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When their little sister doesn't come home from school, fifteen-year-old Maggie and her brother must face up to some deep, dark secrets about their natural mother, whom they must consider as a kidnapping suspect.
"HI, LEIGH! WE'RE HOME!" I called.
"Hi, honey," my stepmother answered. "I'm in my studio."
"Okay," I called back. I turned to Courtenay. "Want to go see Mommy?" I asked, closing the front door behind us.
Courtenay nodded and licked the last sticky remains of a piece of peppermint candy from her fingers. As far as she was concerned, the candy had been the high point of our late- afternoon outing. I'd taken her on a walk all the way to the elementary school playground to ride on the swings and the merry-go-round and the seesaw. Walking back, I'd given her the candy. Just one piece. It had made her day.
"Come on, Miss Messy Face," I said, smiling.
"I am not a messy-face."
"Yes, you are. Stick out your tongue."
"It's as red as a radish," I informed her.
She giggled. "I want to show Mommy!" she cried, and ran up the stairs to the second floor of our house and into the studio where Leigh does her illustrating.
Leigh turned around as Courtie skipped in. "Hello, sweetheart! Did you have a g—What on earth?" she exclaimed.
"What?" I said. I had followed Courtenay into the studio and couldn't see anything out of the ordinary. I glanced around in search of whatever it was Leigh saw, but she was looking at Courtenay.
"What do you mean, 'what'!" repeated Leigh. "Look at your sister." (Courtenay is really my half sister, but we don't make a big thing of it.)
I glanced at her. She looked fine—just dirty enough to indicate she'd had a lot of fun that afternoon, which she had.
"She's filthy! Where did you take her?"
"I took her to the dump, Leigh," I said. "She had a fabulous time. She played in mountains of trash and rode around in a garbage truck, okay?"
"There's no need for sarcasm, Maggie. Just give me a straight answer. Is that possible?"
"I give up. Is it?" I said.
Leigh looked ready to strangle me. Courtie was glancing warily back and forth between her mother and me, trying to figure out what was going on. All she was sure of was that we were bickering again.
But for heaven's sake. Okay, so Courtie had some dirt on the knees of her pants, and a piece of grass in her hair and a little red around her mouth. She was four. What did Leigh expect? Four-year-olds get dirty. I'd be more worried if she were pristine every day. To me, dirt is a sign of fun. It's normal.
"And what's she been eating?" Leigh went on. "What did you have to eat, baby?" she asked Courtenay, in case I still wouldn't give her a straight answer.
"Candy," said Courtenay cautiously, glancing up at me.
"Candy!" cried Leigh. "Oh, Maggie. She's going to ruin her teeth before she gets to kindergarten."
"They're her baby teeth. She'll lose them even if they're cavity-free."
Leigh was determined to find fault with what I'd done. "Well, it's five o'clock. What about her dinner? Her appetite's probably ruined."
"I doubt it," I said. "She only ate one piece."
Leigh sighed heavily. She pulled Courtenay to her and gave her a hug. "Oh, baby." She rocked her back and forth.
I really love Courtie. And I love Leigh, too, I guess. After all, she'd been my stepmother for five years then, ever since I was eleven, and she'd seen my older brother, Mike, and me through some hard times. But Leigh and I had always clashed, especially over Courtenay. See, Leigh didn't quite trust me. We got off on the wrong foot and never seemed to get on the right one, at least not for long.
We had very different opinions about young children. I believe in letting them play and have fun and eat junk food every now and then and go to bed late if there's nothing important to get up for the next morning. But Leigh had overprotected Courtenay. She watched her like a hawk and practically fainted if so much as a granule of sugar went in her mouth or if she got in bed past eight o'clock. She was going to give the kid a complex.
I may get one myself. I mean, Leigh really did overreact to things. Here's how we got off on the wrong foot: I was ten years old the day we met, and after Leigh had given Mike and me each a present, she said brightly, "Well, why don't we take a walk and get to know each other?"
And I said, "No, thank you," because I'd promised my new friend Jane we would make doll clothes later that afternoon. A walk sounded like it might take up just enough time so that it would cut into the clothes-making, and I have this thing about breaking promises. But before I had a chance to explain that, Leigh began to look all hurt and resentful and suspicious. Six years later, even though we got along pretty well most of the time, that hurt and resentment and suspicion were always there, running under the surface of our relationship like a polluted current.
Furthermore, because Courtenay is Leigh's only natural child, Leigh used to be super- super-protective of her. I had never done a thing that had put Courtenay in any kind of danger, and she'd never had an accident worse than a skinned knee while I was taking care of her, but Leigh didn't trust me because of the candy and the grass stains and stuff. But really. What was Courtenay—a china doll or a child?
In a few days, Dad and Leigh were going away on their long-overdue honeymoon. They were leaving Mike and me in charge of Courtenay, but Leigh had fought long and hard to get someone older to stay with us for that week. She just didn't trust us. Luckily her mother, the unusual Mrs. Simon, was in Europe, because Mike and I would have died at the idea of having her stay with us. I mean, Mike would be in college in the fall, and I was a sophomore in high school.
So, against Leigh's better judgment, we won the right to take full care of Courtenay for a week. I was looking forward to it. I like dressing Courtenay and playing with her and taking her shopping. She's a neat little kid.
"Maggie?" Leigh's voice snapped me from my thoughts.
"Yeah?" I replied dully.
"I'm sorry, honey. Let's not argue. I'll clean Courtie up and start dinner. Why don't you do your homework?"
"Okay." I grinned at Courtie, who beamed back, and I gave Leigh a peck on the cheek, glad that all seemed forgiven. Then I went to my room, but not to do my homework. I could do it after dinner. I just wanted time to be alone with my thoughts.
I closed the door softly and lay down on my bed, resting against the throw pillows Leigh had helped me to make, and thought about my family, about Leigh and my real mother.
Mike and I have lived with Dad ever since my mom took off when I was seven. They got divorced a year later. I love my mom and I know she loves Mike and me. Of course, I haven't seen her in ages, but that's just because she's such a creative person, and creative people need space. At least, some of them do. Well, Mom seems to. She's too ... too ... I don't know what. Actually, I don't really remember her, which is interesting, considering she did live with us until I was seven. Anyway, she's just one of those people who has so much energy she has to be moving and going all the time. So she travels around the country and drops Mike and me a postcard every now and then. I wish I had her energy.
The last postcard she'd sent reached me a month ago. It was postmarked California and it said: "Dear Maggie, How are you? I'm fine. I have a job as a waitress now in Beeman's Café." That surprised me, because I'd thought my mother was in Michigan taking pottery classes. I'd been writing her there for the past three months. "Be good and do what Owen tells you. Love, Mom." (Owen is Dad.)
One ironic thing is that Mike and I are the spitting image of our mother (or so we've been told). I can't tell much from the few fuzzy black-and-white photos we have here and there. At any rate, we look nothing like Courtenay and not much like Dad. Courtenay has a pixie face, brown eyes, and tawny hair. Mike and I look as Irish as shamrocks, with red hair, blue eyes, and fair complexions. And I've got enough freckles on my body to share with half the world. We look like misfits when the rest of the family is around.
Anyway, Dad married Leigh five years ago after Leigh's disastrous first marriage ended with a divorce, and one year later, Courtenay was born. The reason Dad and Leigh were going on their honeymoon five years late was that they hadn't had a decent one after they'd been married—just a weekend at an inn in Vermont. They they'd rushed back to Mike and me and their jobs, and a year later, they'd had Courtenay.
I love Dad's and Leigh's jobs, especially Leigh's. Leigh illustrates children's books. She's pretty well known. She works right out of our house in Princeton, New Jersey. And she works hard. She even put Courtenay in a special school program so that she would have enough time each day to do her work.
We have a big house, and the room on the second floor that used to be the sewing room is now Leigh's studio. It has good light and enough space for her drawing boards and easels, her paints and inks, brushes and pens, boards and rulers.
My dad is in publishing. He commutes to New York City on the train every day. He's a big- time editor at a very successful company that publishes hardcover children's books and adult books. Dad is the publisher of the children's books. He knows Judy Blume and Maurice Sendak. Once he met Roald Dahl.
I guess it's because of Dad that Mike and I are such big readers. We always have been. Dad used to bring home bags full of children's books from his office when we were little. We couldn't get enough of them. Now he just brings them home for Courtenay, since Mike and I read adult books.
My brother is very smart and very funny. I've always been drawn to a sense of humor in people. And he's a good big brother. He let me follow him around when we were little. Now that we're older, we're just good pals. And we made a lot of the same friends after we moved from our old house on Herrontown Road when Mom and Dad split up. For instance, my boyfriend is David Jacobssen. He's a year older than I am. His twin sister, Martha, is my best friend. And Mike's best friend, Andrew de Christopher, is the older brother of Jane de Christopher, who is a good friend of Martha's and mine. We all kind of hang around together.
Knock, knock, knock.
"Come in," I called.
The door opened and Courtie bounced into my room and flung herself on my bed. "Dinner's ready, dinner's ready!" she announced.
"Already? Is Dad home?"
I'd been daydreaming longer than I thought. Courtie climbed on my back, and I gave her a piggyback ride into the dining room.
Late that night, Courtenay's wails shattered the silence, and I jerked awake. I hoped Leigh would get up soon. If she didn't, I would.
"Mommy! ... Mommy?"
I rolled out of bed and stumbled across my room to the door, not bothering to turn on a light. Courtenay was crying hard. She must have been either sick or hurt.
I thrust open the door to her room and switched on the Three Little Kittens lamp on her dresser.
"Courtie?" I asked softly.
She lay on her bed in a wild mess of sheets and blankets. Her hair was drenched with sweat.
I put my hand on her forehead. "Courtenay, what's wrong? Are you sick?" She felt warm but not feverish.
"It's back," she sobbed. "It's under my bed right now. Pull your feet up, Maggie. Pull your feet up."
I obeyed. "What's under the bed?"
"The red mitten."
Oh, no. Not that old nightmare. "The red mitten that snores?" I asked.
I gathered Courtenay in my arms and held her. "That's just a dream, a bad dream," I reminded her. Courtie hadn't dreamed about the red mitten that snores in months. We thought she'd finally outgrown it. "Remember what we said about bad dreams?"
"They're not real," replied Courtenay automatically, brushing her tears from her damp face. "But the red mitten that snores is down there. It's under my bed."
"No, it's not. I'll show you," I replied.
I was on my hands and knees with my head under Courtenay's bed when Leigh finally came in.
"Mommy!" cried Courtie. "It's back." Fresh tears started to fall.
I withdrew my head and looked up at Leigh. "The red mitten that snores," I said flatly.
"Oh, baby," murmured Leigh. She sat cross-legged in the middle of the bed and took Courtenay into her lap. She rocked her back and forth, back and forth. After a few moments, Leigh signaled me that Courtie was already falling asleep, so I tiptoed out of the room and back into my own bed.
I looked at my watch. Two-thirty. I really should go back to sleep soon or I'd be a basket case at school tomorrow, I thought, but I was avoiding nightmares of my own. I had them pretty often, more often than Courtenay did. I knew they weren't real, I knew they wouldn't hurt me, but they still scared me to death. Sometimes, if I fought sleep until my eyes were heavy and my head was fuzzy, I would fall into such an exhausted sleep that I would be too tired for nightmares. That was just what I did on the red-mitten night.CHAPTER 2
On Our Own
TWO MORNINGS LATER, DAD and Leigh left on their long-awaited honeymoon. They were spending it on the island of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. To get there, they had to drive to Newark Airport, park their car, take a plane to Miami, Florida, and then to the island of Saint Martin, and finally take a boat to Saint Bart's (as it's called). It was going to be a long trip, and Leigh said she'd probably be airsick or seasick or both.
Dad and Leigh left at six o'clock in the morning, so Mike and I were in charge of Courtenay from the time she woke up.
"I'll dress her this morning," I said to Mike, "and you start breakfast. We can switch chores every day."
I looked in Courtenay's closet and chose one of her new outfits—baggy lavender pants with cuffs at the ankles, and a pink-and-lavender striped sweatshirt.
"What shall we do with your hair today?" I asked Courtenay.
Courtenay has very pretty hair—thick and tawny, and just long enough for braids or ponytails.
"One big braid!" said Courtenay.
"Okay. Coming up."
Courtenay giggled. Then stopped. She tried to turn around and tried to look at me as I stood behind her, working on her hair.
"Face forward, Courtie," I told her. "Otherwise your braid will be crooked."
"But where're Mommy and Daddy?" she wanted to know.
"They've gone on a trip. Remember?"
"Yeah," said Courtenay uncertainly.
"And Mike and I are going to take care of you, right?"
By the time Courtenay and I came downstairs, Mike had breakfast ready. And what a breakfast! When he gets a chance to cook, he really goes to it. I hate to cook. My idea of cooking is opening a can of soup and defrosting frozen vegetables. Toast is about all I can manage for breakfast. But Mike had made pancakes and bacon, fresh orange juice, coffee for himself and me, and hot chocolate for Courtenay.
"Oh, yum-yum-yum!" she exclaimed. I felt the same way.
As we ate our breakfast, I began playing the Lost Game with Courtenay. "Okay, Courtie. Let's pretend."
"Goody," she said. "I'm lost, right?"
"Right. What's the first thing you do?"
"Look for a policeman."
"Yay! One point! And if you can't find a policeman, do you tell just any adult?"
"Yay! Another point. What do you look for instead?"
"Yay! Another point. How many is that?" I asked Mike.
"Three," he replied. "Okay, now for the big one. What's your phone number?"
Courtenay took a deep breath and began singing the song we'd taught her. "Five-one-nine-five-five-five-two-eight-three-six. That's my phone number, that's my phone number!" We had taught her how to use both a dial phone and a push-button phone.
"All right! That gets you five points, for a total of eight. Now, Jay," said Mike to an imaginary announcer, "tell our contestant what we have behind the curtain ... That's right, it's a new washer-dryer with a special blender attachment. A surprise package chosen especially for you, worth ... over one thousand dollars!"
The game went on. Mike and I ran through every thing we thought Courtenay should know about being on her own in the big, bad world: who to trust, who not to trust, what to do if somebody wanted to give her candy, touch her, take her for a ride....
And that was one of the big problems between Leigh and me. Leigh was incensed that I had started the Lost Game. She thought it would scare Courtenay, and all Leigh wanted to do was protect her.
"But I'm protecting her, too," I argued one day. "Did you see that TV show last night? The one about child abuse and missing kids? Every day little kids are stolen or molested or—"
"Maggie! Enough!" Leigh had exclaimed. "That kind of thing does not happen around here. Not in little Princeton. All we have to do is keep an eye on Courtenay, not scare her to death with foolish thoughts about strangers or getting lost. Now stop."
I didn't stop, though. I just didn't do it in front of Leigh anymore. But Leigh knew it went on anyway, and it made her pretty angry.
At that moment the phone rang. I answered it and my heart leaped. It was David!
"Listen," he said, "are you free tomorrow night? You want to go to a movie?"
"I'd love to. Let me see what Mike's doing." I covered the mouthpiece of the phone. "Mike?" I asked. "What are you doing tomorrow night?"
"Oh, Courtenay and I are going to sit around, play some poker, have a couple of beers, maybe smoke a good cigar—"
Excerpted from Missing Since Monday by Ann M. Martin. Copyright © 1986 Ann M. Martin. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Posted December 18, 2009
Missing since monday is about a 15 year old girl who, one day let her 4 year old step-sister get on the bus, but she didn't return. the little girl was missing! The police asked the bus driver, her principal, and her parents, and her step-mom, if they knew where she was. Nobody could find her at all! Her mom cried day and night, because her baby girl was missing, and she didnt want her to get hurt.
The 4 year old girl, and her sister had a very close bond. They also had a brother who was in high school. The little 4 year old was a step-child. The other two are not step-children, because they had different moms. Their dad got devorced to the 1st wife because they got in alot of fights. The step-mom is the missing childs mom.
When the little girl gets lost they set out a search party. The police and a lot of high school kids helped look for her. There was at least 150 kids to help. There were cops roaming the streets everyday to find her. There was nonstop looking for her for weeks, untill she was found with the dads 1st wife. (she smelled of wet dipers and rotted food.)
The importance about this book is that you need to always watch out for your kids. You need to watch them get on and off the bus, outside, or when your in any kind of building. You dont need to leave your kids anywhere unatended. If you do you'll need to call a babysitter. Make sure its someone you can trust if you do call a babysitter.
I once read a book that was like this, I cant remember perfectly what it was called, but i think it was called the stolen kid or something like that. It was about a teen who was in the woods and she got kiddnaped, it took a long time to find her. They found her at a dumpster half dead. They took her to a hospital and she lived, I read this book when i was in 4th grade. I really enjoyed reading this book, because its a mystery book. I've never really liked mystery stories, but I liked this one.
The only time i dont like is when the 4 year old gets lost. i dont like it because its really sad, and everyone was crying and they were sad to. The unique thing about this book is that it's the 1st one i've read in a while and i've really enjoyed it.
I dont think the author could have made it better. I think its fine the way it is. I would tell a lot of people about this book, and how good it is. A lot of people should read this book. I hope you will read it, because its a really good book.
0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 22, 2009
I think that Missing Since Monday by Ann M. Martin is a scary book. It has alot of scary parts in it. When Courtie(the little sister)disappears and is claimed to be kidnapped, I was devastated to know what happened. I think that they did a good job at making it scary and shocking. What I don't understand is how she kept getting those phone calls and didn't tell anyone. She didn't even tell the detectives. She just kept answering and talking to the guy. I think that was a pretty dumb part because she should have told when she got the first phone call. The ending was kind of rejoicing in a way to know that she wasn't hurt and the person was just getting revenge.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 27, 2008
Missing Since Monday is the best book I have ever read. Seriously it is so worth your while. I really like how it had the suspense and some what of drama. This book is really fantastic. I give it a 5 out of 5 stars. Excellent!!!!!!!!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 14, 2007
Posted May 23, 2005
This was a very suspenful, great flow, great overall, descriptive. it was one of the best books i ever read. i am glad all the others reviews gave this book ***** stars and the average was the same too. YOU WILL LOVE THIS BOOK! it isn't boring at all.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 16, 2005
Posted December 1, 2004
Missing Since Monday is a great book. It is a type if book that you will keep you thinking until you read what happens next. There are so many possibilities in this story. This is a psychological thriller that will keep you guessing till the end. If you love mystery book is this a definite goody. Even if you are not this book will have you reading it. I have recommended this book to may people that is how good it is. Ann M. Martin has made another great book. A great author at work. A great book for teens. Everybody should at least try this book to see if they like.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 16, 2004
Posted March 3, 2004
I read this book when I was in 5th or 6th grade. I cannot remember. I am now 18 years old...and I can still remember this book. It had a lasting effect you could say. It's a great book for kids. It teaches them something. It was rewarding to read it when I did. I think not many kids would understand it all, but I did. I think many kids would like this book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 23, 2003
Posted June 4, 2003
My book reveiw was on the book Missing Since Monday.I choose that book because I was so into it.It only took me three days to read it and it was 268 pages long I was surprised. In the book a girl named Maggies little sister got kidnapped on Monday before school.And they spend about five weeks looking for her.It was a really exciting and it made you wanna keep reading and reading.I really liked Missing Since Monday.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 16, 2003
Posted December 1, 2002
Well I was at the library withn my english class and i dont read books but this book was great! it was never boring or you could never stop reading the book!! I think that this book is a good book because it relates to me alot. I kind of new what the book was about but that did stop me from reading it. it was an exciting book :)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 5, 2002
Posted February 2, 2001
Posted February 2, 2001
Posted February 1, 2001
This book should be the best book ever. YOU MUST READ IT!!!!!!!!!!! If you don't, you'll be sorry.It's outstanding and only one of the best books in the world. you'll never stop reading it. So buy it and read it now!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 1, 2001
I think this is awesome if i were you i would have it delivered to my house today and you will help to know it is a touching story and its a book that the family will get close together me and teacher and classmates read it and we loved it please give it a shot.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 1, 2001