Kidnapped and left in an underground room, Jackie explores her psychological strengths and limitations as she tries to make contact with the outside world by writing messages and sending them through a slit in the door
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To Anybody Out There
My name is Jackie McGee. I am the girl who disappeared. Listen to the news. See if other pieces of paper are scattered nearby. Maybe if you yell really loud I can hear you and yell back. I am not making this up. Please help!
Left in an underground cement room by an unknown captor, Jackie has food and water but no light or human contact. She does not know when--or if--her abductor will return.
As her desperation mounts, Jackie touch-types to focus her mind: letters to her family, a story for her English class, and reflections on her life in the past few months. In her isolation and fear, Jackie is forced to test her emotional boundaries, and in doing so she finds new meaning in her past as well as rich reserves of strength and courage within herself.From School Library Journal:
Grade 7-12 Kidnapped by an unknown assailant and thrown into a cement cell with no light and no escape, Jackie McGee struggles to understand why this happened to her. What she learns is not the answer to that question but about herselfthe strengths of character that she didn't know she had and insights into why life sometimes turns out the way it does. Left with only one jar of water and very little food, Jackie hopes throughout to be rescued, but her growing self-awareness allows her finally to accept the inevitable. The story is told through Jackie's letters to her friends, a teacher, the police, her parents, and notes to herself, touch-typed in the dark on a typewriter and a ream of paper that she had with her when she was taken. The story-within-a-story is Jackie's retelling of the circumstances that led to her being in the right place to be kidnapped. This story of her long-time friendship with April and Zack, broken up when she finds out that April and Zack are in love with each other, gives a counterpoint of saneness to an otherwise unreal situation. The unreality of the premise produces a book that is not as strong as most of Sebestyen's others, as neither Jackie nor readers can see a reason for the kidnapping. This makes it difficult to develop empathy for Jackie's plight. The mood and the style are excellent and entirely appropriate for so bizarre a situation. The book leaves a sour taste in the mouth, but that is what senseless acts of terror do, and perhaps that's what Sebestyen intended. Kathy Havris, Mesa Public Library, Ariz.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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