Where have the Teenagers Disappeared? []
Where have the Teenagers Disappeared? []

Secrets from Beyond: Runaway
Written by David Benjamin

Published by Scholastic Inc.

Sixteen-year-old Ted Black has disappeared. There is only a note saying that he would return “when things were better.” His parents and little brother, Jason, are worried sick. The police is baffled – Ted is the fifth teen to disappear without trace.

All the teens are from stable, well-to-do families. Have they been kidnapped or have they run away from home? There is just one clue: all of them had been hanging out with people outside their usual circle of friends before they vanished.

This is an engrossing novel based on the Hollywood film The Sixth Sense. The film was written and directed by Manoj Night Shyamalan, the first Indian director to make it big in Hollywood. Cole Sears, the little boy in the film who could see dead people, is Jason’s friend in the novel.

As it happened, Cole was sleeping over at Jason’s house when they found out that Ted had disappeared. He knows that he can be of great help to the Black family. In this mission Cole is haunted by the ghost of a man killed in a plane crash. He also repeatedly bumps into another teen, Eddie. Are they just teasing him or can they be of help?

An excerpt from the book:

While Jason talked to the shopkeepers, Cole studied the photo he’d brought. It couldn’t be that old – Jason looked pretty must the same in the picture as he did now. They were on a family vacation…Ted looked happy; you couldn’t tell that anything was wrong. His dark hair fell down to his shoulders and over one eye. Jason had a short cut and lighter hair…but still it was obvious that they were brothers. They had the same smile – a little sarcastic, not to wide.

If you like adventure stories with more than just the usual suspense, then this book will be difficult to put down once you start reading it. But though the story is very engrossing, you can not help noticing the similarity to the film.

The author has made a very deliberate attempt to cash in on the success of The Sixth Sense and write a sequel to it. Benjamin has used the same element of the supernatural, that was featured in the film, to keep the interest of the reader. So, as such, there is very little in the story idea that is original. But nevertheless, the book makes good reading.

422 words | 4 minutes
Readability: Grade 6 (11-12 year old children)
Based on Flesch–Kincaid readability scores

Filed under: book reviews
Tags: #hollywood

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