Reviewed by: Amanda
Rating (out of 5): 3 stars
*Cue X-Files theme*
Kyra Agnew was a mostly normal high schooler. I say mostly because she did stand out in one way—she excelled at softball. Good enough to have top colleges scouting her. But after she wakes up behind a dumpster, she stands out even more. And that’s not a good thing.
Because when she wakes up, she finds she’s been gone for five years. Five. Frickin’. Years.
Her parents are no longer together. Her boyfriend is at college, living the life they’d planned together—with her best friend. Her dad is convinced she was abducted by aliens, and the NSA wants to talk to her. And she can’t stop thinking about Tyler, her boyfriend’s kid brother. He’s not a kid any more. He’s seventeen, and he is hot.
I’m a huge X-Files fan. I loved the paranoia of the show and the questions it raised, so when I heard that Kimberly Derting’s newest book would tackle the idea of alien abduction, I was bouncing up and down excited.
In some ways, my excitement was well founded. There’s plenty of paranoia, confusion, and denial to go around in The Taking. Kyra refuses to believe her father’s theory that she was abducted by aliens. But how else can her disappearance be explained? She was returned looking, thinking, and acting exactly the same as she was the day she disappeared, right down to her softball uniform and the way she smelled—sweaty and grimy, because she’d just pitched a hard game. Literally. For her, everything happened just the day before.
So you have to adjust your thinking as Kyra adjusts hers. Legally, she might be twenty-one. She might be an adult in the eyes of the law. But in every other way, every way that matters, she’s still a teenager with another year left in high school. The end result is she sometimes comes off as a whiney brat. Exactly the way a hormonal teenager would act.
When the story focuses on Kyra’s search for answers, when she’s constantly looking over her shoulder to see if she’s being followed, when she’s racing to escape the NSA agents trailing her, you get caught up in the action.
When it switches focus to the thread connecting Kyra and Tyler, it slows almost to a halt. I liked Tyler a lot. His attraction to Kyra made sense; he’d had a crush on her as a kid, and never in a million years thought he’d have a chance with her. Twelve years old when she disappeared, seventeen when she reappears, he’s not about to let this opportunity slip through his fingers. He fell a little on the ‘too perfect’ side of the line sometimes, but overall, I thought he was a good egg, and I wanted him to get the girl.
But why did it have to be Kyra?
If Kyra was as in love with her boyfriend as she thought she was, would she have fallen for someone else so quickly, especially since for her, everything felt like it had happened within the last couple of days? Her quick acceptance of these new feelings, without any breathing room from her breakup, bugged the crap out of me and made the relationship feel lopsided.
The ending’s a cliffhanger that if the whole story had been well executed, I probably would have thrown the book at the wall in frustration. Instead I shrugged and set The Taking gently on my coffee table. I’ll likely pick up the second book, but I think next time around, I’d like less romance, more action.
Sexual Content: Kissing