Sudden Moves: A Young Adult Mystery
by Kelli Sue Landon
Release Date: December 31, 2010
2010 Outskirts Press, Inc.
Softcover Edition; 236 Pages
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Review Copy from Author
3.5 / 5 Stars
Michelle Martin grows suspicious when her friend, Katie Brashers, isn’t in attendance at school after a trip to Florida after Spring Break. The police and adult don’t see anything suspicious in Katie’s disappearance, especially considering Katie’s mother was known to have been flirtatious and people just assumed she must have run off with some man. Having lent Katie a special book given her by her grandmother however, and not having said good-bye to her friends and boyfriend, Michelle teams up with her best friend, Tami, and Katie’s boyfriend, Brad, to seek out the truth the Katie’s disappearance. Dodging a demanding mother, the threesome started their own investigation by talking to neighbours, and looking inside Katie’s house. With clues leading into one dead-end after another, Michelle is about to give up when her dog helps her find the most important clue of all and leads her into danger she doesn’t suspect and circumstances beyond what she would ever expect.
Michelle Martin was an engaging young lady whom I really enjoyed as a main character. I really liked her tenaciousness and passive/aggressiveness in trying to find clues that would lead her to find her friend Katie. I also liked her vulnerability with regards to her relationship with her mother, someone whom I really did not like, nor did I really relate to at all. It would be very difficult to deal with someone who has these unpredictable mood swings all of the time, and she handle the situations with maturity and grace. When Michelle finally stood up for herself at dinner one night, I really liked how the author handled the scene as she didn’t lower it to one of Michelle acting like a young child, but allowed Michelle to handle her mother with great aplomb and maturity. I also really liked Mr. Nichols and found him hilarious. He is one of those older people who are retired and don’t have a lot to do, but certainly tend to notice everyone around them. He would have a lot to say about life and I found him terribly interesting. My only concern with the character development is the relationship between Katie and Michelle as I didn’t really feel like there was any bonding between them, like there was a caring relationship. I felt the only reason Michelle wanted to find Katie was to get her book back and that is really no reason for someone to go to all this trouble. It created some confusion as I didn’t fully believe that Michelle’s reasons for looking for Katie were altruistic.
While I really enjoyed Sudden Moves and found it to be a quick, easy read, I have to admit that I did find the plot somewhat predictable, despite some of the twists and turns that did catch me off guard. I also found Michelle’s obsession with getting her book back somewhat irritating, as the characters would be in the middle of an important scene, and suddenly Michelle would bring up her book, and spoil the scene. While the book did have its importance in the final chapters of the novel, it felt more like it was thrown in rather than an important point of the plot. It also seemed like the author didn’t really know where she wanted to go with the plotline as there were too many plotlines thrown in towards the end and it didn’t really mesh well together. I really wish she had stuck to just one or two as the book could have been really great. Despite all this, I was engrossed in the novel and really wanted to find out what happened in the end. The last two lines of the book were great!
The novel was easy to read, and the language was kept simple and familiar. She writes with an open style that makes you feel relaxed and comfortable, trying to emulate the language of teenagers. While it worked most of the time, there were times when I felt she was trying too hard and it seemed somewhat forced. I like how the message of the book is kept simple however, as some of the young adult novels can be pretty heavy. This one is lighter and younger readers will definitely enjoy this one. I am looking forward to reading more novels by Kelli Sue Landon. Sudden Moves was a novel that kept me engaged until the final page.