Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Never Came Back by Caroline B. Cooney

Cathy Ferris was in her second week of summer school when things began to unravel. All because Tommy Petrak believes Cathy is really Murielle Lyman, the long lost daughter of Cade and Rory Lyman. The Lyman's fled overseas 5 years previously to avoid charges of embezzling millions of dollars of their clients money. So certain is Tommy, that he confronts Cathy in the cafeteria during lunch and in front of all the summer students. Within minutes, most of the 60 students at Greenwich Summer School are googling the Lyman name on their Blackberrys and cell phones and comparing pictures of past Murielle and present day Cathy. They never came back is in two voices, that of 15 year old Cathy Ferris and also of 10 year old Murielle Lyman. Murielle's story is one of a confused, innocent 10 year old who loses everything because of her parents greed. Questioned tirelessly by FBI agents, she begins to vomit due to the stress and is eventually placed in a foster home. Cathy's story eventually reveals to the readers, quite early on, that she is in fact, Murielle. She began to use her second name of Catherine when she was moved to a second foster home. Although the reader knows that Murielle and Cathy are the same, the characters in the story do not. It turns out that Cathy deliberately enrolled in the high school in her childhood hometown of Norwalk to see her cousin Tommy Petrak. But she never anticipated the situation she now finds herself in. The FBI reappear, this time hoping to use Cathy's resemblance to Murielle to entrop her parents. Cathy must deal with issues of guilt, loyalty, justice and greed. The choice Cathy/Murielle must make at the end of the book is sure to spark discussion both for and against.
I did enjoy the book but found the means the author used to bring Cathy back in touch with her parents simplistic and unrealistic. I also felt the book would have been much more exciting if the reader had been kept in suspense about whether or not Cathy was Murielle. Nevertheless, the idea for the book was a good one. I just didn't like the way the author developed it. I highly recommend this novel. It's a quick good read for teens.

Book Details:

They never came back by Caroline B. Cooney
Delacorte Press 2010
200 pp.

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