Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: 8 July 2014
Format: Hardcover, 368 pgs
Don't try to find me.
I'll be okay. I'll be better.
I love you.
This is the note fourteen-year-old Marley left on the whiteboard affixed to the fridge to her parents before she run away from home one day.
Needless to say, Rachel is devastated. She is sure Marley is playing a joke on them; after all she couldn't think of any good reasons Marley would run away from home. There's no sign of any distress in Marley either - she's doing fine in school; and she's never been bullied. Well Marley used to see Dr. Michael, a psychiatrist, for panic attacks' issue but had stopped seeing him when she was eleven, since he said he had every confidence that Marley would be fine.
Rachel, on the other end, is sure someone has either threaten Marley at a gunpoint, or being abducted because her iPhone and iPad are around; and she always carry them around, especially her iPhone. Paul, however, is sure Marley would return home after the fun is over. Unlike Rachel, he is always the rational one; one who has a brain for acronyms and statistics.
When there're no leads from the police, they decided to turn to social media to expand their network so that they'd have a whole community looking for Marley. However, this would also compromise their privacy, and not to mention there would be media scrutiny and people calling them lousy parents.
Onto to Marley, it seems she'd been planning the runaway for months, since after she'd knew B., a guy from Facebook and he too, has problems at home. They figured they'd leave home and live somewhere else together. But Marley is skeptical about him as well as his motives after she lives with him. B. doesn't want her to interact with the outside world, saying that it's best that they stay that way and no one can disrupt them. They'd have new identities and a new life.
To complicate matters, Dr. Michael and Rachel's close friendship is out in the open and people began to wonder if they're in together on Marley's disappearing act.
This is simply not a runaway story but there's more depth to it and it's multi-layered too. There're speculations everywhere and at some point it seems like each character has his/her little secrets. Through Marley's and Rachel's narratives, we're able to read into their minds and see the things through their eyes; and I was totally taken by surprise over where they lead.
As I read further, I also realised that this is more of a family dynamics story, as it tells us how miscommunications and assumptions may lead to drastic measures which may in turn destroy a family. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think this is the core of the story, and Marley's disappearance is the secondary issue. Then again, there is also focus on today's socia media and how things could spiral out of control, no matter what our intentions are. Good or bad, there're bound to be people talking. I suppose it's a natural behaviour when people are concerned, with or without the technology.
Well I'd expected a mystery before reading this book, but it turned out to be something more and something which I thought is important too, given the family communication issue and that is not to take a person for granted. This is one of those books that you can't put down and would make you treasure your family members more after reading it.