BOOK REVIEW: When Lightning Strikes {Missing Book 1} by Meg Cabot

I first read Meg Cabot's When Lightning Strikes years ago, when it was published under the pseudonym Jenny Carroll as part of the 1-800-WHERE-R-U series. I remember being obsessed with the books {though, sadly, I lacked cable so was never able to check out the TV adaption, 1-800-MISSING}, so when I was recommended the series on Kindle I thought I'd dive back in. Was it as fantastic as I remembered it being? Negative. Did I still enjoy it? Totally!

Sixteen-year-old flute-playing sophomore, Jess Mastriani, has a history of trouble. Fistfighting with members of the school football team, mouthing off to members of the school faculty, serving daily, after-school stints in detention. Jess doesn't mind 'fessing up to her crimes. After all, they all stem from her fierce love of her friends and family, and determination to defend them at all costs. Case in point, her older brother, Douglas, diagnosed with schizophrenia; and her overweight BFF, Ruth Abramowitz. But what Jess most definitely doesn't mind is the extra time her misbehavior earns her with bad-biker-boy-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks-and-guy-of-her-dreams, Rob Wilkins, a senior who also happens to spend more time than not in detention. The thing is, Jess is used to causing trouble; so when she falls into trouble, through no fault of her own, during one of her more innocent activities, things get a little topsy-turvy.

You could blame it all on Ruth. After all, if she hadn't insisted on walking home from school to get a little exercise {read: trying to slim down after being called fat by a jock}, Jess would have simply hitched a ride home on the back of Rob's hog. And if Jess hadn't agreed to walk home with Ruth, she wouldn't have been caught in the rain. And if she wouldn't have been caught in the rain...well, she wouldn't have been struck by lightning. Don't get me wrong...she's totally fine. But now she can look at the face on the back of a milk carton, and tell you exactly where that missing person is. Which sounds pretty awesome, but kind of bites considering the FBI is on her case. Like literally.

Now, Jess is residing on a military base where she's being researched on; and she's come to the conclusion that her new superpowers aren't all that thrilling. For one, they sometimes lead to the discovery of missing persons who are no longer among the living; and two...sometimes the people she finds don't need or want to be found. Take the 12-year-old boy she thought she was helping. He was actually hiding out with his protective mother from an abusive and powerful father. Now Jess is determined to help him out of the mess she created and bust his mom out of jail. But she'll need all of her bad boy buddies to help her complete her mission.

I was obsessed with this series when I was younger; but grown-up me? Not so much. Don't get me wrong, it's a fun romp; but many of the things that occur within the pages are downright ridiculous and far-fetched. Rob is still crushable; and Jess is fun {at times}, but the overall feel of the story is over the top. If you're looking for a serious fiction YA, this isn't it. If you're looking for humor with a dash of sci-fi, you may enjoy this one.

Star Rating: ***1/2



ellie said...

Meg has a way of drawing you in..no matter how ridiculous it might get. Thanks so much for the review!

Ivy's Closet said...

So glad you did this review. I don't remember this series. It's that kind of winter..to read over the top stuff...=)

Caitlin'nMegan said...

Oh, wow! Thank you for this fun review! Did you read anymore in the series? This might be the one Cobot wants us to forget. Great stuff!

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