 2 years ago is yet alive. The sense of entitlement that though Amanda generously supports you in financial and material ways, even when you turn your back on her to follow an unknown guy, Sean, across the States.
The sense of entitlement also tells you that your mum doesn't need to know where you are. Like your sister, you tell fibs to disappear and follow unsavoury boys and give yourself to them at 16. And as you idolise your questionable sister, you don't mind that she didn't reciprocal your affection by always abandoning you - even when on holiday.
There are interesting plot points as the suspense ratchets up several notches. And the end is a revelation that was hinted at.
As in many a road trip it feels like the places visited are padding as in this book. The Teens are fallible and self-centred. But all is forgiven miraculously at the end. Good suspense from an author whose books I will read again.
Most recent customer reviews
This was a fantastically constructed story.Read more
Ellie isn't sure who she is or what her life is supposed to be now that she doesn't have her sister.Read more