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Do Not Become Alarmed

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From a beloved, award-winning writer, the much-anticipated novel about what happens when two families go on a tropical vacation - and the children go missing. When Liv and Nora decide to take their families on a holiday cruise, everyone is thrilled. The ship's comforts and possibilities seem infinite. The children - two eleven-year-olds, an eight-year-old, and a six-year-ol From a beloved, award-winning writer, the much-anticipated novel about what happens when two families go on a tropical vacation - and the children go missing. When Liv and Nora decide to take their families on a holiday cruise, everyone is thrilled. The ship's comforts and possibilities seem infinite. The children - two eleven-year-olds, an eight-year-old, and a six-year-old—love the nonstop buffet and the independence they have at the Kids' Club. But when they all go ashore in beautiful Central America, a series of minor misfortunes leads the families farther and farther from the ship's safety. One minute the children are there, and the next they're gone. What follows is a riveting, revealing story told from the perspectives of the adults and the children, as the once-happy parents - now turning on one another and blaming themselves - try to recover their children and their lives. Celebrated for her ability to write vivid, spare, moving fiction, Maile Meloy shows how quickly the life we count on can fall away, and how a crisis changes everyone's priorities. The fast-paced, gripping plot of Do Not Become Alarmed carries with it an insightful, provocative examination of privilege, race, guilt, envy, the dilemmas of modern parenthood, and the challenge of living up to our own expectations.


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From a beloved, award-winning writer, the much-anticipated novel about what happens when two families go on a tropical vacation - and the children go missing. When Liv and Nora decide to take their families on a holiday cruise, everyone is thrilled. The ship's comforts and possibilities seem infinite. The children - two eleven-year-olds, an eight-year-old, and a six-year-ol From a beloved, award-winning writer, the much-anticipated novel about what happens when two families go on a tropical vacation - and the children go missing. When Liv and Nora decide to take their families on a holiday cruise, everyone is thrilled. The ship's comforts and possibilities seem infinite. The children - two eleven-year-olds, an eight-year-old, and a six-year-old—love the nonstop buffet and the independence they have at the Kids' Club. But when they all go ashore in beautiful Central America, a series of minor misfortunes leads the families farther and farther from the ship's safety. One minute the children are there, and the next they're gone. What follows is a riveting, revealing story told from the perspectives of the adults and the children, as the once-happy parents - now turning on one another and blaming themselves - try to recover their children and their lives. Celebrated for her ability to write vivid, spare, moving fiction, Maile Meloy shows how quickly the life we count on can fall away, and how a crisis changes everyone's priorities. The fast-paced, gripping plot of Do Not Become Alarmed carries with it an insightful, provocative examination of privilege, race, guilt, envy, the dilemmas of modern parenthood, and the challenge of living up to our own expectations.

30 review for Do Not Become Alarmed

  1. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    Liv and Nora decide to book a South American cruise for themselves and their families. They have four kids between them, and after meeting an Argentinian couple onboard, who also have two kids, the three families become great friends. Initially they decide against any excursions, preferring to stay onboard and make the most of the ship's facilities. Eventually though, they book a zip lining trip for the kids, while their husbands take advantage of a local golf course. That's when things start to Liv and Nora decide to book a South American cruise for themselves and their families. They have four kids between them, and after meeting an Argentinian couple onboard, who also have two kids, the three families become great friends. Initially they decide against any excursions, preferring to stay onboard and make the most of the ship's facilities. Eventually though, they book a zip lining trip for the kids, while their husbands take advantage of a local golf course. That's when things start to go badly wrong. The kids become separated from their moms, and they are all about to discover what can happen in a country where drugs are king and cops can be bought. Told from the perspectives of both the parents, and the kids, this is a well thought out plot that keeps the reader gripped. As the days pass with no sign of the kids, relationships between the parents begin to fester, with blame for the disappearances being laid at various doors. It's a fast paced, compelling read, that throws light on how the world works depending on one's background - on where a person is from, and more importantly, how wealthy that background is. Your kids are so precious and one thing's for sure, you'll keep an even closer eye on them after reading this! A really riveting read! * Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin books UK for my ARC, for which I have given an honest review*

  2. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy is a 2017 Riverhead/Penguin publication. This book started out with real promise, but… While on vacation, cousins Liv and Nora, take their children on an off-ship excursion which seemed destined for disaster right from the start. While Nora walks away with the tour guide, Liv rest her eyes for a bit while their children play in the river. In just an instant all the children were gone, lost or kidnapped in a country not their own. While the parents are being gri Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy is a 2017 Riverhead/Penguin publication. This book started out with real promise, but… While on vacation, cousins Liv and Nora, take their children on an off-ship excursion which seemed destined for disaster right from the start. While Nora walks away with the tour guide, Liv rest her eyes for a bit while their children play in the river. In just an instant all the children were gone, lost or kidnapped in a country not their own. While the parents are being grilled by the authorities, and pointing fingers at one another, becoming increasingly overwrought and making questionable decisions, their children are enduring a type of adventure they never bargained for. This book was chock full of heavy drama involving the children’s parents, their attitudes towards life in general, their marital dynamics, family connections, and approach to parenting. They each have something to feel guilty about, but have a hard time looking at their own mistakes, instead finding it easy to point out someone else’s failings. Meanwhile, the children exhibit similar behavior as their parents, by turning on one another, but the children’s perspective was much grittier and tense, and really has some disturbing ‘trigger alert’ moments. The momentum was marred somewhat by a thread that just didn’t seem to fit in anywhere and ultimately left me scratching my head, wondering why the author decided to include it. The approach to parenting is a major theme, as is the naïve feeling of security that the insulation of privilege provides. The novel explores how people respond to a catastrophic situation in a deceptively dangerous location, facing the elements and situations their comfortable lives could never have prepared them for. Will they rise to the occasion or are they too far out of their element to cope? While the book held my interest, and did keep me on edge, so often I found myself feeling irritated with the adults, especially. I kept thinking about how some of them behaved and wondered if anyone living through this amount of duress, with their kids missing, enduring God only knows what, would really behave in this manner. The story did give me something to chew on, and was thought provoking at times, prompting me to reflect deeply on some issues. My husband and I had a bad experience once when we took our kids with us on vacation to a very well known and popular resort. We enrolled the kids in a kid’s program, similar to the one offered by the cruise featured in this story, which provided all manner of fun activities. I was assured the staff was trained in CPR, were certified lifeguards and could handle all manner of emergencies. But, they never said anything about their screening process and I presumed the staff had been properly vetted. When my daughter, who was eleven at the time, complained that the tennis instructor asked her a question that make her uncomfortable, I went on high alert. Who were these people watching my kids? It was alarming to say the least, and I became much more hyper-aware, asking questions I should have asked in the first place. So, I can see where the author was going with this story, and understood the point she was trying to make. The scenario she created was indeed realistic and plausible. That being said, I can’t say I warmed up to her characters, and felt a gnawing disconnect towards them. They didn’t seem to develop, but instead, regressed, tossing off their usual polite veneer to give us a glimpse of what lay behind it and it wasn’t all that pretty. When all was said and done, no one involved will ever be the same, and they will certainly view life from a different angle, but despite the innocence lost, they took away valuable life lessons, learning that you can’t, no matter how much you wish it to be, protect your kids from all things, at all times. You prepare them the best way you know how and try to balance the need to protect them with the responsibility of teaching them to cope out in the real world. But for these parents, that pressure and responsibility are more welcome now than ever before, because it is so much better than the alternative. While this book can easily be read as a thriller, a vacation nightmare sort of thing, there are more layers to the onion if you are willing, and have the patience, to peel them away. Having said all that, ultimately, the presentation is a bit messy and the message gets lost in murky melodramas, and weak characterizations. It seemed like an ambitious undertaking, wishing to make some kind of a statement, but is wasn’t transparent enough or bold enough, almost as though the author felt the need to dial it back a notch, when in fact, she should have doubled down. It was a little messy, and spiraled out of control there at the end somewhat, sort of limping across the finished line, but it finished with the race, at least. I have waffled back and forth on how I wanted to rate this one. I really wanted to bump the star rating up a little, but I’m not sure the book fully accomplished its goal in a decisive manner, just barely clearing the hurdle. 3 stars

  3. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    Two couples, Liv and Nora, their spouses and four children between the ages of six and eleven, decide to take a two week cruise to South America. On the ship they meet an Argentinian couple vwith two children of their own and become friends. At first at the various ports they stay on the ship but eventually decide to go ashore and take the children zip lining. The men decide to play golf instead, leaving the women and the children with their excursion guide. Things will go horribly awry, and due Two couples, Liv and Nora, their spouses and four children between the ages of six and eleven, decide to take a two week cruise to South America. On the ship they meet an Argentinian couple vwith two children of their own and become friends. At first at the various ports they stay on the ship but eventually decide to go ashore and take the children zip lining. The men decide to play golf instead, leaving the women and the children with their excursion guide. Things will go horribly awry, and due to a few different circumstances the children will become separated from their mothers. A strange country, a terrifying loss, this book was so very suspenseful. In alternating chapter we hear from the adults and also some of the children. That one of the youngest children has a medical condition makes this even more terrifying. As we follow the attempts to find the whereabouts of those lost we watch as the parents blame each other, blame themselves. A parents worst nightmare, in a county ruled by various drug factions, crooked police and violence, they with the aid of a few must try to connect the pieces and follow the flow of happenings. Things do keep happening, new pieces uncovered consistently, creating a very fast paced story full of tension. Well plotted, culturally aware, this story is very frightening in its reality. Motto: Do not ever, but especially in a foreign country, take your eyes off your children. ARC from Riverhead publishers. Release date, June 6th.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    You take your husband and two kids on a cruise with your cousin, her husband, and their two kids. During an excursion in a South American country, something goes very wrong. You can't take your eyes off the children for a second! The kids are gone. Missing. While the search ensues, the blame game begins. Do you own your part in the horrific situation? Or search for where everyone else went wrong? That was something she was trying to work on: not always second-guessing her decisions, wondering You take your husband and two kids on a cruise with your cousin, her husband, and their two kids. During an excursion in a South American country, something goes very wrong. You can't take your eyes off the children for a second! The kids are gone. Missing. While the search ensues, the blame game begins. Do you own your part in the horrific situation? Or search for where everyone else went wrong? That was something she was trying to work on: not always second-guessing her decisions, wondering if she’d made the wrong one. But how could you know if you’d made the right decision, when you only saw one version play out? This is what happens in Do Not Become Alarmed. It is an exploration of parenting, privilege, guilt, jealousy, race, gender, poverty, travel and so much more. It sounds like a lot, but these all come to play in certain ways. The numerous perspectives probably help. I lost count when we were on our ninth narrator. The good news is it isn't so difficult keeping them straight. Not that the voices are entirely distinct, I was just never confused as to who was speaking due to the plot. At the beginning we see the cruise and the exact dynamics of the two couples and their families, but I kept waiting for the children (ages 6-11) to actually go missing. There are a few false alarms, each time I thought "This is it. This is how the kids go missing." If anything it shows you some of the safety issues aboard a cruise with children and how exactly the parents go about supervising their kids. If hell was other people, you just had to find the people who weren’t the inferno, and make space for them in your life. I had such a fun time viewing the story from the children's perspective because I was about eight when I went on my first and only cruise. It feels like the most incredible experience to a child, but you also don't see any hazards in running amok all over a ship that is thousands of miles from home. Same goes for any excursions you go on. Wondering where those kids are? You actually know from the moment they go missing where they are the entire time. There are perspectives from the children. The families met another couple on board with teenage children. So there is a teen girl with the kids as well (just to give an idea of the ages you'll get). There are several moments that felt like they should be impactful, but I was feeling nothing. Any twists weren't powerful. There are a few moments that just weren't necessary and dragged down the books pacing. In fact, the storyline involving Noemi didn't add anything to the plot. This book has a lot more family drama than the full-on thriller. The story is filled with emotion. Due to the parenting/guilt storylines, I saw similarities to Truly Madly Guilty. This would make a pretty good vacation read..maybe steer clear of cruise ships, though :)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Hall

    Disappointingly, my pulse never even progressed to a heightened state during the course of this awkward thriller. Riddled with implausibilities, this tale of missing children never really gets into its stride and Maile Meloy falls back on some appallingly bad national stereotyping and some unconvincingly simplistic characters with little evidence of any emotional investment. However, the biggest problem for me is that Do Not Be Alarmed never manages to convey a consistently serious atmosphere, s Disappointingly, my pulse never even progressed to a heightened state during the course of this awkward thriller. Riddled with implausibilities, this tale of missing children never really gets into its stride and Maile Meloy falls back on some appallingly bad national stereotyping and some unconvincingly simplistic characters with little evidence of any emotional investment. However, the biggest problem for me is that Do Not Be Alarmed never manages to convey a consistently serious atmosphere, sometimes veering from melodrama through to black comedy and outright flippancy. It also lacks subtlety in the portrayal of characters, opting to tell rather than show, with Meloy effectively spelling out what she wants readers to think of her cast; specifically, that wealthy Americans are self-obsessed, narcissistic, behave like the world owes them a living and lack basic respect for how things operate in an alien culture. The ‘odious Americans’ in this sorry tale attempt to ride roughshod over everyone and veer from speaking very loudly to the foreigners to being rude and showing little respect for the way that the law operates in their jurisdiction and seeing an ultimate solution in litigation. Do Not Become Alarmed opens with two female cousins, Liv and Nora, escaping Nora’s first Christmas spent at home since losing her mother and boarding an exotic cruise which will take them from San Pedro, California all the way down through Central America; a group of countries whose law enforcement and crime rates would leave any sane person sceptical about visiting. Their four children range in ages from six to eleven, with the oldest of the group, Penny, being particularly precocious. Becoming friendly with a moneyed Argentinian couple and their two teenagers, the three families spend time together. After several days going stir-crazy on the boat an eventual decision to go ashore in a country known as the ‘Switzerland of Latin America’ is made. A search on Google informed me that the country being referenced is Costa Rica. However what these all-knowing Americans fail to realise is that law enforcement and attitudes to crime and corruption are very different to their home country. The rates for violent crime are scary, with the drugs trade of prime importance to the economy, guns rife and the authorities open to corruption. Opting for a day on shore, the trio of husbands choose a relaxing day at the golf course and the mothers, four children and two Argentinian teenagers decide to go zip lining. A mishap on the outward journey leaves the larger group waiting for a a new vehicle to ferry them onwards, but given the inevitable delay, their young tour guide, Pedro, suggests heading down to the beach whilst they wait. With two mothers sleeping on the beach and neurotic American, Nora, off looking for birds (ahem) with Pedro, all it takes is a few moments of inattention and the six youngsters disappear upstream as they are caught in a riptide. The novel is very poorly paced, taking almost seventy-pages before any of the drama unfolds, only to then proceed at an uneven rate. Within the space of several pages the story then goes from discovering the kids are missing, seeing their footprints, uncovering a grave and swiftly concluding that they have been kidnapped by a murderer who they obviously witnessed mid-burial. From there, Meloy swiftly moves to the media circus arriving and issuing television appeals, all supposedly in a fairly remote location and all via a single policeman. The setting as described by Maile Meloy also makes no sense, with its unspoilt landscape a hotch-potch of dense trees, a single major road and a random house, which left me completely at a loss as far as recreating it in my mind went. The far-fetched nature of some of Meloy’s abrupt occurrences also left me seriously sceptical as to whether she has researched her location. The first seventy-pages are obviously intended to give readers plenty of opportunities to see the adults luxuriating in a guilt free opportunity to hand over the job of feeding and keeping their children fully occupied whilst indulging their own persuasions, be it gym or an ‘afternoon nap’ aboard the ship, all generally portraying their lack of parenting skills. The thriller element of this novel is a little haphazard, given that the situation is shown through a combination of the points of view of the adults and the children. So in that sense, it never summons up the tension and anxiety of a last gasp race across the country because the entire time the reader has an eye on both camps and knows the full extent of the situation. With the parents moved into a hotel the chase element of the thriller also underwhelms, as the parents merely shout at others and throw tantrums, over taking any assertive action of their own. The characters also label Detective Angela Rivera as a lesbian and the man from the embassy, Kenji Kirby, gay by virtue of the former’s short hair and the later’s pale linen suits! Meloy’s inane depiction of the children's questions to their kidnappers about needing to wash their hands before eating, applying sunscreen and not drinking out of a refilled plastic bottle in a car are obvious attempts to demonstrate how sheltered the children’s privileged lifestyles to date have been, but given that a much more serious incident of a sexual nature occurs it is all a little sickening. Add into the mix one child’s precarious medical condition and another's borderline autism and with the clock ticking down, speed is of the essence if the youngsters are to survive their ordeal. The overriding problem is that the author is far too obvious in her intentions, specifically in indicating that relations will swiftly descend into rancorous recriminations, a shifting of blame and an utter failure to take any parental responsibility. The circuitous route to attributing blame becomes more and more tenuous as the novel progresses and Liv becomes increasingly irksome with her reflections on taking her life as an affluent westerner for granted. She is also the most vocal and acts like a harbinger of doom from the get go with some utterly melodramatic lines in the first few chapters acting as precursors for the impending drama. Within twenty-pages she is commenting that disasters are the thing that you least expect, hence the need to “expect everything”, and even compares the missing children to a punishment for their affluent lifestyle in America where “the only Latinos were gardeners and day labourers”. First world problems pale into insignificance when a second strand of the novel sees a young Ecuadorean girl, Noemi, taken on a dangerous journey from her impoverished home and elderly grandmother with an ultimate destination of reuniting with her parents who are illegals immigrants in New York. As Noemi’s journey eventually meets with the missing group of youngsters, it feels like Meloy has thrown in a token character intending to demonstrate the reverse struggle and allow the American’s to come to appreciate their good fortune. Although I hadn’t heard of the author prior to reading this book, Do Not Become Alarmed is Maile Meloy’s fifth novel, and she has also achieved success writing primarily for the YA marketplace. This novel has a crossover feel, perhaps explaining the often slightly simplistic and naive descriptions of the key players. The ending rather fizzled out, proving unsatisfactory with a number of significant questions left unresolved and I was hugely sceptical as to whether the American parents had learned a lesson from the experience. An awkward novel with an uneven pace that personally left me a little cold and unmoved. I feel unable to recommend and issue the following warning - Maile Meloy’s stereotyping throughout gives Donald Trump a run for his money!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    We ‘do’ become ‘alarmed’ in “Do Not Become Alarmed”, by Maile Melody. This was one heck of a juicy - compelling - page turner - with what happened? - and what if’s? This thriller ‘was’ suspenseful- (much of it seemed plausible)...but it was more than a one dimensional-thriller. Author, Meloy, is smack-right-on with her observations about kids , teenagers, parenting, class and race. We look at morality & social prejudice- and the differences in the ways adults and children do . This thriller myster We ‘do’ become ‘alarmed’ in “Do Not Become Alarmed”, by Maile Melody. This was one heck of a juicy - compelling - page turner - with what happened? - and what if’s? This thriller ‘was’ suspenseful- (much of it seemed plausible)...but it was more than a one dimensional-thriller. Author, Meloy, is smack-right-on with her observations about kids , teenagers, parenting, class and race. We look at morality & social prejudice- and the differences in the ways adults and children do . This thriller mystery ride - is a terrific character- study. It’s even an insightful eye-opener for vacationing with children. All the ‘buzz’ descriptions intrigued me right away: Making this a great-summer-read!!!! ...Holiday cruise to Central America shared holiday with close friends ...The American women were best friends - ( one of the husbands had died before this holiday get-a-way) .....4 American kids between the two families .. The two American families meet another family from Argentina .... they have 2 kids ... so a total of 3 families.... for a grand total of 6 kids. At first- I had a little trouble remembering ‘who’ belonged to who - but within a short time - I had it ‘down’ ... making it all the more fun! The men go golfing... The women take the kids on a ship adventure with a local tour guide — NOT THE ADVENTURE THEY WANTED!!!! 4.5 stars. I LIKED IT!!!! I’ll read Maile Meloy again... she’s very intuitive, perceptive, observant, and in-tune with the characteristics of a cross range of types of people.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

    Great set up and strong storyline kept this book exciting with lots of drama. As a parent it was a hard read but also some of the dread depicted felt strangely relatable with parents turning on each other almost immediately, the parents all displayed some horrible characteristics enhanced by the tragedy that unfolds during the dream family holiday turned nightmare. However there was something about the writing that felt abit off. The writing was direct and lacked some tack with descriptions of c Great set up and strong storyline kept this book exciting with lots of drama. As a parent it was a hard read but also some of the dread depicted felt strangely relatable with parents turning on each other almost immediately, the parents all displayed some horrible characteristics enhanced by the tragedy that unfolds during the dream family holiday turned nightmare. However there was something about the writing that felt abit off. The writing was direct and lacked some tack with descriptions of characters, portraying blatant stereotyping. It was slightly cringe worthy. For me it lacked some finesse so I’m unable to give more than 3 stars.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Joce (squibblesreads)

    lol nah jk DNFed it

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ I generally don’t read any of my friends’ reviews if I’ve already put my name on the wait list/obtained a book, but I made an exception this time around when it became crystal clear this was not going to be my idea of a good time. I pretty much want to copy and paste what Michelle had to say into this space because we are of one mind when it comes to Do Not Be Alarmed. Damn my old lady brain to hell, because I know this one popped onto Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ I generally don’t read any of my friends’ reviews if I’ve already put my name on the wait list/obtained a book, but I made an exception this time around when it became crystal clear this was not going to be my idea of a good time. I pretty much want to copy and paste what Michelle had to say into this space because we are of one mind when it comes to Do Not Be Alarmed. Damn my old lady brain to hell, because I know this one popped onto my radar because a famous person I follow was reading it, but eff if I can remember which famous person it was. So, there was some random famous person endorsement, coupled with a pretty perfect title and a “ripped from the headlines” type of synopsis where children go missing from a family vacation. I was all in. And then I started reading it and let me tell you never in the history of ever has this gif been more appropriate . . . . The strangest thing for me was about a hundred pages in I started thinking how this book was reminding me of some other book that I couldn’t put my finger on (so strange for my brain to not assist me in figuring it out, right?). Then it dawned on me – Bel Canto. The stories aren’t alike at all, but they gave me the same feeling of probably needing a good scrubbing in the shower to get the grimy feeling off myself after finishing reading. Imagine my surprise when I went to remove this from my Kindle homepage and noticed the cover blurb was written by none other than Ann Patchett. If you enjoyed Bel Canto there’s a chance you’ll enjoy this one too, I guess. As for me? I need to go take another shower because all of these people were just awful. Every one of them . . . .

  10. 4 out of 5

    Carol (Bookaria)

    This is all about cruising gone bad! Liv and Nora are cousins who decide to book a cruise with their families. Once abroad, Liv and Nora get off the ship with their children to go on an excursion which is a fairly common activity to do while cruising but then the children become separated from the group and disappear. Basically, every parent's worst nightmare and on unknown, foreign lands to boot. This is where the story begins. The book is narrated from the alternating point of views of the par This is all about cruising gone bad! Liv and Nora are cousins who decide to book a cruise with their families. Once abroad, Liv and Nora get off the ship with their children to go on an excursion which is a fairly common activity to do while cruising but then the children become separated from the group and disappear. Basically, every parent's worst nightmare and on unknown, foreign lands to boot. This is where the story begins. The book is narrated from the alternating point of views of the parents and the children. Because of the different perspectives we get a look into the characters thoughts on marriage, guilt, race, and parenting. Overall I thought it was ok. The story did not engaged me and I did not find it particularly interesting or suspenseful. I've seen other people enjoy it so I will encourage mystery readers to give it a try. Review also posted on blog - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Random note: I live in Miami which is the point of departure of a LOT of cruises, people here go cruising often, here's a picture of one of our ports in the City... Photo source: https://tinyurl.com/y853yf4r

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    With every good bookshop’s shelves stuffed with psychologically twisted thrillers and emotionally haunting crime stories, it can be overwhelming to find something unique in this overcrowded genre. The ‘Gone Girl’s’ and ‘The Girl on the Train’s’ of the category dominate, and it seems a plethora of books are sold in their pale imitations. It is time for something new. And Maile Meloy has delivered it. Do Not Become Alarmed requires the reader to do exactly what the title warns against in this emoti With every good bookshop’s shelves stuffed with psychologically twisted thrillers and emotionally haunting crime stories, it can be overwhelming to find something unique in this overcrowded genre. The ‘Gone Girl’s’ and ‘The Girl on the Train’s’ of the category dominate, and it seems a plethora of books are sold in their pale imitations. It is time for something new. And Maile Meloy has delivered it. Do Not Become Alarmed requires the reader to do exactly what the title warns against in this emotional barrage of a story. When cousins Liv and Nora, along with their 2.4 families, decide to spend their Christmas vacation on board a cruise ship, the worst drama they can envision is squabbling over snack time. They divide their time between sampling the endless buffet food and enjoying the just as endless onboard entertainment. But when cabin fever threatens to overwhelm their idyllic family break and a zip-line excursion proves too tempting for the families, they break away from the comfort and familiarity of the ship and make for Central America. What follows is a torrent of emotion and a twisted story that will leave you breathless until its final culmination. And maybe not even then will you be able to heave a real sigh of relief ever again… This multiple POV story spills its secrets through the alternating perspectives of the children, their parents, and the aggressors that wish them harm. Each side is given almost equal attention and, through them, a complete story is slowly unveiled for the reader, if not the characters. Maloy controls each voice with an ease and authenticity that made each individual apparent as soon as the perspectives switched and each had something to offer this mysterious story. The dark subject matter made this a completely terrifying read, as every parent’s worst scenario is played out in a raw and brutal detail. No emotion is spared and every facet, that makes this thriller so haunting, is delivered to the reader with an authenticity that belies the fiction tag this comes with. It is hard to separate this story from its multitude of real-life counterparts. Perhaps most close in comparison is the tragic disappearance of Madeleine McCann, whilst holidaying with her family. Regardless of the outcome, blame was heaped onto the grieving parents and both the media and online trolls were quick to pass judgement but less scant with their condolences, once certain facets of their tragedy became public knowledge. This explores every nuance of emotion experienced by the grieving parents. As their stories unfolded, so too did the blame. Not one of the adults is held culpable and yet each had a sinister part to play in the all that occurred. The ‘what ifs’ haunt this book and just one small alteration in judgement or just one slight twist of fate’s knife might have seen the events unfurl in an altogether more pleasant way. The children, too, experience the same emotions but in a different format. They succumb to fear and self-blame before turning on one and other to escape their emotions. Seeing the parents’ agony play out with their children as the actors invites the reader to ignore what led up to the book’s ultimate catastrophe and find the compassion the families so sorely require. Do Not Become Alarmed is a story that will dog every reader after the final pages are turned. It is a chilling perception of the limitations of authority and this worst-case-scenario plays out along the backdrop of sequestered innocence. Eye-opening in nature and brutal in its approach to exposing the truth, this is an insight into the Western privileged illusions of safety and the shattering of this misconception about the world.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I was in the mood for a well-written, plot-driven book and Do Not Become Alarmed delivered. I'll quote the blurb by Ann Patchett on the cover of my edition: "Smart and thrilling and impossible to put down." I was in the mood for a well-written, plot-driven book and Do Not Become Alarmed delivered. I'll quote the blurb by Ann Patchett on the cover of my edition: "Smart and thrilling and impossible to put down."

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    4 STARS! DO NOT BECOME ALARMED IS OUT TODAY - 6TH JULY!!! Liv & Nora decide to book a cruise for themselves and their families. They have four children between them who adore their newfound independence and the 24-hour buffet! Initially, they decide to spend their time onboard, the ship has lots of great facilities to keep them entertained after all. However, after a while they decide to go on an excursion in Central America and this is where things go badly wrong - the kids have disappeared. It i 4 STARS! DO NOT BECOME ALARMED IS OUT TODAY - 6TH JULY!!! Liv & Nora decide to book a cruise for themselves and their families. They have four children between them who adore their newfound independence and the 24-hour buffet! Initially, they decide to spend their time onboard, the ship has lots of great facilities to keep them entertained after all. However, after a while they decide to go on an excursion in Central America and this is where things go badly wrong - the kids have disappeared. It is told from the perspectives of both the parents and the children, showing the disintegration of the safety and control that the parents are used to. The parents, riddled with stress, then start turning on each other as they look for someone to blame. A lot of others who have read & reviewed this title have found that it wasn't for them or that they couldn't quite get into the story despite liking the sound of the synopsis. I am pleased to say that I had no such issues. It took me a little while to be fully absorbed but once I was I was gripped so it is worth persevering. The plot is well thought out and fast paced once you get into it. A compelling read that highlights the impact a persons social status & wealth can have on the way people treat you. This may well be a difficult read for parents and will definitely affect the way in which parents treat their kids. The storyline is very realistic - this is a situation thst could occur in real life which makes it all the more scary. It also shows that parental power is not infinite and that bad things can happen to kids even when you have the most diligent of parents. Thank you to Maile Meloy, Penguin Books (UK) & NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bex (Beckie Bookworm)

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Reviewed By Beckie Bookworm https://www.beckiebookworm.com Do not become alarmed is the first book that I have experienced by Maile Meloy and as a whole, I found it ok. It wasn't awful and I did finish it but it failed to grab, falling a bit flat for me, I found myself emotionally uninvested in the characters, in fact, I actually down-right disliked some of them. So overall this really made it pretty hard for me to connect with the story. I am actually rather disappointed with this one consider Reviewed By Beckie Bookworm https://www.beckiebookworm.com Do not become alarmed is the first book that I have experienced by Maile Meloy and as a whole, I found it ok. It wasn't awful and I did finish it but it failed to grab, falling a bit flat for me, I found myself emotionally uninvested in the characters, in fact, I actually down-right disliked some of them. So overall this really made it pretty hard for me to connect with the story. I am actually rather disappointed with this one considering how much I was looking forward to it as the description is what initially pulled me into this, it made "Do Not Be Alarmed" sound so much more than what it is. First things first this review is going to be a bit spoilery, so fair warning. look away now folks, you have been advised. and also a trigger warning, (view spoiler)[.there is a rape of a teenager (14). (hide spoiler)] in this tale so avoid if this is an issue for you, it's not graphic but it's there all the same. So the general premise is that Nora and Liv (who are cousins) and there hubby's, along with their four kids take a cruise and during a ship excursion they go missing along with a couple kids they have met on the holiday. The story then flits from parents to children, so you really get to see this incident, which is every parent's worst nightmare, from both sides. So what worked for me with this, Well the whole scenario is really imaginative and as I said earlier the synopsis itself is a real puller. You get to see the vast contrast between the lives of our families and the poverty surrounding them while lost in Central America, it's such an eye-opener in that respect. Also, some of the inner monologues are fairly amusing, there was one in particular that made me smile when Nora is thinking of Penny. "Nora recognised this for the humble brag it was and thought she had never known a more slappable child." We have all known a child that just rubs us up the wrong way while in their parent's eyes there such little angels. actually, I found Penny a right little know it all madam as well so completely got you, Nora. We get to see everything collapse inwards and disintegrate with all the players then seeming to turn on each other. It's a complete car crash as the two once close families fall apart at the seams each blaming the other for this disaster. Now for the negatives, the characters themselves were an unlikable bunch which made it hard for me to find that initial connection with them, this, in turn, makes it, oh so hard to empathise with their current situation. Yeah, I felt for them but with a very disconnected vibe. I also found the kid's reactions odd, I'm a mum of five and I know if this sort of thing happened to any of mine they would be totally freaking out I mean major meltdowns and my kids are not drama queens at all, in fact, I would imagine most children would be like this. The kids in this were so calm and collected it was unreal and a bit scary. (view spoiler)[.Even Isabella after being raped was so indifferent to what had happened, I myself tried to put her reaction down to shock, but it was not how I would imagine a fourteen-year-old child, upon being violated behaves.. (hide spoiler)] I also didn't understand the relevance of Neomi and her uncle it felt like they were just included to show the contrast of wealth and poverty between our characters. overall I found them a pretty pointless addition to this book. One final gripe was Poor Gunter I really thought at some point during this story we would have revisited him properly, not just assumed his fate he really got a crappy deal in all this. And I know I said final but I've just thought of one more. the ending I didn't like it at all it seemed so unconnected and abrupt. Anyway that's all folks. So my overall verdict was that I found this was an alright read, It kept me amused for a few hours, but it just didn't quite do it for me. Thank you to NetGalley, Penguin UK and The author for supplying me with an advanced reader copy of "Do Not Become Alarmed" this is my own honest unbiased opinion. Reviewed By Beckie Bookworm https://www.beckiebookworm.com/ https://www.facebook.com/beckiebookworm/

  15. 4 out of 5

    EJ

    Do not be alarmed if you can't finish this overwrought and ridiculous tale of rich white people losing track of their irritating children. Do not be alarmed if you can't finish this overwrought and ridiculous tale of rich white people losing track of their irritating children.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte May

    There were always lower circles of hell. Welcome to the next level down. This was a wild ride! More an action thriller than a mystery thriller, we follow the story of Liv and Nora - two cousins, along with their husbands and children go on a cruise over Christmas to Central and South America. Then the worst happens. While on an excursion from the ship, their 4 children plus two others go missing. One moment swimming in the ocean the next gone, nowhere to be found. The book follows both the parent There were always lower circles of hell. Welcome to the next level down. This was a wild ride! More an action thriller than a mystery thriller, we follow the story of Liv and Nora - two cousins, along with their husbands and children go on a cruise over Christmas to Central and South America. Then the worst happens. While on an excursion from the ship, their 4 children plus two others go missing. One moment swimming in the ocean the next gone, nowhere to be found. The book follows both the parents and also the missing children, so as the reader we already know where they are and what has happened to them so that mystery is ruled out. Despite this I kept turning the pages, desperate to find out if they'd escape unscathed and make it back to their parents. A mainly character driven tale, touching on loads of serious topics including racism, the gap between rich and poor as well as language barriers. The police and detectives they come into contact with aren't always trustworthy and we see how corrupt some of the systems are in these countries. A great read with plenty of shocks.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sam (Clues and Reviews)

    Do Not Become Alarmed, the newest release by Maile Meloy, follows a family that meets devastation when their children disappear while on a cruise in Central America. I started this book as a buddy read with Janel from Keeper of Pages; we have been wanting to do a buddy read for a while and, when I won this book from Goodreads and it was coming up in Janel’s TBR pile, it was the perfect opportunity to get it done! It isn’t often that I discuss a book I absolutely hated on Clues and Reviews but I Do Not Become Alarmed, the newest release by Maile Meloy, follows a family that meets devastation when their children disappear while on a cruise in Central America. I started this book as a buddy read with Janel from Keeper of Pages; we have been wanting to do a buddy read for a while and, when I won this book from Goodreads and it was coming up in Janel’s TBR pile, it was the perfect opportunity to get it done! It isn’t often that I discuss a book I absolutely hated on Clues and Reviews but I am disappointed to say that this book left me completely underwhelmed. This is not to say that others would not enjoy this one, but I was clearly not the correct reader for this one! Marketed as a mystery/thriller, I found this to be completely off base. This novel lacked any of the core components I love in my thrillers. There were no fast paced chapters to be found, there were no red herrings and no major plot twists. I didn’t find any of the characters to be particularly complex or likeable. I didn’t find myself feeling on edge. Needless to say, the author needed to no warning in the title of this book, I would not become alarmed during this text at all. Aside from my genre issue I had a serious issue connecting with any of the characters. Both the children and the adult protagonists were a little irritating. I didn’t find myself particularly sympathetic or concerned for their plights. I also found that I struggled enormously with the pacing. There were moments in this book were absolutely nothing was happening. I understand that not all books can be non-stop action, but this one lacked any moments of excitement for me. This book did have a few instants where I could see some potential, but overall, they were quickly outshone by more mundane moments. I read solidly until the 60% mark where I was tempted to add this to my DNF pile; I ended up skimming the remaining text so I could discuss it with Janel. Overall, I would skip this book or get it from the library. I gave it 1/5 stars.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    Do Not Become Alarmed. If you don't read this book, you're not missing much. It tells the tale of two cousins, Liv and Nora, who take a cruise together with their families during the Christmas holiday. On a trip to the island, the men go golfing and the ladies plan a day of zip lining with their kids. A scary car accident derails their original plans and the group heads off to the beach. That's when things go awry. Liv and Camilla, an Argentinian woman from the ship, fall asleep instead of wa Do Not Become Alarmed. If you don't read this book, you're not missing much. It tells the tale of two cousins, Liv and Nora, who take a cruise together with their families during the Christmas holiday. On a trip to the island, the men go golfing and the ladies plan a day of zip lining with their kids. A scary car accident derails their original plans and the group heads off to the beach. That's when things go awry. Liv and Camilla, an Argentinian woman from the ship, fall asleep instead of watching the children as Nora engages in a brief moment of adultering with their guide. The children, cavorting in the water, are carried away by the tide and when searching for help, unknowingly, stumble into a group of people disposing of a body. They are brought into a dangerous household and their innocence and health are threatened by warring brothers. During the journey to their parents, the children meet a young refugee named Noemi who ends up playing a significant part of their return home and civilization. Do Not Become Alarmed is told from various viewpoints including Liv and Nora, the children, Noemi, the criminals and though the writing is well written and flows well, you can't help but wonder, What's the point of all this? That horrible, despicable things happen to children all over the world? That these over-privileged parents are so clueless about the real world. What a surprise! Nora, I know you have low self esteem issues but stop flirting and pay attention to your kids! That kids are the cause of all worries for parents everywhere since the dawn of time but having kids are also such a joy? That you can be an adulterer and be forgiven and still have hot sex with your husband? I may be missing something here. That women, aka Nora, still need attention from a man to feel worthy? Bleh. The plot is slightly unbelievable but I was able to suspend disbelief for the most part. I disliked everyone, especially the parents and the kids slightly less, but when I came to the end, all I could think of was So what?

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nikki (Saturday Nite Reader)

    Pros: Quick read, you do want to finish to find out how it plays out Cons: Unlikeable characters which makes it harder to really invest in their stories Two families with 2 kids a piece go on a cruise, befriend another family with 2 kids. During an excursion gone horribly wrong all 6 kids disappear from their mothers' sight. The choices each of the parents and children make up to and after the disappearance tells the story of what ifs. The interrelationships between the family members, spouses and Pros: Quick read, you do want to finish to find out how it plays out Cons: Unlikeable characters which makes it harder to really invest in their stories Two families with 2 kids a piece go on a cruise, befriend another family with 2 kids. During an excursion gone horribly wrong all 6 kids disappear from their mothers' sight. The choices each of the parents and children make up to and after the disappearance tells the story of what ifs. The interrelationships between the family members, spouses and outsiders, even between the kids are obviously affected and rooted in fear and resentment. This is certainly a nightmare. It took me a bit of time to get into but once the story started moving, I was hooked. I needed to know how it was going to play out. The reading moved very quickly as the Chapters were very short. Not recommend while reading on vacation, most specifically a cruise, other than that you should be good. Probably best to borrow from the library or a friend rather than purchasing your own copy.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    This was a well narrated audio book from the author, whose name is pronounced 'Millie'. I initially thought she had a slight lisp, but decided it was just me. I enjoy audio's narrated by the author, it adds another layer. Two couples, Liv and Nora are cousins, and their prospective families go on a Mexican cruise, but the worst happens - off shore the children disappear on becoming separated from the adults who are responsible for them. This is a quite confronting and at times gruesome read, and This was a well narrated audio book from the author, whose name is pronounced 'Millie'. I initially thought she had a slight lisp, but decided it was just me. I enjoy audio's narrated by the author, it adds another layer. Two couples, Liv and Nora are cousins, and their prospective families go on a Mexican cruise, but the worst happens - off shore the children disappear on becoming separated from the adults who are responsible for them. This is a quite confronting and at times gruesome read, and I suggest not attempting it if profanity use bothers you. The perspectives from the children were well written and their psychological aspects coming across as very real. A well written book, just in some parts for me implausible, but I did enjoy the format of each chapter coming from the different characters. I don't take notes on audio reads so my reviews are always short. This was a strange kind of book in a way, I didn't really gel with any of the characters, thus the three star rating - possibly 2.5 but decided on 3.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    Won this book on goodreads,took me ages to get into this book.its a okay read maybe just not my type of book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Katie Ziegler (Life Between Words)

    This book was harrowing and fast paced and difficult to read. As a parent it plays on your worst fears, and it does it well. Delves into questions surrounding parenting, marriage, blame, guilt, innocence. I'm glad I read it, but it was hard. 3.5* This book was harrowing and fast paced and difficult to read. As a parent it plays on your worst fears, and it does it well. Delves into questions surrounding parenting, marriage, blame, guilt, innocence. I'm glad I read it, but it was hard. 3.5*

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    This is a bit different from what I'd come to expect from Maile Meloy - it's a thriller about a cruise ship excursion gone bad. The thriller aspect is decent and the rich white people (who are obnoxious overall) don't escape completely, but I struggled to feel the book was entirely realistic. First of all, the cruise line unceremoniously dumps their luggage on the pier when they fail to return from a cruiseline-official excursion. Considering that this is an official excursion AND they are some This is a bit different from what I'd come to expect from Maile Meloy - it's a thriller about a cruise ship excursion gone bad. The thriller aspect is decent and the rich white people (who are obnoxious overall) don't escape completely, but I struggled to feel the book was entirely realistic. First of all, the cruise line unceremoniously dumps their luggage on the pier when they fail to return from a cruiseline-official excursion. Considering that this is an official excursion AND they are some of the wealthiest people on board, I'm sorry but this just wouldn't ever happen. Not without at the very least leaving someone from the cruiseline to look after them. There is also a series of scenes where the children and other various characters all come together on a train, and it felt a bit forced. And the criminals are inconsistent. I also ended up feeling like the people in danger were somewhat to blame for their predicament (the fathers abandon the families to go golfing and the mothers are either romping in the jungle with the tour guide or falling asleep on duty; the children have no common sense and make the situation worse), so I wasn't as much on their side as I felt I should be. Still, if I were going on a cruise, this would be a great read. Or if I'd chosen the beach over a cruise, even better. :) Thanks to the publisher for providing access through NetGalley.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Vikki VanSickle

    Two American families escape the madness of Christmas to go on a cruise only to face their worst nightmares when the children go missing in South America. The premise of this book will appeal to the readers who can't get enough of griplit like The Girl on the Train, I Let You Go, and The Couple Next Door, but Meloy's deft prose and incising perception into humanity sets Do Not Become Alarmed apart from the crowd. Privilege, expectation, naivete, ego, love, humiliation, betrayal and chance are al Two American families escape the madness of Christmas to go on a cruise only to face their worst nightmares when the children go missing in South America. The premise of this book will appeal to the readers who can't get enough of griplit like The Girl on the Train, I Let You Go, and The Couple Next Door, but Meloy's deft prose and incising perception into humanity sets Do Not Become Alarmed apart from the crowd. Privilege, expectation, naivete, ego, love, humiliation, betrayal and chance are all mixed up in a heady read about how our worst nightmares tear us apart but can also bring us together. The narration allows simultaneous glimpses into what's happening to the missing children and their distraught parents, ratcheting up the tension and making it almost impossible to stop reading. Incidents of sex and violence are casual and shocking, effectively knocking the reader off their axis in what is a compelling, at times uncomfortable, read. Great for fans of Siracusa, Meg Wolitzer, and Emma Straub.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cora Tea Party Princess

    5 Words: Family, sunshine, blame, kidnap, hope. It took me about two chapters to get in to the flow of the writing, but after that I was hooked. I could not put it down. I love how the narrative switched between the parents and the children - you could see these two stories, how they started together then came apart and took different turns before the end. There are a lot of different situations explored in this book, and the different perspectives means that it really hits home. Be prepared for sh 5 Words: Family, sunshine, blame, kidnap, hope. It took me about two chapters to get in to the flow of the writing, but after that I was hooked. I could not put it down. I love how the narrative switched between the parents and the children - you could see these two stories, how they started together then came apart and took different turns before the end. There are a lot of different situations explored in this book, and the different perspectives means that it really hits home. Be prepared for shock and anger and a glimmer of hope. The realism hits even harder, because this could happen to anyone. This is perfect for summer reading. But maybe don't take it with you on on a cruise.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Thebooktrail

    [image error] Visit the locations in the novel Sail away with the Literary Travel Agency Full review to come of course but some early thoughts: You might not want to read this is you're about to go on a cruise! Jeepers what happens when they stop at a beach to escape the ship for a while.... Seen through the eyes of the parents and the children who disappear, this is a novel of family dynamics, the will to survive and some lessons of what not to do anywhere never mind in the middle of a jungle in t [image error] Visit the locations in the novel Sail away with the Literary Travel Agency Full review to come of course but some early thoughts: You might not want to read this is you're about to go on a cruise! Jeepers what happens when they stop at a beach to escape the ship for a while.... Seen through the eyes of the parents and the children who disappear, this is a novel of family dynamics, the will to survive and some lessons of what not to do anywhere never mind in the middle of a jungle in the middle of Central America. The writing ranges from insightful paragraphs to clippy and abrupt sentences mirroring the action in the book very well. And that title? Well I am. Too late. ;)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lorrea - WhatChaReadin'?

    Liv and Nora are cousins and practically sisters. They decide to take their families on a two week cruise down the coast of Central America. Both women cautious, they spend the first several days aboard the ship. When they finally decide to take an excursion, the men head for golf and the women take the kids on a zip line tour. This is when all hell breaks loose! From the bus breaking down, to six children going missing in a foreign country, this family vacation is definitely not going to plan. Liv and Nora are cousins and practically sisters. They decide to take their families on a two week cruise down the coast of Central America. Both women cautious, they spend the first several days aboard the ship. When they finally decide to take an excursion, the men head for golf and the women take the kids on a zip line tour. This is when all hell breaks loose! From the bus breaking down, to six children going missing in a foreign country, this family vacation is definitely not going to plan. Told from the perspective of the children and the parents, as well other key characters that are introduced throughout, you dive deep into the story and it's hard to get drawn out! This is the first book I've read by Maile Meloy, and I can't wait to read more! I think this is one of the very few times I have read a book with so many characters taking their turn to tell the story and not gotten confused by what is going on. The story flowed perfectly with the unbelievable around every turn. I will say, not any of the characters in this story are likable, except for Nora's son, Marcus, but I don't think they need to be. You are still intrigued by what is going on and what is going to happen next. This does make you want to hug your kids a little tighter, if you have them. Tell them you love them no matter what and make you want to protect them even more than you already do. To me, this book was amazing and I highly recommend it! Imagine, all your plans for the day going down the tube. Your tour bus breaks down, so you decide to wait at the beach while a new bus arrives. Then maybe you drift off to sleep while the kids are playing in the water near by. The kids are old enough to look after themselves and those who aren't, have the older kids to look after them. Now imagine waking up from what felt like just a moments rest, to find the children that were just there playing in front of you, have vanished. No where to be found no idea where they could have gone. What do you do, who do you call? You're in a foreign country and you opted not to get the international plan for you phone. Where are your children, and what is being done to them?

  28. 5 out of 5

    Frank Phillips

    This is a story about two cousins, Liv and Nora, and their families, who go on a vacation cruise for some sun, fun and relaxation only to encounter nothing but chaos. I wouldn't say that this was a psychological suspense, but definitely a thriller. I give it a rating of 3.5 Stars due to the non-stop fast paced action thrill ride it takes you on! I feel like this would make for a fairly decent movie. The only negative I would have to say is that it started somewhat slower paced, but once it picke This is a story about two cousins, Liv and Nora, and their families, who go on a vacation cruise for some sun, fun and relaxation only to encounter nothing but chaos. I wouldn't say that this was a psychological suspense, but definitely a thriller. I give it a rating of 3.5 Stars due to the non-stop fast paced action thrill ride it takes you on! I feel like this would make for a fairly decent movie. The only negative I would have to say is that it started somewhat slower paced, but once it picked up there was no turning back. I also felt like the ending was somewhat predictable but anymore, must endings are to me. I really wanted to read this book in just a couple of sittings, but life intervened as usual and it took me a couple of weeks in the end. I really enjoyed the style of writing and connected with several of the characters as they were really fleshed out. The chapters alternate in perspective from multiple children to adults, to even one of the captors. All of the characters were fairly realistic, which I appreciated. Nothing bothers me more than far fetched, unrealistic characters and situations! I can't really say a whole lot more because it would spoil the book, but I would definitely recommend this book to those who enjoy a lighter, action-packed thriller. This was my first book written by Meloy, but I don't intend for it to be my last! Looking forward to seeing what she puts out next!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Val

    I received this book free from Good Reads. It is about two cousins Liv (plus husband Benjamin & 2 children Sebastian 8yrs old & Penny 11yrs old) & Nora (plus husband Raymond & 2 children Marcus 11yrs old & June 6yrs old). They have decided to take a 2 week cruise down the coast of Mexico & Central America over Christmas & the new year. Things do not turn out as they expected. I really enjoyed reading it, it is a page turner & with something happening on every page & I could not wait to see how it a I received this book free from Good Reads. It is about two cousins Liv (plus husband Benjamin & 2 children Sebastian 8yrs old & Penny 11yrs old) & Nora (plus husband Raymond & 2 children Marcus 11yrs old & June 6yrs old). They have decided to take a 2 week cruise down the coast of Mexico & Central America over Christmas & the new year. Things do not turn out as they expected. I really enjoyed reading it, it is a page turner & with something happening on every page & I could not wait to see how it all ended. My only criticism would be that I do not think that the introduction of Noemi & her uncle Chuky added much to the plot.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    I really enjoyed this book - my first by this author. It was a compelling read - two families go on a cruise and their children go missing. I thought that the character development was uneven in that I never could remember which children went with which family and I also could not get a sense of the personalities of most of the children. Even when references were made as to their characteristics, it didn't necessarily jive with my gut feelings about them. But the parents were very well developed I really enjoyed this book - my first by this author. It was a compelling read - two families go on a cruise and their children go missing. I thought that the character development was uneven in that I never could remember which children went with which family and I also could not get a sense of the personalities of most of the children. Even when references were made as to their characteristics, it didn't necessarily jive with my gut feelings about them. But the parents were very well developed and their motivations very clear. All in all it was well written, interesting and suspenseful. I recommend it.

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