Wake Up Missing

Wake Up Missing

3.6 5
by Kate Messner

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Four kids . . .
Two weeks in the Florida Everglades . . .
One top-secret science experiment that could change them and the world as they know it . . .

Meet Quentin, a middle-school football star from Chicago; Sarah, a hockey player from Upstate New York; Ben, a horse lover from the Pacific Northwest; and Cat, an artistic bird watcher from…  See more details below


Four kids . . .
Two weeks in the Florida Everglades . . .
One top-secret science experiment that could change them and the world as they know it . . .

Meet Quentin, a middle-school football star from Chicago; Sarah, a hockey player from Upstate New York; Ben, a horse lover from the Pacific Northwest; and Cat, an artistic bird watcher from California.

The four have little in common except the head injuries that landed them in an elite brain-science center in the wild swamps of Florida. It's known as the best clinic in the world and promises to return their lives to normal, but as days pass, the kids begin to notice strange side effects and unexplained changes.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Emily B. Cook
Twelve-year-old Catherine “Cat” Grayson thinks she is being admitted to a highly reputable, exclusive treatment center in the Florida Everglades to help her recover from a severe concussion. Away from her family, and nervous to be so far from her home, Cat quickly befriends Quentin, Sarah and Ben, who are all there to benefit from the International Center for Advanced Neurology’s (I-CAN) cutting edge light therapy and oxygen treatments. Cat quickly realizes that I-CAN is not what it seems and suspects that experimental DNA infusions are being conducted on the patients. Overhearing conversations between the clinic’s head physicians, Drs. Ames and Gunther, and witnessing odd personality changes in some of the other patients at the clinic, Sarah brings her concerns to the others. The kids believe Sarah when they witness the changes in Trent, a fun-loving boy who had become close to Sarah and now appears to have had a personality transplant—and the disappearance of Kaylee, a concussion patient who has not been seen for days. The four friends band together and seek the help of Sawgrass Molly, a local air boat captain who transports patients to and from the island, to plan their escape. When their plan goes awry, a thrilling adventure ensues, leaving the kids to use their wits to escape from the doctors and uncover their top-secret plan, securing the evidence to bring them to justice. The story is entertaining enough for a middle schooler, but there are a few loopholes in the plot that are a bit far-fetched. Even so, the story moves at a quick pace, has enough intrigue, and packs enough of a punch that most early teens will find it a fun read. Reviewer: Emily B. Cook; Ages 10 to 14.
Publishers Weekly
When 12-year-old Cat Grayson is sent to the International Center for Advanced Neurology (I-CAN), an elite clinic specializing in head injuries, she hopes their revolutionary techniques will cure her post-concussion trauma. Instead, she discovers a diabolical plot to use the young patients at the clinic as test subjects in an attempt to recreate some of the greatest scientists of all time. Rather than have their minds overwritten with those of Thomas Edison, Marie Curie, Robert Oppenheimer, and others, Cat and her new friends flee I-CAN, attempting to elude their erstwhile captors in the Everglades as they seek help. But with killers and alligators at their heels, they have to rely on their own ingenuity—and the talents of a resurrected genius. Messner (Hide and Seek) delivers an exciting middle-grade thriller inspired by cutting-edge science and historical events, drawing on the Manhattan Project and Tuskegee experiments to weave something new and interesting. Sadly, the characterizations pale in comparison to the atmospheric setting and tense story line. Ages 10–14. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Sept.)
author of The Missing and the Shadow Children seri Margaret Peterson Haddix

Kate Messner combines a fascinating concept with page-turning suspense . . . Reading this book is like a wild roller-coaster ride through the Florida swamps.
Library Media Connection

Middle grade readers seeking adventure stories will enjoy this title. The topics of gene therapy and bioethics provide the reader with food for thought long after the book ends.
Booklist on The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z.

Laced with humor and heart . . . an insightful and affecting read.
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—Cat Grayson hopes that checking into the International Center for Advanced Neurology, a prestigious clinic in an isolated section of the Florida Everglades, will help fix the headaches and memory issues that have plagued her since she suffered a concussion. Her first sign that something is amiss, though, is that the resortlike clinic houses only five other teenage patients. After overhearing a suspicious conversation and snooping through some files, Cat and her new friends discover that I-CAN's doctors are secretly using gene therapies to turn teenagers into clones of famous scientists, possibly for nefarious purposes. A series of narrow getaways ensues as the group attempts to flee to safety. The simple language and high-interest plot, reminiscent of Lois Duncan's Down a Dark Hall (Little, Brown, 1974), make this book accessible to reluctant or hi/lo readers. However, the pacing is too slow for a thriller and the characters act older than their stated years (12 to 14). Medical inaccuracies are distracting-traumatic brain injuries are as unlikely to be cured in a week as patients' charts are to be easily found and understood-and the kids' investigations rely too much on documents that just happen to be left visible on office computers. An author's note attempts to explain the underlying science, but long URLs are sloppily presented. Supplement this title with more sophisticated YA biomedical thrillers like Nancy Werlin's Double Helix (Peniguin, 2004) or Lydia Kang's Control (Dial, 2013).—Jill Ratzan, I. L. Peretz Community Jewish School, Somerset, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
Six middle schoolers + mad scientists + Everglades = adventure. Cat, along with five other children who have suffered head injuries, goes to what is billed as the pre-eminent neurological center in the world, the International Center for Advanced Neurology, located in the Everglades. At first, she receives excellent care, but she soon overhears an ominous conversation that leads to her discovery of the awful truth: The terrible Dr. Ames and his colleague intend to implant the children with the DNA of long-dead scientists, including Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Marie Curie and even Leonardo da Vinci. Worse, they learn that Trent, who has already received a transplant, has virtually become Thomas Edison. Trent not only has Edison's DNA, he has Edison's century-old memories and speech patterns. Cat and her friends seize an opportunity to escape, relying on Trent's technical expertise and "inherited" memory to evade the bad guys. As she outlines in her author's note, Messner follows good science in her descriptions of head-injury treatment; she also gives teachers opportunities to explore the differences between hereditary and acquired characteristics in her more fictional genetic "science." Her characterizations are solid and age-appropriate; Trent, as young Thomas Edison still avidly working on alternating currents, supplies some laughs. With plenty of thrills, friendship, some humor, intrigue and an easy good-guys/bad-guys escape plot, young readers will find lots of fun here. (Science fiction. 10-14)

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Product Details

Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
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File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

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Wake Up Missing 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a young adult who is an avid reader. I enjoyed the ideas Kate Messner played with throughout WAKE UP MISSING, such as the genetic engineering. Her writing style was pleasant but the story plot seemed far to fast for reality. The main characters, Cat, Sarah, Quentin, and Ben were intriguing but the friendship that grows between them was also quickly developed. All in all: a fair book and an easy read with interesting ideas.
Anonymous 7 months ago
I am a reader who usually only likes realistic fiction, but i really enjoyed wake up missing. It is desribed as science fiction but i still loved it. I heard about this book in a stone soup magazine book review and it sounded very interesting to me. 12 year old cat gets a conccussion from falling out of a tree so her parents send her to i can. I can is a clinic where kids with conccussions get treated so they go back to normal , but after a few days in the clinic in florida, cat discovers that i can is'nt what it seems and her findings put her and the other patients in danger. Wake up missing is really good and you should so read it!!!! B&n, though described it terribly. It has nothing to do with ice skating. I thing the are confusing ut with sugar and ice which is another book by kate messner.
CrazyForNewBooks More than 1 year ago
What a great book! Cat has an accident, suffers a concussion, and is never the same again. In an effort to stop the debilitating headaches, her parents take her to a facility in the Everglades where doctors are having great success in treating other children with concussion symptoms. Once at the facility Cat meets the other patients and hears rumors of two more who are further along in treatment, but whose "progress" is suspect. As her treatments begin she is amazed at the success, and relatively quickly begins to feel hope that she may be able to return to her life and "herself". But as with any good mystery, things soon begin to take a turn for the worse, and Cat and her new friends discover that this panacea is definitely not what it seems. An interesting plot leaves you thinking "What if?"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is good but it is NOT about figure skating...