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The Girl in the White Van

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A teen is snatched after her kung fu class and must figure out how to escape—and rescue another kidnapped prisoner—in this chilling YA mystery. 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. A teen is snatched after her kung fu class and must figure out how to escape—and rescue another kidnapped prisoner—in this chilling YA mystery. 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. Master mystery-writer April Henry weaves another heart-stopping young adult thriller in this story ripped straight from the headlines.


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A teen is snatched after her kung fu class and must figure out how to escape—and rescue another kidnapped prisoner—in this chilling YA mystery. 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. A teen is snatched after her kung fu class and must figure out how to escape—and rescue another kidnapped prisoner—in this chilling YA mystery. 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. Master mystery-writer April Henry weaves another heart-stopping young adult thriller in this story ripped straight from the headlines.

30 review for The Girl in the White Van

  1. 5 out of 5

    Līga Sproģe

    I'm sorry but I'm sorry but

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amelia

    Non stop action and the fact that not a single scene was unnecessary or wasted make this a very enjoyable albeit a very short thriller. First off, I have to say that this is not a whodunnit or..well, a mystery book. It really isn't and that's just fine! This book focuses more on the survival and strength of two young girls fighting for their lives instead of figuring out who captured them. Of course, there's also investigative police work and they do try to figure out who kidnapped them, but for Non stop action and the fact that not a single scene was unnecessary or wasted make this a very enjoyable albeit a very short thriller. First off, I have to say that this is not a whodunnit or..well, a mystery book. It really isn't and that's just fine! This book focuses more on the survival and strength of two young girls fighting for their lives instead of figuring out who captured them. Of course, there's also investigative police work and they do try to figure out who kidnapped them, but for me, best part of this book is the girls and their escape plans. The way they think and fight and cooperate to fight against the man who wants to hurt them - it's very intense. Now onto the characters! Savannah is definitely one kick-ass woman. She takes kung fu classes, but it isn't just the fact that she can fight that makes her so strong - it's her attitude. She doesn't want to give up and she'd rather die in her own terms than let her captor kill her. She also bonded with Jenny and their newfound friendship made me root for them even more! Besides that, Savannah is also a strategical thinker and came up with creative solutions and basically wanted to survive, to win no matter what the cost. Jenny, on the other hand, started off as a rather weak character - or that's how it may seem. She has spent the last 10 months in that trailer and does whatever their captor tells her to do and doesn't want to risk escaping. But you know what? There's strength in that too. She spent literally 10 months without stepping outside into the fresh air, without speaking to anyone besides herself and occasionally him, completely alone in that trailer without any hope of a rescue - and she stayed sane. After realizing she can't escape on her own, she adapted to the rules and survived long enough until an opportunity arose. And I think that's just amazing. Especially after you find out everything she went through, you have to admit she's every bit kick-ass as Savannah is. Maybe even more because you know what? Jenny didn't have anyone to talk to, to give her hope, to help her, like Savannah had and Jenny managed to survive anyway, so yeah. I'm a fan of Jenny ;D All in all, this is a very satisfying thriller that you won't be able to drop until you read the whole thing in one sitting like I did XD Also, it doesn't hold back, there are some..slightly gruesome scenes, nothing too much, but still...It adds to the "thrilling" and "intense" factor :D

  3. 4 out of 5

    Fizah(Books tales by me)

    Savannah and her mom are living with her Mom’s new boyfriend for 7-8 months. Savannah and Tim don’t get along. She is so tired of moving states to states and living with her Mom’s ever-changing boyfriends. This time she is connecting to this city and taking Kung Fu classes and loving these. But One day she got kidnapped after her classes. This book was short and the story was quick. I liked the concept behind the book and whole the kidnapping place and struggle scene was well developed. But there Savannah and her mom are living with her Mom’s new boyfriend for 7-8 months. Savannah and Tim don’t get along. She is so tired of moving states to states and living with her Mom’s ever-changing boyfriends. This time she is connecting to this city and taking Kung Fu classes and loving these. But One day she got kidnapped after her classes. This book was short and the story was quick. I liked the concept behind the book and whole the kidnapping place and struggle scene was well developed. But there were so many POV which kind of bothered me. It was more of a thriller than a mystery. This book is more suitable for new YA Thriller/Mystery readers.

  4. 4 out of 5

    McCaid Paul

    *3.5* This book combines elements from Henry’s most notable works, such as Girl, Stolen and The Night She Disappeared. At first, I didn’t mind it. But after awhile, a sense of familiarity struck me. I found so many similarities between the three books that at times, the plot began to feel predictable, like a much watered-down Girl, Stolen. In both books, the heroine is kidnapped by car or moving vehicle and taken to a place seemingly “off the grid.” Girl plots escape, girl attempts escape, and so *3.5* This book combines elements from Henry’s most notable works, such as Girl, Stolen and The Night She Disappeared. At first, I didn’t mind it. But after awhile, a sense of familiarity struck me. I found so many similarities between the three books that at times, the plot began to feel predictable, like a much watered-down Girl, Stolen. In both books, the heroine is kidnapped by car or moving vehicle and taken to a place seemingly “off the grid.” Girl plots escape, girl attempts escape, and so on. But what makes Girl, Stolen so much more gripping than The Girl In The White Van relies in the main character’s disability—she’s blind. Here, we have a heroine who is unfortunately more dull and forgettable, sucking much of the excitement out of the story. Add that in with too many POVs—most of which feel pointless—and the book feels like a bunch of recycled plot points regurgitated on the page. However, once I was able to ignore the familiar plot, things became much more enjoyable. Jenny, in fact, is an interesting character—one who has experienced trauma and paid the price. I also enjoyed being inside the kidnapper’s head, giving an insight into such a twisted mind. Henry’s signature is her suspense, and in the case of this book, it is remarkably done. Scenes begin and end at just the right moments. Pacing is skillfully done throughout, except for a rushed final chapter. I also appreciated the incorporation of Bruce Lee’s quotes at the beginning of nearly every scene, and how his character fueled the two captives to escape. Verdict: Anyone new to the author will find a riveting, intense nail-biter nonetheless. But returning readers might experience a heavy dose of déjà vu.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    Karate chops and Bruce Lee thoughts combine to raise the adrenaline in this new YA thriller from April Henry. We view the situation from multiple POVs: the two girls (Savannah & Jenny), their mothers, the cute boy in Savannah's karate class, and Sir -- the lurking threat. Each Savannah chapter begins with an appropriate Bruce Lee quote like this one: "Do not pray for an easy life. Pray for the strength to endure a difficult one." What I most appreciated about this book was the cooperation betwee Karate chops and Bruce Lee thoughts combine to raise the adrenaline in this new YA thriller from April Henry. We view the situation from multiple POVs: the two girls (Savannah & Jenny), their mothers, the cute boy in Savannah's karate class, and Sir -- the lurking threat. Each Savannah chapter begins with an appropriate Bruce Lee quote like this one: "Do not pray for an easy life. Pray for the strength to endure a difficult one." What I most appreciated about this book was the cooperation between Savannah and Jenny as they worked together to escape captivity. Their struggle is not pretty. Can they overcome the obstacles that stand in their way? The rules keep changing and their resources are few. This is real self-defense in action. Will it be enough? I will be reading more April Henry books and recommending them to the teens at my library. Thank you to Henry Holt and Co. and Edelweiss for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    Savannah is kidnapped after Kung Fu class taken to a trailer that houses Jenny, a girl take nearly a year ago. Together they must fight to escape, before Sir, their abductor, kills them. THE GIRL IN THE WHITE VAN is a typical action packed April Henry novel. A lot happens in a short amount of time in this fast paced story. Told from multiple points of view, some from minor characters, I didn’t have a real feel for the complexity of anyone beyond a stereotypical sketch. My only issue with the story Savannah is kidnapped after Kung Fu class taken to a trailer that houses Jenny, a girl take nearly a year ago. Together they must fight to escape, before Sir, their abductor, kills them. THE GIRL IN THE WHITE VAN is a typical action packed April Henry novel. A lot happens in a short amount of time in this fast paced story. Told from multiple points of view, some from minor characters, I didn’t have a real feel for the complexity of anyone beyond a stereotypical sketch. My only issue with the story was Rex, the viscous dog, who Savannah and Jenny must fight. I don’t like to read hurting of any animals, especially not pages and pages of fighting back (spoiler alert: the dog isn’t seriously harmed, but still). This angle felt unnecessary. All in all, THE GIRL IN THE WHITE VAN is a quick, satisfying read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Madison

    Girl in the White Van is exactly the kind of book I am always on the lookout for to add to our mystery/thriller YA collection. It is an engaging, quick read, with strong characters. Girl in the White Van is a thrilling book. Scary but hopefully, dark and gritty but full of empowerment and a sense of justice. Savannah is just waiting until she turns 18 and she can escape her mother’s toxic pattern of moving in with random guys. While she doesn’t love living with her mother’s latest boyfriend, she Girl in the White Van is exactly the kind of book I am always on the lookout for to add to our mystery/thriller YA collection. It is an engaging, quick read, with strong characters. Girl in the White Van is a thrilling book. Scary but hopefully, dark and gritty but full of empowerment and a sense of justice. Savannah is just waiting until she turns 18 and she can escape her mother’s toxic pattern of moving in with random guys. While she doesn’t love living with her mother’s latest boyfriend, she is enjoying living in Portland. She loves her Kung fu class and is just getting to know one of her classmates, Daniel. But on the way home from class, Savannah is grabbed by a man in a white van. Drugged, hurt and confused, Savannah wakes in an old trailer home. But she isn’t alone. Jenny was taken nine months ago. While the majority of the chapters are written from Savannah’s perspective, there are also chapters from Jenny, Daniel, Jenny and Savannah’s parents’ perspective and a variety of other side characters, including the suspects. The reader is given an insight into the person responsible, but the mystery of who they are remains and builds the tension. While there is a fair bit of fighting, injuries and violence and an overall sense of bad things, the story is clean from sexual content or coarse language, so I’ll be happy to promote this with readers ages 12 and up who are okay with violence, which is really hard to find in YA mystery thrillers. The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own. Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog Madison's Library

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay Nixon

    This is a quick thriller about a kidnapped teen girl that escapes (no sexual violence or gory cruelty depicted). I also liked how the author used multiple narrators fluidly, they helped make the book feel different from other similar storylines. I will describe this book as “YA” because of how lightly dark themes are treaded on (+ it would be suitable for most teens compared to other psychological thrillers) but (!!) book doesn’t come across as “YA.” In other words, it qualifies as PG but is not This is a quick thriller about a kidnapped teen girl that escapes (no sexual violence or gory cruelty depicted). I also liked how the author used multiple narrators fluidly, they helped make the book feel different from other similar storylines. I will describe this book as “YA” because of how lightly dark themes are treaded on (+ it would be suitable for most teens compared to other psychological thrillers) but (!!) book doesn’t come across as “YA.” In other words, it qualifies as PG but is not a typical PG “Disney” Kids/teens movie. Overall, I enjoyed it and liked the main character. I felt she was fairly well developed and I liked how she wasn’t your typical shiny suburban belle. (Savannah is very “real world” both in her appearance/personality and her upbringing). Admittedly, I was disappointed with the somewhat abrupt ending and the pacing, which is why I didn’t rate the book higher. This book started out at a nice, steady pace, and then sped up rapidly at the end. Sadly, the speed here means shallow and rushed (did the author get bored? Miss a deadline?) and not speed as in a “fast and furious” race. Good for a car ride. Especially if you have teens in the car. SUMMARY: Savannah lives with her mom and her mom’s current boyfriend in the Portland area. Savannah doesn’t have many friends because her mom moves them from guy to guy (and city to city) often, but she’s recently started Martial arts lessons and is meeting people that way, including a cute senior at her school. She also loves Portland and doesn’t want to move again. After talking to the cute senior on her way home from class, savannah is kidnapped. Police initially dismiss her as a runaway, having learned Savannah was in conflict with the mothers boyfriend. Eventually, Savannah’s mother, Savannah’s crush/boyfriend, and a local man with law enforcement investigate/look for Savannah. Meanwhile, when Savannah wakes up, a girl her age, Jenny, is tending her wounds. (Savannah was injured trying to escape her capture—she jumped from a moving car and was subsequently tased). Although Jenny’s face is horribly mangled (described as “Frankenstein”), savannah recognizes her as a missing person from a nearby county. Jenny tells savannah about her (Jenny’s) kidnapping and their mutual kidnapper—“Sir”. Jenny also reveals how her face became scared: she tried to run and the kidnappers dog is trained to kill. Despite Jenny’s protests, savannah looks for ways to escape the RV they’re confined to. (The dog is circling the RV outside, and the door is locked). Chapters alternate between Savannah, Jenny, the cute senior (Savannah’s crush), his dad (law enforcement), the kidnapper, Savannah’s mom, and her abusive/drunk boyfriend.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sandy O'Brien

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. April Henry is one on my go-tos for murder mystery in my 8th grade classroom and this book definitely didn’t let me down. In fact, it might have been my favorite. Savannah is on her way home from king fu and is abducted. From trying to jump from a moving van to pushing Jenny, another abducted girl, to assert herself more, she is a fighter in every sense of the way. I also love that it is told into multiple POVs. From Savannah to her mom to the police detective to Sir who has abducted her. This boo April Henry is one on my go-tos for murder mystery in my 8th grade classroom and this book definitely didn’t let me down. In fact, it might have been my favorite. Savannah is on her way home from king fu and is abducted. From trying to jump from a moving van to pushing Jenny, another abducted girl, to assert herself more, she is a fighter in every sense of the way. I also love that it is told into multiple POVs. From Savannah to her mom to the police detective to Sir who has abducted her. This book is going to fly off my class library shelf. Thanks for the ARC MacMillian. 💙

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dylan

    I've read 6/9 of April's YA books and I've given all of them 1 or two stars. What can I say? I believe in second chances. Or sixth, it seems.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    Another excellent thriller from April Henry. The topic is dark: a teen girl is snatched from the sidewalk right in front of her kung fu dojo, and put in a trailer with another girl, Jenny, the kidnapper's first victim nearly a year ago. Jenny, badly misfigured from a dog attack when she tried to escape, has resigned herself to her fate and is just overjoyed to have company, but the newest victim, Savannah, is determined to escape, and the sooner the better. Despite injuries she sustained when he Another excellent thriller from April Henry. The topic is dark: a teen girl is snatched from the sidewalk right in front of her kung fu dojo, and put in a trailer with another girl, Jenny, the kidnapper's first victim nearly a year ago. Jenny, badly misfigured from a dog attack when she tried to escape, has resigned herself to her fate and is just overjoyed to have company, but the newest victim, Savannah, is determined to escape, and the sooner the better. Despite injuries she sustained when he grabbed her, she's going to do everything she can to get out of his clutches before the worse happens. I could NOT put this book down, and I know many teens who won't be able to either!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Many thanks to EdelweissPlus and the publisher for providing me with a DRC of this title for review purposes. All opinions are my own. April Henry has done it again. She has turned out ANOTHER solid mystery/thriller story perfect for middle school and young adult readers. This is a fast-paced thriller that uses multiple perspectives and points of view to draw the reader in. Savannah is new to the area, having moved to Portland with her mom about 7 months ago so they could live with the mom's new Many thanks to EdelweissPlus and the publisher for providing me with a DRC of this title for review purposes. All opinions are my own. April Henry has done it again. She has turned out ANOTHER solid mystery/thriller story perfect for middle school and young adult readers. This is a fast-paced thriller that uses multiple perspectives and points of view to draw the reader in. Savannah is new to the area, having moved to Portland with her mom about 7 months ago so they could live with the mom's new boyfriend, Tim. She met Tim on-line and the persona he told her about isn't exactly what they got. Now, all Savannah has is her Kung Fu classes and the hope of making a friend in class. When Tim gets into an argument with her before class and takes her phone away, she runs out. After class, she is taken, but everyone assumes she has just run away. The only other student in the Kung Fu class that is her age is Daniel and he doesn't think she ran away. He's determined to find out what happened to her. After Savannah is taken, Sir (her kidnapper) takes her to an abandoned RV in a junkyard. There she meets his first victim, Jenny. Savannah is determined to use her training and her skills to get them out of the RV, but Jenny knows what happens when you try to escape. She has the scars to prove it. Together they need to figure out if an attempt escape is worth it even if it fails. Highly recommend this one. This is a SOLID purchase for almost all middle school and young adult collections, especially if your students/readers are anything like those in my building. I can NOT keep April Henry books in stock and they are all very "well-loved" looking at the end of the year. Appropriate for grades 7 and up.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Anna {I need to scream but it's never loud enough}

    This book was really good! The story line had intricate characters and moved quickly, switching between POVs. Some of the POVs were a little more boring than others, such as Jenny's brother (which I sort of feel bad about) since he was more of a side character that didn't do much in the story itself. He wasn't a bad character, but just not as much was revealed about him as the others. I think it was pretty realistic in what happened, not that I've been kidnapped, but according to the real storie This book was really good! The story line had intricate characters and moved quickly, switching between POVs. Some of the POVs were a little more boring than others, such as Jenny's brother (which I sort of feel bad about) since he was more of a side character that didn't do much in the story itself. He wasn't a bad character, but just not as much was revealed about him as the others. I think it was pretty realistic in what happened, not that I've been kidnapped, but according to the real stories I've heard about in general, it was realistic. Sir was honestly really creepy and I guess I didn't expect any less. In his POV, he described himself as the hunter after the prey of the perfect girl. Reallly creepy and twisted. 🤢 And he tried getting the girl he wanted because dating never worked, he didn't want to be talked back to, and he wanted her just the way he liked, so he worked to "train" them, in a sense. Or at least try. Yuck, yuck, yuck! I really hated Tim at first, as he was a bad boyfriend for Savannah's mom, but I was very relieved when he passed on the note: (view spoiler)[ Last month, she passed on a handwritten note. In it, Tim apologized for his behavior and said he was in anger management counseling. He wrote that he was trying to learn what it meant to be a man. (hide spoiler)] I silently cheered him on for making such a great decision! :P Content: Language--Very light language, such as cru*, as*, and taking God's name in vain once. Sexy Stuff/Romance--Daniel and Savannah like each other, Savannah's mom wants someone to love her so she's constantly getting new boyfriends, one tiny kiss at the very end of the story Violence--Kidnappings, several uses of a taser, character breaks their bone, another cracks their skull, one character has a disfigured face due to a dog attack, the dog tries attacking them several times, taekwondo, Sir has ideas of what he wants the girls for (hinted) but it doesn't go that far 15+ for some scary content/kidnapping scenes

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marti

    The Girl in the White Van by April Henry is a young adult thriller! Once again April Henry’s book highlights a strong female protagonist. I love how April Henry’s characters are kick butts and take names. I think her books help other young females feel empowered. Savannah is a young girl determined to be resilient, to find her way and to make a life for herself. The problems seem overwhelming as she has moved again, her mother’s newest boyfriend is a jerk and she is afraid to make friends again. The Girl in the White Van by April Henry is a young adult thriller! Once again April Henry’s book highlights a strong female protagonist. I love how April Henry’s characters are kick butts and take names. I think her books help other young females feel empowered. Savannah is a young girl determined to be resilient, to find her way and to make a life for herself. The problems seem overwhelming as she has moved again, her mother’s newest boyfriend is a jerk and she is afraid to make friends again. Savannah loves her kung fu class and is kidnapped leaving class. Now she is trapped and doesn’t know where she is. Her mother is frantic and a boy in her class helps look for her, but she doesn’t know that. She only knows she has to leave and take Jenny with her! The Girl in the White Van by April Henry is a good read!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jenni

    Another thriller from April Henry. This one focuses on a girl named Savannah, who is kidnapped after her kung fu class and taken away in a white van. How will she get away? And who is this man who wants her to call him "Sir"? We also meet Jenny, another girl who was kidnapped by Sir some ten months ago. A book that will keep you on the edge of your seat until you finish. Just as good as Henry's other books.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Natasha | readwithnatasha

    review to come

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    A fun 'girl fights back' ya thriller

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    *Source* Publisher *Genre* Young Adult / Suspense *Rating* 3.5 *Thoughts* "Do not pray for an easy life. Pray for the strength to endure a difficult one." credited to Bruce Lee Author April Henry's The Girl in the White Van is a suspenseful story that focuses on 16-year old Savannah Taylor. (A word to the wise, do not go into this book thinking that the entire thing is going to be from Savannah's narrative. Get ready for Daniel Diaz, Sir, Michael Diaz, Jenny, Bob, and Amy Dowd.) Savannah and her moth *Source* Publisher *Genre* Young Adult / Suspense *Rating* 3.5 *Thoughts* "Do not pray for an easy life. Pray for the strength to endure a difficult one." credited to Bruce Lee Author April Henry's The Girl in the White Van is a suspenseful story that focuses on 16-year old Savannah Taylor. (A word to the wise, do not go into this book thinking that the entire thing is going to be from Savannah's narrative. Get ready for Daniel Diaz, Sir, Michael Diaz, Jenny, Bob, and Amy Dowd.) Savannah and her mother are used to moving around a lot. Her mother, Lorraine Taylor, can't settle down with just one boyfriend. She's had plenty. But, perhaps there's light at the end of the tunnel when they settle down in Portland with Tim Hixon. *Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews* https://gizmosreviews.blogspot.com/20...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    Another great mystery/thriller by April Henry. I loved how each chapter began with a quote from Bruce Lee and the main character, Samantha, practiced taekwondo which helped her fight off her attacker. The multiple perspectives added additional suspension. Highly recommend to reluctant readers and students 6th grade on up!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Finley

    I received a physical copy of this novel through a giveaway hosted on GoodReads. At its core, The Girl In The White Van is the story of Savannah Taylor, a teenage girl who is kidnapped one evening from the parking lot outside her kung-fu class. However, she is not the only one who this story is about. Just as in a real-life missing person's case, this novel is about all the people involved in her case as well, and the steps they take and emotions they undergo in the aftermath of her disappearance I received a physical copy of this novel through a giveaway hosted on GoodReads. At its core, The Girl In The White Van is the story of Savannah Taylor, a teenage girl who is kidnapped one evening from the parking lot outside her kung-fu class. However, she is not the only one who this story is about. Just as in a real-life missing person's case, this novel is about all the people involved in her case as well, and the steps they take and emotions they undergo in the aftermath of her disappearance. It follows Savannah's mother, and the boyfriend who is under suspicion after it is found he has violence in his past. Is it about the policeman heading the search for her, and his son who goes to school with Savannah and refuses to sit still while the girl he has begun to fall in love with is unaccounted for. And, if is also about Jenny Dowd, a young woman who disappeared almost a year before Savannah, and has been surviving but barely living in an RV in a junkyard when the mysterious Sir brings home an unconscious Savannah and tasks his first victim with teaching his second how he expects them to behave. But Savannah will not behave, nor will she allow Jenny to continue sitting by and simply accepting her circumstance when neither of their continued survival is guaranteed. Using a mixture of her martial arts training and resourcefulness, and spurred on by the philosophies of Bruce Lee laid out in his biography, Savannah desperately searches for a way to get her and her new companion out into the world, or die trying. I was on the edge of my seat throughout this whole novel. Henry builds an intriguing story, examining the effects of a missing person's case from every angle. And by setting Jenny's long-term case against Savannah's recent kidnapping, she allows readers to compare and contrast a mother only freshly torn apart by her daughter's disappearance with the scarred but still festering wound of a mother who has slowly begun to lose hope as every day makes her worst fears ever more likely, and does so without needing to drag out the story. Every character that Henry gives voice to is unique and well fleshed out, and each adds their own spice to the story. Each voice rang out in my head as they told their part of the story, and they weave together so flawlessly that I often found myself beginning a new chapter the moment I finished the last, the story flowing together like water in a clear riverbed. This is an incredibly good novel, and I cannot recommend it enough. As a young adult novel focusing on the victim of an abduction, this book would make an excellent resource to help young woman feel more confident in this scary world, and give them some idea of what they could do if, gods forbid, they ever find themselves in a dangerous situation themselves. It could easily be enjoyable, however, for both young and older adults of any gender, as the story pulls no punches with the realities of abduction, holding all the raw fear of those involved that Savannah or Jenny could be found dead at any moment, orf that Sir could do to them something that might make they wish he had simply killed them instead. If you are looking for a novel to show how anyone can be a hero for themselves or other, if only they refuse to give up on their own inner strength, or just want an exciting and suspenseful read, seriously consider picking up The Girl In The White Van. Just be warned: you may not be able to put it down until you have read the last page.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Katie Steele

    Check out the original review and more on NovelKnight! This book was provided by the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I've recently realized I love the genre of thrillers. After reading several crime thrillers that blew me away, I decided to venture into the YA thriller genre with The Girl in the White Van. And while I wouldn't say I was disappointed, there was definitely a level of suspense that was lacking in this book. Overall, it wasn' Check out the original review and more on NovelKnight! This book was provided by the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I've recently realized I love the genre of thrillers. After reading several crime thrillers that blew me away, I decided to venture into the YA thriller genre with The Girl in the White Van. And while I wouldn't say I was disappointed, there was definitely a level of suspense that was lacking in this book. Overall, it wasn't a bad read, and was a really quick one. But it wasn't a favorite for me, and lacked the substance I'd been hoping for. The story itself was okay. The plot begged for tension that I never felt, despite the fact that the main character was literally kidnapped. I think the writing was in part to blame here, but also the quick pace of the story. I would have thought fast-pacing would work well for this sort of book, but in this case it just led to a lack of build-up. Things happened so quickly that my brain didn't really get the chance to accept the situations as suspenseful. Paired with average writing, it left me wanting more. There were some really great moments though. I loved the bits about the girls learning self-defense techniques. And I wasn't expecting so many point-of-view shifts, which ended up being one of my favorite aspects of the book. The switching and unexpected POVs actually did more to serve the tension of the book than the story itself did. And I did really like the ending. I can't say that any part of it really surprised me, rather it was pretty much exactly what I expected from early on, but it was well executed and fun to read. The characters were interesting. Savannah was a decent main character, quick thinking and easy to root for. I enjoyed Jenny's part a lot more, she was intriguing and dynamic from the first moment she appeared on the page. I really didn't enjoy the love interest Daniel's chapters. I couldn't stand him or the ways he handled the investigation into Savannah's disappearance. Like, dude, tell your COP DAD anything you know! The other characters that got featured chapters were fun, adding a bit more personality to the story than I think it would have had if only Savannah and Jenny had been at the forefront. Would I recommend The Girl in the White Van? Eh, sure, why not. Don't go into it expecting thriller of the year and you'll be golden. It's short and easy to read, with enough substance to make it interesting. I'm not sure that I'll read more from the author, as I don't think this one was suited to my tastes, but I can see some fans of the genre enjoying it. For More Bookish Content: Blog || Twitter || Facebook || Bloglovin'

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kylie

    Thanks to Netgalley and Macmillan for the ARC. Find my overviews of books for middle school-age readers at Flashlight Chronicles: www.flashlightchronicles.com. This story of two girls escaping captivity in an RV is tense and scary without veering too far into mature content for a middle school audience. Recommended grade level: 7 and up Genre(s) and keywords: thriller, mystery Topics: kidnapping, martial arts, escape Themes: courage, determination, hope Who will like this book?: Thrillers are an easy s Thanks to Netgalley and Macmillan for the ARC. Find my overviews of books for middle school-age readers at Flashlight Chronicles: www.flashlightchronicles.com. This story of two girls escaping captivity in an RV is tense and scary without veering too far into mature content for a middle school audience. Recommended grade level: 7 and up Genre(s) and keywords: thriller, mystery Topics: kidnapping, martial arts, escape Themes: courage, determination, hope Who will like this book?: Thrillers are an easy sell. Give this quick, exciting book to adrenaline-seekers. The girls are realistically frightened and overpowered at times, but also use cleverness, courage, and athleticism to take back agency. Who won’t like this book?: It's straight-up adrenaline-fueled genre fiction, with a little character building thrown in. There isn't a ton of depth to the plot, and the writing is straightforward, all of which serves to keep the action moving. Other comments: Kidnapping is an interesting subject to many middle schoolers, but you have to be careful because it often comes along with other abuses, some of them much more potentially disturbing to read about. In this case, the kidnapper's motive is to (view spoiler)[have a perfect woman to "own," intended to be docile and completely under his control. It's never mentioned that this would certainly include sexual abuse. (hide spoiler)] I think a lot of middle schoolers' minds wouldn't even go there--and if they did, there are still no descriptions of it in this book. So you could probably get away with recommending this to most younger teens who aren't too sensitive. Readalikes: Any other April Henry books. Some are a little more mature than others, so check reviews if that's a concern. I've read The Girl I Used to Be, which I will recommend to most middle schoolers, and Girl, Stolen , which I tend to recommend to a little more mature middle schoolers because it has sexual violence. Stolen Children by Peg Kehret: A kidnapping story from a master of the youth thriller. Zero Day by Jan Gangsei: The president's daughter is returned home after being kidnapped and missing for years, but the thrills aren't over yet. Recommended for grades 8 and up. Notes from my Captivity by Kathy Parks: Another kidnapping, more interpersonal drama. Recommended for grades 8 and up. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney: A classic. The kidnapping is subtler in this one.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cassie-Traveling Sister-

    This was a quick read for me and it definitely grabbed me! Savanna and her mom have moved to Portland to live with her moms latest boyfriend. There have been a string of boyfriends her mom as met online, and they move each time to live with them until they break up and move again. Tim isn’t exactly what he described on his profile and she tries to avoid him the best she can. Finding a bright light in a Kung Fu class. It has helped her build her confidence. One night after a fight where Tim threa This was a quick read for me and it definitely grabbed me! Savanna and her mom have moved to Portland to live with her moms latest boyfriend. There have been a string of boyfriends her mom as met online, and they move each time to live with them until they break up and move again. Tim isn’t exactly what he described on his profile and she tries to avoid him the best she can. Finding a bright light in a Kung Fu class. It has helped her build her confidence. One night after a fight where Tim threatened to take Kung Fu away she runs out of the house leaving behind her phone. While her mom works the night shift she’s unable to pick her up. After a talk with a fellow student Daniel who she has a crush on she lies and says her moms picking her up, it’s dark and she’s distracted while walking home, she doesn’t notice the white van pulling up and the man get out. A man overpowers her and kidnaps her. After trying to jump out of the van she hurts her wrist and hits her head. When she doesn’t show up for school many just believe she just ran away! Waking up she’s in an RV and she’s not alone. Another girl Jenny whose been held captive for a year is there! A dog guards the door outside so they can’t escape. Jenny tells her that she needs to follow rules, you must call the man Sir, do not make eye contact and keep the RV clean. Knowing the only way they will survive is to escape Savanna starts to create a plan to escape with the help from Jenny and they hope it’s not to late! This was a page turner I could feel the girls fear and I was quickly turning pages I had to know what was going to happen!! Four and half stars!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    “After she left kung fu class, Savannah was kidnapped by a man who tasered her and then dragged her into a vehicle.” Savannah Taylor is 16. She’s lived all over the country with her mother, who is constantly looking for her true love. Currently, they’re living in Portland, Oregon with Tim--her mother’s new flavor of the month. When Tim and Savannah get into a fight, Savannah storms out and heads to her safe place, her kung fu class. Class is perfect, and over way too soon. When Savannah leaves, “After she left kung fu class, Savannah was kidnapped by a man who tasered her and then dragged her into a vehicle.” Savannah Taylor is 16. She’s lived all over the country with her mother, who is constantly looking for her true love. Currently, they’re living in Portland, Oregon with Tim--her mother’s new flavor of the month. When Tim and Savannah get into a fight, Savannah storms out and heads to her safe place, her kung fu class. Class is perfect, and over way too soon. When Savannah leaves, the worst happens. She tries to fight back but is tased and put in a white van and sped away to a trailer where another girl is being held captive. Held for 10 months, Jenny Dowd is scarred and terrified of their captor. While she’s grateful to have another human in the trailer, she’s terrified of what Sir will do to Savannah. The two must work together to escape from their captor and his vicious dog, Rex, before their captor gets bored of them. I didn’t really love this book. It was well-written, the characters actually talk and act like teenagers, and it’s fast-paced, which usually means I would love it, but I had a hard time connecting with it. It could be due to the fact that I’m 8 years older than Savannah, or it could be that this just wasn’t the right time for me to read this book. That being said, I was very impressed with it, even if I struggled to get through it. The characters are incredibly developed and well thought out. I loved that it was told from different perspectives, so we were able to see the story unfolding from all angles. I do wish the ending didn’t seem as rushed, though. I think this would be great for fans of Lois Duncan and Meg Cabot.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Meulen Ellison

    April Henry has made a name for herself by writing short, creepy thrillers featuring strong and sarcastic, but still vulnerable young women who wind up in very dangerous situations and have to rescue themselves. Readers love them and I’m one of those readers. This new book does not disappoint in any way. Savannah Taylor has just moved to the Portland area with her mom and they have shacked up with mom’s new boyfriend, who is not the hero in shining armor that mom hoped he would be. Savannah is c April Henry has made a name for herself by writing short, creepy thrillers featuring strong and sarcastic, but still vulnerable young women who wind up in very dangerous situations and have to rescue themselves. Readers love them and I’m one of those readers. This new book does not disappoint in any way. Savannah Taylor has just moved to the Portland area with her mom and they have shacked up with mom’s new boyfriend, who is not the hero in shining armor that mom hoped he would be. Savannah is counting the days until she’s 18 and can start fending for herself. In the meantime, she’s keeping a low profile but has developed an absolute love for kung fu and Bruce Lee. Her low profile hasn’t kept her from being noticed by a predator in his white van. He takes her one day while she’s walking home from the gym. Initially everyone thinks that she’s run away after having an argument with her mom’s boyfriend. It’s only when people start digging further that they realize she’s been abducted. In true April Henry style, we are also following her story. We discover that she’s not the first girl taken by this man. April Henry gives the reader lots of points of view, including the abductor, which always makes my skin crawl, but it certainly makes the story really fascinating. The best parts, however, are when the resourceful main character starts to try to find ways to MacGuyver their way out of the situation. This particular book was made even more interesting by the apt Bruc Lee quotes at the front of each chapter.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sally Kruger

    I didn't mind the rain today because I had this book to read! THE GIRL IN THE WHITE VAN by April Henry is definitely a page-turner, and I believe one of her best. Told in alternating voices, readers get into the minds of multiple characters as the thriller unfolds. Savannah has moved every year for as long as she can remember. Her mother follows men from city to city, and Savannah seems to just tag along. Now they are in Portland, Oregon, and she's hoping to stay put for awhile, but things aren't I didn't mind the rain today because I had this book to read! THE GIRL IN THE WHITE VAN by April Henry is definitely a page-turner, and I believe one of her best. Told in alternating voices, readers get into the minds of multiple characters as the thriller unfolds. Savannah has moved every year for as long as she can remember. Her mother follows men from city to city, and Savannah seems to just tag along. Now they are in Portland, Oregon, and she's hoping to stay put for awhile, but things aren't all hugs and kisses with her mom's boyfriend so who knows. The martial arts class Savannah is taking is the only thing keeping her together. After watching through the window for a week, Savannah was invited in and now she's using her weekend babysitting money to pay for classes at the dojo. After mopping up with a nice guy named Daniel, she heads home, but a strange man in a white van has other ideas. He grabs her in the deserted parking lot, tasers her, and drags her into the van. Channeling her hero Bruce Lee, Savannah slides to the back doors of the van and manages to leap out. Despite a broken wrist and abrasions from her frantic leap, she runs, but she winds up unconscious and back in the van. When she wakes up, she is in an old RV and she's not alone. Another girl named Jenny has been a captive of Sir for ten months. Together they plan their escape. Can they avoid the vicious dog guarding the exterior of the RV? Can they outwit or attack their captor before he can kill them? Get a copy of THE GIRL IN THE WHITE VAN and find out for yourself!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Harris

    I’ve had my eye on this book for months, waiting for its publication date, and I was excited to be able to snag a NetGalley preview copy! have read almost all of April Henry’s books and was excited to host her for an author visit in my school library, but then our schools were closed the week she was supposed to come. Like her other quick-read YA thrillers, this one has good appeal for the reluctant reader crowd. Personally, I like to see more depth of character development in novels, and the pl I’ve had my eye on this book for months, waiting for its publication date, and I was excited to be able to snag a NetGalley preview copy! have read almost all of April Henry’s books and was excited to host her for an author visit in my school library, but then our schools were closed the week she was supposed to come. Like her other quick-read YA thrillers, this one has good appeal for the reluctant reader crowd. Personally, I like to see more depth of character development in novels, and the plot could use some more twists/turns/hangups if the target audience were adult readers, but that would require more pages, which then makes my reluctant teenage readers skip right past it. It’s excellent for its target audience as is. April Henry does a great job riding that line of sufficient detail vs too much detail, and she keeps her stories moving. I also appreciate the way April Henry addresses difficult subjects, like a teenage girl having to follow her mom to live with one new boyfriend after another, but she keeps the plot centrally focused. The strong female main characters demonstrate the value of persistence, even when it looks like you’re overpowered. I definitely recommend this for high school libraries!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    Edelweiss+ provided me a DRC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Though not my favorite April Henry book, this one is fast-paced and action-packed. The story follows the abduction of teenager and kung-fu student Savannah, and she soon finds out she's not the first girl her abductor has taken. I enjoyed the dynamic between the abducted girls, and I loved that we got two watch not one but TWO young women be courageous and smart and ingenuitive in the face of danger. Their chapters are th Edelweiss+ provided me a DRC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Though not my favorite April Henry book, this one is fast-paced and action-packed. The story follows the abduction of teenager and kung-fu student Savannah, and she soon finds out she's not the first girl her abductor has taken. I enjoyed the dynamic between the abducted girls, and I loved that we got two watch not one but TWO young women be courageous and smart and ingenuitive in the face of danger. Their chapters are the best of the book, and not just because their abduction drives the story. Unfortunately the addition too many other perspectives (a boy Savannah likes, his policeman dad, Savannah's mother and stepfather, the abductor, Jenny's mom and dad, etc.) kept the characters from developing in a meaningful way. There is also a lot of buildup for a climax and resolution that take place in only a few pages with just a "wrap-up" chapter to explain everything away. While Henry's stories are super popular with many of my reluctant readers, sometimes there just isn't enough substance for this adult reader.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Emilia E

    I read the novel The Girl in the White Van by April Henry. This book is about a girl, Savannah, who was just walking home and gets kidnapped right outside her dojo that she practices karate at. She then talks about the struggles she goes through trying to escape and who she meets on the way. While she is kidnapped, her friend, the sheriff and her mom all try to figure out who might have been. I decided to read this book because I like suspense, so I asked a couple friends if they had a book in I read the novel The Girl in the White Van by April Henry. This book is about a girl, Savannah, who was just walking home and gets kidnapped right outside her dojo that she practices karate at. She then talks about the struggles she goes through trying to escape and who she meets on the way. While she is kidnapped, her friend, the sheriff and her mom all try to figure out who might have been. I decided to read this book because I like suspense, so I asked a couple friends if they had a book in mind. My friend from my old school said she read this book and it was really good so I knew I had to read it. Savannah, the main character was kidnapped by a guy who went by Sir. During her kidnapping she meets another one of his girls he had taken, Jenny. They both try to escape the trailer together that they are locked they find new and creative ways to plot there escape. This book is very similar to other kidnappings, the book describes a stalker-like vehicle following the girls around. I have read many articles and seen many movies that are almost exactly like this. I would recommend this book to people who like thrillers and action and can pay attention to the little details to make sure they are engaged with the different point of views portrayed in the book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mrs. Kenyon

    Savannah is not looking forward to returning home after kung fu class. She fought with her mother’s boyfriend and she knows she will need to grovel to get in his good graces. Her thoughts quickly change gears when she is attacked outside of her kung fu class and is kidnapped by a man driving a white van. When she finally wakes up from her head injury, she finds that she is not alone. Jenny was kidnapped 10 months earlier and has been tasked with getting Savannah trained properly. But this captor Savannah is not looking forward to returning home after kung fu class. She fought with her mother’s boyfriend and she knows she will need to grovel to get in his good graces. Her thoughts quickly change gears when she is attacked outside of her kung fu class and is kidnapped by a man driving a white van. When she finally wakes up from her head injury, she finds that she is not alone. Jenny was kidnapped 10 months earlier and has been tasked with getting Savannah trained properly. But this captor does not know what he has grabbed. Savannah may only be an orange belt, but she has the heart of Bruce Lee and plans to get both of them out alive … if she can. The Girl in the White Van is a stand-alone young adult mystery that reads short, yet not so sweet. Henry has crafted a story that gets quickly into the turmoil and brings readers into the mystery without wasting a lot of pages. Although I felt like the story could have used more details, the fact that it was barely over 200 pages means that readers can easily sit down and read it in one sitting. Once again, Henry has written a young adult thriller that will be easily consumed by boys and girls alike.

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