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The Vanishings (Left Behind: The Kids Series #1)

The Vanishings (Left Behind: The Kids Series #1)

4.6 97
by Jerry B. Jenkins, Tim LaHaye

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This series is based on the best-selling adult Left Behind series. Readers will see the Rapture and Tribulation through the eyes of four kids who have been left behind.


This series is based on the best-selling adult Left Behind series. Readers will see the Rapture and Tribulation through the eyes of four kids who have been left behind.

Product Details

Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date:
Left Behind: The Kids Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.00(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.60(d)
750L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Judd— The Runaway

Judd Thompson Jr. had always hated having the same name as his father. Until now.

Every time the phone rang and someone asked for Judd, it was "Which one? Big Judd or Little Judd?" The funny thing was, Little Judd was already taller than his father. He had just gotten his driver's license, and the whiskers on his chin formed a thin goatee. He was tired of being called Junior, and if he were never called Little Judd again for the rest of his life, it would be too soon.

But now, for once, being Judd Thompson Jr. was working in Judd's favor.

This break was meant to be, Judd decided. After days of fighting with his parents about where he was going, who he was with, what he was doing, and how late he would be in, he had just happened to be home one afternoon. And his mother picked that day to ask him to bring in the mail. If that didn't prove this was meant to be, Judd didn't know what did.

Judd sighed loudly at his mother's request. She said he acted like any small chore or favor was the biggest burden in the world. That was exactly how he felt. He didn't want to be told to do anything.

"Why can't you get it?" he asked her.

"Because I asked you to," she said.

"Why do I have to do everything?"

"Would you like to compare what you do around here with what I do?" she asked, and that began the usual argument. Only when his mother threatened to ground him did he stomp out to the mailbox. He was glad he did.

On the way back to the house, idly flipping through catalogs and letters and magazines, he had found it—an envelope addressed to him. It was clearly a mistake—obviously intended for his father. He knew thatas soon as he saw it. It was business mail. He didn't recognize the return address.

Just to be ornery, he slipped it inside his jacket and gave the rest of the mail to his mother. Well, he didn't actually give it to her. He tossed it onto the kitchen table in front of her, and half of it slid to the floor. He headed to his room.

"Just a minute, young man," she said, using another of his least favorite names. "Get back here and give me this mail properly."

"In a minute," he said, jogging up the steps.

"Oh, never mind," she said. "By the time you get back here, I'll have it picked up, read, and answered."

"You're welcome!" he hollered.

"A job not finished is not worthy of a thank-you," she said. "But thanks anyway."

Judd took off his jacket, cranked up his music, and lay on his bed, opening the envelope. Onto his chest dropped a credit card in his name, Judd Thompson Jr. A sticker on it told him to call a toll-free number and answer a few questions so he could begin using the card. The letter told him they had honored his request. He could spend tens of thousands of dollars using that card alone.

Judd couldn't believe his luck. He dialed the number and was asked his mother's maiden name and his date of birth. He knew enough to use his grandmother's maiden name and his father's birthday. This was, after all, really his father's card, wrong name or not. The automated voice told Judd he could begin using the card immediately.

It was then that he planned his escape.

Judd felt desperate to get away. He wasn't sure what had happened or why, but he was sure his family was the problem.

Judd's father owned a business in Chicago and was wealthy. His mother had never had to work outside the home. Judd's little brother and sister, nine-year-old twins Marc and Marcie, were young enough to stay out of his hair. They were OK, he guessed.

Marc's and Marcie's rooms were full of trophies from church, the same as Judd's had once been. He had really been into that stuff, memorizing Bible verses, going to camp every summer, all that.

But when Judd had gone from the junior high to the senior high youth group at New Hope Village Church in Mount Prospect, Illinois, he seemed to lose interest overnight. He used to invite his friends to church and youth group. Now he was embarrassed to say his parents made him go.

Judd felt he had outgrown church. It had been OK when he was a kid, but now nobody wanted to dress like he did, listen to his kind of music, or have a little fun. At school he hung with kids who got to make their own decisions and do what they wanted to do. That was all he wanted. A little freedom.

Even though they could afford it, Judd's parents refused to buy him his own car. How many other high school juniors still rode the bus to school? When Judd did get to drive one of his parents' cars, one of them told him where he could go, whom he could go with, what he could do, and when he had to be back.

If only his parents knew what he was doing when they thought he was just out with the guys," Judd thought. How he hated his curfew, his parents' constant watch over his schoolwork, their criticizing his hair, his clothes, and his friends.

Worst of all, he was grounded if he didn't get up for Sunday school and church every Sunday. Just the Sunday before, he had put up such a fuss that his mother had come into his room and sat on his bed. "Don't you love Jesus anymore?" she asked.

What a stupid question, Judd thought. He didn't remember ever really loving Jesus. Oh, he had liked all the stories and knew a lot of verses. But loving Jesus? Loving God? That was for little kids and old ladies. But what could he say to his mother?

"If you want the truth, I only go to church so I can go out on weekends and use the car."

That was clearly not what she had wanted to hear. "All right then, just forget it!" she said.

"I can stay home from church?"

"If you don't want to go anywhere for a week."

Judd swore under his breath. It was a good thing his mother hadn't heard that. He'd have been grounded for life.

In Sunday school, Judd copped an attitude. He wore clothes his parents only barely approved of, and he stayed as far away as possible from the "good" kids. What losers! They never had any, fun. Judd didn't smile, didn't carry a Bible, didn't look at the teacher, didn't say anything. When the teacher asked his opinion of something, he shrugged. He wanted everyone to know he was there only because he had to be.

In church, he slouched when his father wasn't looking. He wanted to burrow within himself and just make it through to the end of the service. He didn't sing along, he didn't bow his head during prayer, he didn't shut his eyes. No one had ever said those were rules; Judd was simply trying to be different from everyone else. He was way too cool for this stuff.

As usual, Pastor Vernon Billings got off on his kick about what he called the Rapture. "Someday," he said, "Jesus will return to take his followers to heaven. Those who have received him will disappear in the time it takes to blink your eye. We will disappear right in front of disbelieving people. Won't that be a great day for us and a horrifying one for them?"

The kindly old pastor talked about how important it was for everyone to be sure of his own standing before God and to think and pray about friends and loved ones who might not be ready. Judd's little secret was that he had never really believed any of that.

He'd had enough chances. At vacation Bible school, his friends had prayed and received Christ. He was embarrassed. He told them he had already done that at home. At camp a few years later, Judd felt guilty and sinful when a young speaker talked about church kids who weren't really Christian believers. He had wanted to go forward; he really had. But he had also just been named Camper of the Week for memorizing a bunch of Bible verses and being the fastest to look up some others...

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The Vanishings 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 97 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldnt stop reading it. It is a good christian read. I totes recomend it. I first heard about the series from my sister who heard it from her friend. So i rushed to my school library and amazingly they had all 40 books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was an 'Ok' book because in the beginning it was boing. It told about all of their lives and stuff like that. In the middle and the end of the book it became a whole lot better. I reccomend this book and please keep reading the sequels (etc.).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I want to read it and watch the new movie too but my mom says im to young for petes sake!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I toads love this book. It is soooo good! It is about 4 kids who are "left behind". Jesus comes down and judges the living and dead. All the good people go with Him. These 4 kids are left behind without parents. Some parents of theirs are in Hevan while others......um...sorry......NO SPOILS!!! It is a great book! Espically for Christians, but anybody can read it. I highly encourage you to read it! Enjoy!!! :-) ~ B
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow! This book is great! I have been looking for a Christan book series that my school has and I finally found one. This is written in 2004 which is past the publication date so I know how the series turns out. The coolest part of this series is the fact that if you comb through the Bible you can find all the things they talk about. Like the seven seals. Those explanations are in Revolation. So if you decide to read these books, stick with them!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This whole series is great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cfte .
KMarkovich More than 1 year ago
What a riveting novel for young people (teens and late elementary). It is the story of four teens – Judd, the runaway who has hopped on a plane for London; Vicki, the rebel, whose entire family has become changed and become Christians but she refuses; Lionel, the liar, who has told his family he is a Christian when he is not; and Ryan, the skeptic, whose parents both die in crashes or events after the disappearance of so many people. All 4 young people have heard the good news of Christ – and have refused it. Now, their world has changed. What will happen to them? Do they realize they all have a connection of sorts? Most of the book deals with who they are and what happened to them when they realized their families were missing, leading up for the next book in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kristen4mk More than 1 year ago
Based on the best-selling Left Behind series for adults, this youth fiction book tells the story of four teens (Judd, Vicki, Lionel, & Ryan) in the suburb of Mount Prospect, Illinois. They are connected in ways they won't begin to understand until later in the series, but for this book they are all greatly impacted by the disappearances of millions around the globe. They soon find out their loved ones have been "raptured" - as believers in Jesus, they were taken to heaven in a flash. Judd, Vicki, and Lionel's families are all gone, as they were the only ones who chose a different path; Ryan's parents die as a result of the disappearances, and he is actually orphaned. This is a strong beginning to the "Young Trib Force" books and I can easily recommend it for your pre-teens and teens.
EmilyAnneK17 More than 1 year ago
The Vanishings is the introduction to the kids Left Behind Series by Lahaye and Jenkins. This book introduces four teens—Judd, Viki, Lionel, and Ryan—and gives a brief background of each. Then it throws them, family-less, into the aftermath of the rapture. The short book progresses as may be expected with few surprises, following along with the adult series and sometimes interacting with those adults. It is an interesting introduction to the series, promising much in the following dozens of books. The first chapter is a little slow and has more a feel of narration than of being part of the character, but it gets better as the book progresses. The book was written for kids and teens and is definitely appropriate for them. Drugs, disobedience, lies, and other sins are mentioned several times and even done by the main characters, but not described in detail. However, the authors only made the characters do these sins to prove the teens are sinful. Also, the authors go to great lengths to show that none of the kids, despite two of the them growing up in Christian homes, never actually accepted Christ as their Savior—they did not lose their salvation by rebelling or any other means. Overall, The Vanishings was an interesting book, appropriate for kids.
BeachNana8 More than 1 year ago
In this book four kids: Judd (the runaway), Vicki (the rebel), Lionel (the liar), and Ryan (the skeptic), who had heard about Jesus through their parents, siblings, and church found themselves left behind when believers were suddenly taken to heaven. Judd was actually running away from home on a plane to Europe when this event took place. Fortunately for him, the pilot was still in the plane after the “rapture” so the plane could safely return. Vicki lived in a trailer park and was considered trash by other kids. Although her parents and little sister became Christians when they heard an evangelist speak about Jesus with confidence and authority, Vicki thought it was all superstitious mumbo jumbo. Lionel's parents thought he was a Christian, but neither his uncle nor Lionel believed. That night Lionel fell asleep in the basement with his uncle. When the phone rang and rang in the morning, Lionel figured he’d be a hero who would wake up his family. But surprise! No one was there! Ryan figured anything was OK as long as you didn’t get caught. Someday he’d go to church to see what it was about. But meanwhile he just slept as usual and ignored the sound of sirens. Ultimately the four would meet at church and figure out what to do. It’s an interesting and exciting story for kids to read and figure out which person most resembles them. Is it one of the four or one of the missing siblings?
Louisa_May More than 1 year ago
Great book!  I've read the actual Left Behind series and wanted to preview this series for my kids before having them read it.  The book recommendation is for ages 10-14, however, I really feel the recommendation should be for 13 and up.  Some more mature issues are dealt with in the book that my 10 year olds wouldn't be ready for--drugs, alcohol, running away, stealing, etc.  I really liked that four very different kids are featured in the book--3 boys and a girl (a liar, a skeptic, etc.)  The story flowed quickly, the plot was great, and the gospel message is clear.  Definitely recommend for the teenager in your life!
J4Life5 More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in a series that is based on the best-selling adult Left Behind series. The difference is that readers will see the Rapture and Tribulation through the eyes of four kids who have been left behind. I'm a big fan of the Left Behind series and was interested to read this one geared for kids. I thought it was really, really good. I was impressed with how Jenkins and LaHaye were able to take the ideas from Left Behind and change their writing style to make it interesting and engaging for teen readers. I think they also did a great job with capturing teen characters that readers can see themselves in. I continually struggle with finding books for teens that are engaging and will make them want to read for recreation in the midst of all the required reading they do for school. This book is a very quick read that would fit easily in a weekend afternoon, or perhaps over several nights during the school week. I think it is interesting enough to hold the attention of even the most resistant reader. If you are looking for a great end times book for teens, this one fits the bill!
samanthas9498 More than 1 year ago
Left Behind is the bestselling series of 16 books by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye dealing with the end times, the Rapture, tribulation. What few do not know is there is also a series for teens and preteens, "The Kids" version. (I would not recommend this series for kids under 10, simply due to the intense nature of the series. There is nothing offensive, except obviously very-real violence.) This series of 40 books deal with exactly what the adult series did, except from the point of view of teenagers. Each book is about 150 pages, and each ending flows right into the next book with non-stop action. --- Judd Thompson Jr. - The Runaway. Typical 16 year-old Judd is sick and tired of everything his mom asks him to do. The simplest tasks will set off a debate. After a credit card company mistakenly puts Judd Jr's name on Judd Sr.'s (Judd's father) credit card, Judd realizes he can spend thousands of dollars on this little card. Angry at his parents for bossing him around and for making him go to church, Judd runs away - both from his family, and symbolically, Jesus. As a child, he had never actually accepted Christ into his heart, but he had memorized tons of verses and stories. By himself on a plane to London (with Hattie and Rayford Steele from the adult Left Behind series), he begins smirking about how grown up he is and how "this will show them." Vicki Byrne - The Rebel. 14 year old redhead Vicki was the rocker type - short clothes, leather, jewelry and heavy makeup, tough. Growing up in a trailer park, followed by the constant "trailer trash" stereotype - Vicki felt the need to be rough and tough. Two years ago, her party-parents had a drastic change in their lives - they accepted Christ - and she wanted nothing to do with it. Lionel Washington - The Liar. 13 year old African-American Lionel is growing up in a rich part of town, causing ridicule from his cousins who claim he's "rich" and "white" now. Lionel loves his parents, but he, and his uncle, have a secret; despite the family church history, he and his uncle are not Christians. Lionel is in no way proud of his secret, and unlike Judd, feels horribly guilty. Ryan Daley - The Skeptic. Best friend of Raymie Steele, 12 year old Ryan was my favorite character of Left Behind: The Kids series. (until Conrad came into view around book 12) He is the only one who had never grown up in a Christian household. --- Then the Rapture happens. Reading the Rapture, specifically from the view of Judd, gives me chills. I could not imagine something so horrific as realizing you've been left behind - especially if you grew up in a strong Christian household, and every single person close to you was raptured. Judd, Vicki, and Lionel's whole family (and most of their friends) were raptured. Ryan's parents both die in the midst of the chaos. There is really nothing more to the book than their pre-rapture lives, the Rapture, and the immediate aftermath, most of the action starts in future novels. Being a short book, I would HIGHLY recommend buying/loaning at least 5 books of the series at once. The writing is nothing really unique (throughout the whole series), even a little too bland and simple, but I didn't really mind this. Background plots (and characters) are from the adult Left Behind series, so it would be interesting for an adult and teen to read them simultaneously.  I read all the books up until about 35-ish. My library didn't have 2 of the books, and this isn't really a series where you want to skip a book, although each book does catch you up with what previously happened. When I finally figured out how to transfer books, months had passed and my memory was fuzzy exactly which book I last read. Now, rereading The Vanishings makes me want to reread the series again and see how it ends! But, I won't be able to reread the series without reading the whole series again...so... Warning: You will not be able to put them down. ALSO: A remake of the adult Left Behind movies is coming out this year!
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
The Vanishings grabs the reader's attention right off. I thought it was a good book that could relate with teenagers. A good way to show them how they should live and become close to God before the end begins. 4 1/2 stars. 
rlighthouse More than 1 year ago
Good Book! I read the adult Left Behind series a few years ago and decided to read the kids series.  I recognized and remembered a lot of the same characters from the adult series but the authors were able to put a different spin on so that the main characters were the kids.  The story followed 4 different kids in the weeks/days/hours leading up to the Rapture and the chaos that happened immediately after.
AnotherBibliophile More than 1 year ago
Excellent, Exciting; and So Well Written! So well-written! This is a compelling series; it is so realistic and chilling. It spurs us to make sure we are right with God. The book ties in with the original Left Behind series, but stands on its own. The descriptions of the characters and action pull me right into the story. This is a short, easy to read YA book. Even for me, not so young, it grabs the interest. Be aware, there are cliffhangers at the end of each book to get us to read the next one in the series. It works for me!
dhiggins4 More than 1 year ago
This was a very interesting book. This book revolves around teenagers Judd, Ryan, Vicki and Lionel. The end times are coming and these teenagers are warned but do they listen? They are trying to find answers to their questions. This book was written for older children/young adults but I believe this would be a great book for even adults especially those curious about the end times. I would recommend this book to everyone!
thecraftyhome1 More than 1 year ago
The Vanishings is the first book in the Left Behind the Kids series based on the best selling book series Left Behind. We meet four different kids who all were exposed to the truth but rejected it for one reason or another. When the rapture happens most of them know exactly what it was and go searching for answers. They all end up at the same church that is prominent in the Left Behind series.  This is a great version of this series for your middle grade/high school age children. It was a good read and a great beginning to what I'm sure is an action packed series for children.
SophiesMindset More than 1 year ago
Not bad, not as good as the adult books but same bad theology This book (and really the series) is relatively well engaging (I never did read ALL 48 of the kids books, after awhile you just wanted them to be finished & stopped caring. I did read all 12 of the adult novels). The reason these aren't as good as the "originals" is because they're adapting the story, but instead of just abridging it for children they attempt to create a parallel & intersecting storyline (it only intersects on this side, though. No mention of these kids in the adult books). The result is acceptable. However, I have beef with it's theology. If you believe in pre-tribulation you will probably love this book. As that's not what I believe about the end times, I wish this book didn't espouse that view. If the book leads people to Jesus, though, I say it's a job well done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think that everybody shouled read this book their is actuely a whole series of these books! Right now i'm on the #5th book there is like over #50 books in the series you should so read them! † Because Jesus loves you and if you want to learn more about him, then read this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago