Three Days

Three Days

3.7 22
by Donna Jo Napoli
     
 

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While driving in the Italian countryside, eleven-year-old Jackie's father suddenly collapses at the wheel. Fear for her father's life quickly turns to terror when two Italian men kidnap her and drive to their remote home in the countryside.  Jackie soon discovers that her captors are actually a family, plagued by a mysterious secret. Award-winning novelist

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Overview

While driving in the Italian countryside, eleven-year-old Jackie's father suddenly collapses at the wheel. Fear for her father's life quickly turns to terror when two Italian men kidnap her and drive to their remote home in the countryside.  Jackie soon discovers that her captors are actually a family, plagued by a mysterious secret. Award-winning novelist Donna Jo Napoli has created a haunting thriller that gives life to Jackie's utter desperation and determination to escape.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Nightmarish scenes...a suspenseful reading experience." -School Library Journal

"Taut and suspenseful...the present-tense narration gives it a you-are-there immediacy."-The Horn Book

Children's Literature
Jackie, eleven-years-old, accompanies her father on his business trip to Italy. At first the journey is almost magical—new foods, new sights, a musical language, and—best of all—time alone with Dad. But the magic turns to nightmare when, returning to their hotel, Jackie's father suddenly drives their rental car off the road and collapses. Jackie tries to rouse her parent, whose hands and forehead feel cooler and cooler, then frantically summons help from passing cars. But no one will stop until a small white car with a young and older man pull up. Jackie is sure they are going for help so she gets in their car and they speed away, stopping only to toss her passport, riffled from her father's body, into a river. Where do they take her? To an isolated, whitewashed house surrounded by vineyards and sea. The men put the frightened child into the care of Claudia, a kind but trouble-worn woman. Jackie cannot speak Italian;she must figure out her situation by interpreting looks and gestures passed within this family. It is during a walk with the motherly woman that Jackie discovers a graveyard with the tombstone of a ten-year-old girl—Claudia's daughter. Do the men intend for Jackie to be the dead child's replacement? Obviously, the author knows Italy well. Napoli's book is beautifully crafted, and her fine writing results in a downright chilling story. Do encourage your child or student to read it, but with supervision and a debriefing time afterward. 2001, Dutton Children's Books, $15.99. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer:Judy Crowder
VOYA
This book is for a wide range of ages because it is easy to read but still exciting. Although I was frustrated by the lack of closure when Claudia sent Jackie off at the end, I realized that her action was not the important issue in the story. Much of Three Days takes place in Jackie's thoughts, and, in my opinion, her thoughts and feelings were resolved in the end, giving the book a satisfying finish. VOYA CODES: 2Q 4P M J (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2001, Dutton, 176p, $15.99. Ages 12 to 15. Reviewer: Deana Rutherford, Teen Reviewer SOURCE: VOYA, August 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 3)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Eleven-year-old Jackie accompanies her father on a business trip to Italy. While driving to their hotel after dinner, he suffers an apparent heart attack but manages to pull over before dying. Nightmarish scenes follow when she is unable to get any help from passing motorists. Finally, a man and his grown son, Francesco, stop and take Jackie to the remote countryside hours away, where they live and force her to stay. Three days pass during which readers experience Jackie's fear, resourcefulness, courage, gradual acceptance of her father's death, and confusion over her fond feelings toward Francesco's sympathetic sister, Claudia. Ultimately, the woman helps Jackie escape by putting her on a train back to her mother. Safety tips are seamlessly incorporated into this action-packed book. Readers will admire Jackie's survival sense. She is observant, analytical, always looking for a way out of this frightening situation. Since her Italian captors speak no English, the first-person, nearly dialogue-free narration makes Jackie's isolation and confusion more immediate. Characterization is more complex than in most kidnapping tales, with the Italian family taking these drastic actions because they are dealing in an irrational way with the recent death of Claudia's daughter. Pair this story with James Duffy's Missing (Scribner's, 1988; o.p.) and Willo Davis Roberts's Hostage (Atheneum, 2000) for a suspenseful reading experience.-B. Allison Gray, South Country Library, Bellport, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Eleven-year-old Jackie is enjoying mightily her father-daughter trip to Italy-until her father suffers a heart attack while driving back to their hotel one evening. As if this is not terrifying enough, when a pair of men pull over to help (she thinks), they instead kidnap her and take her to their house in the Calabrian countryside-but why? Once there, Jackie meets Claudia, a kind but mysteriously sad woman who seems to want her to be happy there. Napoli's ("Albert", p. 263, etc.) choice of a first-person, present-tense narration is particularly effective here; it isolates the reader in Jackie's reality just as much as Jackie herself is isolated without recourse in a place where she cannot even understand the language. She emerges as a perfectly ordinary child who wants nothing more than to return home to her mother, but whose desperate need for any security at all within her bizarre circumstances causes her to cling to the only thing that is familiar now, her captors. Jackie's situation is highly compelling, but the narrative motor that drives it is just as highly contrived: it turns out that Claudia has recently lost her own daughter, and the two men, her father and brother, have decided to kidnap Jackie as a replacement. While perhaps emotionally convincing within the terms of the story, it nevertheless strains credulity to the limit in every other way. Still, if readers are sufficiently grabbed by Jackie's ingenuous voice and her remarkable predicament, they may be willing to forgive the contrivance for the experience. "(Fiction. 9-12)"

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142500255
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
07/14/2003
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
1,182,260
Product dimensions:
5.13(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Nightmarish scenes...a suspenseful reading experience." -School Library Journal

"Taut and suspenseful...the present-tense narration gives it a you-are-there immediacy."-The Horn Book

Meet the Author

Donna Jo Napoli is the author of many books for children and young adults includingThe Magic Circle, Zel, and Stones in Water. She has won numerous awards, including the Golden Kite Award and the Sydney Taylor Award for Stones in Water. She lives in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.

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