The Disappearance of Emily H. by Barrie Summy
Raine is the new girl at school –again. Her mother has a habit of picking up and running when things get tough. Raine has a secret ability that helps her connect with people and makes it easier to get by, if not to make friends. She can see memories, in the form of sparkles. When Raine touches a sparkle, a memory flows into her mind. But then she finds out that Emily, a girl who went missing a month ago lived in her house. And the girl that is currently bullying Raine also bullied Emily. Raine begins collecting sparkles, trying to discover what happened to Emily. She wonders if Emily is alive and if the bully had something to do with her disappearance or if there was a much more sinister reason for Emily’s disappearance.
This book is suspenseful but also thoughtful. It would be a good conversation starter for a session on bullying. Many of the characters are bullied, either occasionally or chronically. Different people respond in different ways. The bystanders all handle it differently as well. But none of this overshadows the mystery or makes the book less of a good read. There are no morals laid out at the end of the story. That’s what makes it such good food for thought. Barrie Summy does not tell you what to think but leaves it up to the reader to make their own decisions.
This is a great read for upper elementary and middle school. Some high school students may enjoy it as well.