Margaret always knew that her family was a little strange. Not that she was exactly normal herself After all, she did do her sixth-grade science report on a pack of killer Chihuahuas. Even stranger was the fact that Margaret's mother never seemed to talk about anything anymore -- not since the mysterious drowning death of Margaret's father three years earlier.
Then Margaret's mother takes her and her little sister, Sophie, to an old abandoned mansion and places a FOR SALE BY OWNER sign in the front yard. But who could have lived there? And why was her mother keeping it all such a secret?
Convinced that her father's death, her mother's silence, and the mansion are somehow related, Margaret returns to the spooky old house alone, determined to make sense of three clues: a swimming medal, a key, and a strange, handwritten comic book about a boy who turned into a rat. With the help of Boyd, the lonely, comic-book-obsessed boy next door, she discovers that truth can be stranger than fiction -- depending upon who's telling the story.
An offbeat mystery about coincidence, fate, and the many different ways to tell the same story, How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found is the unforgettable tale of a twelveyear-old girl who discovers just how terribly beautiful and wonderfully bizarre the world and the people around her can be.
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Sara Nickerson lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband, Matthew, and their son, Simon. This is her first novel.From School Library Journal:
Grade 6-10-Margaret Clairmont, 12, can barely remember her father or the last time her mother woke up long enough to take them somewhere beyond the grocery store and Laundromat. Their sudden unexpected visit to place a "For Sale by Owner" sign on a dilapidated mansion on an island in the Pacific Northwest is the basis of this interesting mystery. The resolution of a long-standing family tragedy is slowly pieced together in this novel that bears a strong resemblance to Margaret's little sister Sophie's favorite distraction, "THE HARDEST JIGSAW EVER MADE." Parts of the story are Margaret's, describing in a relatively straightforward fashion her secret return to the island to find an explanation for the comic she found in an unopened package addressed to her mother. Parts belong to Boyd, the boy who lives next door to the mansion physically but dwells emotionally within the comics that appear in the island's odd library. Underneath their story is that of an earlier unhappy teenager, who found himself growing physically repulsive as he matured. He became more and more reclusive, even ratlike, and grew to be a man who could never rid himself of his guilt over the death of his idolized older brother. Most of the story is told in prose, in first or third person, but some parts are revealed in the graphic form of the comic books. Even the narrator twists and turns, as the first-person storyteller's identity changes. The satisfying ending will reward readers who have made their way through this tangled tale, but all but the best will probably find themselves considerably confused along the way.
Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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