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Missing Girls

Missing Girls

3.0 2
by Lois Metzger

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Carrie Schmidt is a missing girl.
It’s the summer of 1967, and the newspapers are full of stories about “missing girls”—teenagers who run away, looking for freedom and thrills in New York City. Carrie Schmidt feels like she’s missing, too—missing from her own life. Ever since her mother died four years ago, it’s


Carrie Schmidt is a missing girl.
It’s the summer of 1967, and the newspapers are full of stories about “missing girls”—teenagers who run away, looking for freedom and thrills in New York City. Carrie Schmidt feels like she’s missing, too—missing from her own life. Ever since her mother died four years ago, it’s as if she’s been sleepwalking. Then Carrie meets Mona Brockner, who knows the secret of “lucid dreaming,” being awake inside your dreams. Their friendship is Carrie’s chance to find her mother, wake up—and step into her future.
* “Intense and complex, as satisfying as finding a misplaced treasure.” —SLJ, starred review

An Association of Jewish Libraries Notable Book

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this introspective but often convoluted novel set in 1967, Metzger (Ellen's Case) introduces two eighth-graders who feel as lost as the "missing girls" they hear about on the news. Ever since her mother's death four years ago, Carrie Schmidt has felt parts of her life slipping away. This year her father has taken a temporary job out of state, and she is living in her Austrian Jewish grandmother's small, dark house in another neighborhood in her native Queens. Memories of her mother are fading too quickly, coming back into focus only in Carrie's dreams. Carrie's desperation to make sense of these dreams draws her to Mona Brockner, an outcast at school, who claims that it is possible to stay awake during sleep. As Carrie spends more and more time at Mona's "picture-perfect" house, her desire to become one of the Brockners borders on obsession, even though the dark, disturbing currents of the Brockner household are immediately obvious to the reader. While the girls' discussions of dreams (which take up a good portion of the novel) are interesting in themselves, they feel tipped into the plot, not an organic part of the story. This is true also of tales about Carrie's family history, told by Carrie's grandmother, who survived nine concentration camps, and Angus, a visiting Scotsman who sheltered Carrie's then-teenage mother during WWII. The elements of this novel are full of promise, but, unfortunately, their combination doesn't add up. Ages 10-up. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
It's fall 1967, in a suburb of New York City and 13 year-old Carrie Schmidt has several difficult adjustments to make. Besides starting a new school and trying to make new friends, Carrie must adjust to living with Mutti, an Austrian Grandma with sometimes embarrassing immigrant ways, while her father works in Las Vegas for a year. What really makes her feel like a "missing girl," however are her confused, unresolved feelings about her mother, who died four years before. Learning about lucid dreaming from her new friend Mona, and listening to Mutti's memories of the Holocaust and her mother, helps Carrie understand her family and her own feelings better. This unusual, young adult novel would probably most to those who appreciate complex characterization and a psychological perspective.
VOYA - Sarah K. Herz
Eighth-grader Carrie Schmidt is miserable. Her father hasa one-year assignment out of town, so Carrie moves into her grandmother's apartment in Belle Heights, Queens. She knows no one at her new school, and she is embarrassed by her grandmother, Mutti, with her German accent and stories about the Holocaust. Worst of all, she has not adjusted to her mother's death four years ago. The novel weaves an intricate story about a young girl's lack of self-esteem-Carrie deliberately wears large clothes to hide her "full figure"; her anger at her family-she feels her father has abandoned her even though he calls every night; and her feeling of aloneness-she hates Mutti's dark, ugly apartment. Carrie feels like "the missing girls" she reads about in the newspapers; she is missing friends, family, and freedom. However, Carrie finds a friend at school, Mona, who introduces Carrie to the theory of "lucid dreaming." Mona helps Carrie interpret her recurring dream about her mother's death, and to accept Mutti's love and warmth. When Carrie listens to Mutti's Holocaust stories, she is in awe of Mutti's family life in Vienna before the Nazi invasion, her decision to send her only child on the Kindertransport to Scotland, and her escape from the death camps. The story of Mutti's journey makes Carrie recognize her family's courage, love, and determination. No longer a "missing girl," Carrie feels connected to her family. Teenage readers will identify with Carrie's anger, insecurities, and negative behaviors. Carrie's ability to change reminds readers that there are unlimited possibilities in our lives, and her emotional "ups and downs" illustrate family support under trying circumstances. This well-written book should provide healthy discussion among readers-it is a welcome addition to literature classrooms and libraries. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Broad general YA appeal, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
To quote KLIATT's May 1999 review of the hardcover edition: Carrie Schmidt, age 13, has come to live with her grandmother in Queens, NY. Ever since her mother died four years ago, Carrie has felt like one of the runaways who are in the news in this summer of 1967: a "missing girl," out of place, missing her mother, feeling like she's going through life in a dream. When she meets Mona, however, everything changes. Mona has a beautiful mother whom Carrie admires. She's completely unlike Carrie's grandmother, who has a heavy German accent and old-world ways...Carrie asks her grandmother to tell her about her experiences during the war—including Kristallnacht, escape from Vienna, capture, concentration camps, rats the size of cats—and how Carrie's mother, then 13, was sent away to safety in Scotland....Carrie gradually comes to understand what her grandmother has gone through. She also realizes that Mona's mother is cold, demanding, and more than a little crazy; in her own way, Mona is a "missing girl" too, missing the love and support she deserves. When the kind Scotsman who looked after Carrie's mother comes to visit them in Queens, Carrie learns more about her mother and comes to appreciate her new life... Carrie's grandmother's war time experiences are realistically detailed and often horrifying, and her mother's experience as a lonely war orphan living in Scotland is also entirely believable. Carrie herself is a sympathetic protagonist, struggling to come to terms with her grief over losing her mother and trying to fit into a new place. Her emotional ups and downs and difficult relationships with others are convincing and easy to empathize with, and the familybackground is fascinating. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 1999, Penguin Putnam/Puffin, 180p, 18cm, 98-18817, $5.99. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; May 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 3)
School Library Journal
Gr 7-9-Carrie is fascinated by the idea of missing girls, girls who disappear and never return. She isn't missing, but she feels alienated and alone, as if she were missing from her own life. Because her mother is dead and her father is away for a year, the eighth grader has had to leave her home and friends to live with her immigrant grandmother. As Carrie attempts to find herself, she and her new friend Mona explore "lucid dreaming," the state of being awake or aware within a dream and controlling it. Carrie listens to her grandmother's stories of being an Austrian Jew during the Nazi occupation, and of sending Carrie's mother to Scotland for safety during the war. The girl tries to use these stories and her dreams to reconnect with her dead mother. She attaches herself to and is hurtfully rejected by Mona's mother, a self-centered psychologist. Finally forced to reconnect with her own family, she discovers that she is not "missing" anymore. Metzger uses the 1967 setting and the Vietnam War to focus on Carrie's grandmother's and mother's wartime ordeals a generation earlier, but the setting itself is not crucial to the story. The sympathetic development of the teenage characters contrasts markedly to the uncaring, cold roles of Mona's parents and the inability of Carrie's father and grandmother to reach through Carrie's sense of isolation. Like Metzger's Barry's Sister (1992) and Ellen's Case (1995, both Atheneum), this novel is intense and complex, and it is as satisfying as finding a misplaced treasure.-Janet Hilbun, formerly at Sam Houston Middle School, Garland, TX
Molly E. Rauch
...[R]ich and moving....nuanced prose....[T]hrough connections with ...fully realized characters...Carrie learns to reconcile herself to her imperfections.
The New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
A girl's interest in family history overlaps a coming-of-age story about her vestigial understanding of her mother after death, and her own awareness of self and place in the world.

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.74(w) x 7.46(h) x 0.52(d)
Age Range:
12 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Lois Metzger was born in Queens and has always written for young adults. Her novels include the acclaimed A Trick of the Light and Change Places with Me. She has also written two nonfiction books about the Holocaust and has edited five anthologies. Her short stories have appeared in collections all over the world; her writing has also appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, and The Huffington Post

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Missing Girls 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thouhgt this book would be interesting but it really isn't. The theme is very slow and it has no point to reading. I wasn't awake half of the story becasue I sleep through the whole book, I really wouldn't recommend this book to anyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Missing Girls' is a spectacular book. To me this is the best book I have read this year. It is about a thirteen year old girl named Carrie. She lives in Spruce Hill,Queens. Her father had to go away for handling policy for boxers,in Las Vagas for a year. Carrie was staying with her grandmother, Mutti,or 'mommy' in German. This book is filled with dreams, memories, and haunting tales. You will want to keep surging through the pages. 'Missing Girls' can sweep you off your feet with all the details. For example Lois Metzger writes,' Mrs. Brockner came home wearing a chic red-and-white paisley linen dress and a wide-brimmed hat, heard from Mona how Carrie had helped her all afternoon, and invited-no, insisted-that Carrie stayed for dinner.' It was very descriptive and you feel like you are watching this book on a T.V. It is a story that all readers can relate to somehow. I would recommend this book to anyone, anyone over thirteen years old. Girls and boys would like this book. Lois Metzger wrote this book very well, I do not think she could have written this book any better than she did. As good as this book was it makes me want to read another book written by her.