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(Part of The Missing)
By Margaret Peterson Haddix

Behind the Book

Behind the MISSING series The summer the movie Snakes on a Plane was all over the news, my husband and kids began riffing one afternoon on what other creatures would be even more terrifying to encounter midflight. One of my husband’s suggestions: crying babies. Dozens and dozens of crying babies. At the time, I’d been toying around with the notion of a book about a group of lost and confused kids showing up out of place, mysteriously, but I was having trouble figuring out how to explain or deal with such extreme amnesia without having that become the focus of the book. If they were babies, I thought, they wouldn’t have to have amnesia. They wouldn’t remember anything anyhow. And if they were on a plane—well, they could come from anywhere, couldn’t they? So Found, the first book in The Missing series, begins with a mysterious planeload of babies making an unscheduled landing at a Midwestern airport, baffling all the officials. The whole incident is kept secret. Thirteen years later, a group of teenagers, who—unbeknownst to one another—were all adopted as infants, begin receiving unusual letters with warnings like,“You are one of the missing” and “Beware. They’re coming back to get you.” By the time of the fourth book in the series, Torn, the main characters, thirteen-year-old Jonah and twelve-year-old Katherine, have been back and forth through time on numerous trips, trying to save endangered children in history. In Torn, therisks accelerate, and they see more clearly exactly how much depends on them. And, oh yeah, the book starts with their landing on Henry Hudson’s ship in icy James Bay in 1611, moments before a mutiny breaks out. Can history repeat itself? Do they want it to? What if something even worse happens instead?