The Girl in the White Van by April Henry

The Girl in the White Van by April Henry
October 3, 2020 Alexandra Adlawan

HAPPY OCTOBER!

Let’s get this marathon of horror started with the newest suspense-filled April Henry book.

Rated T for Teen

A teen is snatched outside her kung fu class and must figure out how to escape—and rescue another kidnapped victim—in this chilling YA mystery by New York Times-bestselling author April Henry.

When Savannah disappears soon after arguing with her mom’s boyfriend, everyone assumes she’s run away. The truth is much worse. She’s been kidnapped by a man in a white van who locks her in an old trailer home, far from prying eyes. And worse yet, Savannah’s not alone: Ten months earlier, Jenny met the same fate and nearly died trying to escape. Now as the two girls wonder if he will hold them captive forever or kill them, they must join forces to break out—even if it means they die trying.

 

This is April Henry’s third kidnapping story, the first being Girl, Stolen and the second being The Night She Disappeared.  What makes this story different than the others is that there are two kidnapped victims and the story is told from multiple perspectives.

 

Although reading from the perspectives of Savannah’s mother, Jenny’s parents and brother and getting a peek into the sick and twisted minds of the kidnapper and the mother’s jerk boyfriend was interesting, it also seemed unnecessary. I guess telling the story from so many perspectives is what sets this story apart from other kidnapping stories. But at the same time you just want the story to focus on the girls perspectives and on how they’re going to escape.

 

I love dynamic between Savannah, determined to escape, and Jenny, who has been under Sir’s thumb for ten months and has been scared emotionally and physically. With few resources and many setbacks, the girls uses every last bit of strength and smarts between to find a way to break out.

 

I already knew kung fu was going to play a part in the story, but I wasn’t expecting Bruce Lee to be such a presence. Just like kung fu, Bruce Lee wasn’t just about punching and kicking. The man was full of philosophical sayings. Each of Savannah’s chapters starts with a Bruce Lee quote. Here are a few of my favorites:

“Do not pray for an easy life. Pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”

“When you feel pain, you know that you are still alive.”

“What is” is more important than “what should be.”

 “Defeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.”

“The attitude, ‘You can win if you want to badly enough,’ means that the will to win is constant. No amount of punishment, no amount of effort, no condition is too tough to take in order to win.”

“Cease negative mental chattering. If you think a thing is impossible, you’ll make it impossible.”

 

After reading this book, I won’t be out walking alone at night anytime soon. I wasn’t walking alone at night before I read this book but I definitely won’t be doing it now. I used to walk home from the gym and, even though it was mid-afternoon, I was always scared someone would jump out at me. I always figured I could whack the attacker with my metal thermos and make a run for it.

 

This weeks’ Weird but True Fact about Bruce Lee

The yellow jumpsuit worn by Bruce Lee in his final movie was sold at an auction in Hong Kong, China, for $100,000.

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