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on 29 January 2013
The Disappeared is intriguing, and entirely gripping. Once I started, I couldn't stop reading! I was captivated from the moment Jackson got sent to the Academy, after his records were deleted from the school files.

I was really impressed by how the author made this so dark and gritty. I love young adult novels that get really into their settings like this one does. I was honestly shocked at some of the things that happened in this book, both in and out of the Academy. This is a proper dystopian, none of this fluffy stuff that you sometimes see in YA.

It took me a long time to grow to like Jackson. In the beginning he thought he was above his peers at the Academy, and he saw them all as stupid thugs since they didn't speak like he did (more on that later). This aspect of his character was the most annoying and disgusting thing, and I honestly felt like stabbing him in the eye. I know, I know, it's how he was raised, but still. No me gusta. Luckily, since the author is a great one, there was character development in there and he got over himself. I still think he has a long way to go, though.

The conditions in the Academy were simply dire. It was dirty, the guards didn't do their jobs, the hierarchy within the students was a mess, the education sucked balls... and it was all brilliant. I've said time and time again that I love the dark stuff, and this is about as dark as it gets. The students all fought one another for a ranking, which was something that I really enjoyed reading about because it reminded me of gladiators, and gladiators are AWESOME. I just have a Spartacus-oriented mind, okay? I love everything related to it.

I said above that the students at the Academy didn't speak like Jackson. That's because they haven't been taught how. Their vocabulary is dismal, and there were several times when I cried because I just felt so bad for them. They were treated like animals, to be honest, and the fact that no one took the time to teach them how to even say sorry was heartbreaking.

I think Kay, the awesome fighter turned love interest, is going to annoy a lot of people in this book. I personally loved her, but she does some things that I know a lot of people don't like - even things that I don't normally like to see a character do. However, I think her ways were totally understandable considering the situation she was in. She did what she had to do.

Overall, I thought this was awesome. C. J. Harper is a very talented storyteller, and can really play with those heart strings. I just wish I had liked Jackson more than I did! Nevertheless, this is a great dystopian novel, and I'd recommend it to those who wish to read something grittier than they normally do. Give it a go!
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John Jackson has a good life; one of the elite who are intelligent and privileged and learning to be a future ruler. With his friend Wilson he goes to deliver a package as requested by his Facilitator. But when Wilson is killed, and nobody seems to know Jackson any more, what can he do? His life has disappeared around him, and he seems to be condemned to a life in an Academy, forced to conform to a brutal and harsh life where children are born and fed to the factory life required by the new society formed after the Long War. But Jackson is not prepared to live like this. He's determined to try and find his old life, and to save a few other lives along the way. But is somebody out to eliminate him? And why?

This is a great book; aimed at an audience probably somewhat younger than me, nevertheless it's a great story, and I never pass up an opportunity to read a great story. Jackson's story is told in the first person, and the immediacy of his plight is well conveyed as he struggles to come to terms with, and then fight against, what has happened to him. The society that has evolved in this world, which seems like the not-too-distant future of our own world, is frighteningly possible.

I'll be looking out for the next book(s) in the series; this is defintely recommended.
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on 13 February 2013
This is a frighteningly real novel. Before I read this book I didn't think that it would be as fast-paced and as exhilarating as it most certainly was. I'm only 9 and probably not in the specified age group that this book was meant for but it would be an excellent book for people of any age. Jackson was a really well crafted character who was immediately likeable and realistic. The reader totally bought into following him and cared about what happened to him too.

The vision of the future is scary and it terrifies me to think that life could be like this if the wrong people were in charge of us.

Perhaps the strongest recommendation I could make for this book, is that you never really know what's going to happen next and so it keeps you on the edge of your seat.

I can't wait for the next one!

If you liked this, try The Alex Rider series of novels by Anthony Horowitz.
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on 28 August 2014
The Disappeared is a Dystopian World story about a Young Man named Blake who is set on a comfortable path in life that will see him become a member of the leadership of his country. However, one day when he and his best friend Wilson are sent on an errand to the lower class factory district, Blake's life takes an unexpected turn removing him from his comfortable world and throwing him into a world of violence and deception where only the strongest are valued.

C.J. Harper's considerable addition to the Young Adult genre is more than worthy of being mentioned along side, and even above the high profile names of the genre including The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Maze Runner. The Disappeared is a thrilling and highly addictive adventure that had be sitting up to the small hours of the night reading until I had to make myself go to sleep. I found myself simply unable to set this book down without immediately wanting to pick it back up and jump straight back into this highly detailed and enthralling world that Harper has created.

Some items I found particularly enjoyable about Harper's writing style in this book:

- Character development of Blake is exceptional. Starting out as an upper class know it all, viewing others as lower than himself made him a rather unlike-able character to me as a reader, but as the story goes on Harper slowly changes Blake into a deep articulate young man whom the reader empathises with and genuinely wants to see succeed.

- The handling of swearing was something I loved, Basic but straight to the point, the author was refreshingly not afraid to be blatant about Young Peoples use of more adult language which shows a really good understanding of her target audience.

- The handling of more adult topics such as sex was brilliantly done. In the majority of Young Adult books it is avoided or ignored completely, But here, Harper tackles it rather head on and isnt afraid to have characters openly speak about it when the subject arises which is very refreshing given how much this subject can be a significant influence on Young Adults.

-The twists and events that happen to Blake really draw you in and make invest in him emotionally. On more than one occasion I found myself actually feeling emotionally upset for him which is something that very few books have ever done for me, which I believe is a true testament to Harpers literary skills.

This Disappeared is a fantastic story with more than enough twists and turns in its 384 pages to keep you page turning for quite some time. I enjoyed this book more than any other that I have read in the Young Adult / Dystopian World genres (Including those I mentioned above) and I cant recommend this highly enough. I very much look forward to seeing what else this author has in store in the future!
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on 10 February 2013
An excellent allegory for the way education is going in the UK. Actually, the book is much more exciting than that sounds - pacy, good descriptions, a sense of unravelling beliefs and claustrophobia, characters you root for, and interesting denouement opening up the necessity of a sequel.
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on 3 June 2016
I read just under a third of this book and gave up. It's not suitably different to a lot of other dystopian teenage novels, but actually isn't as good. The story wasn't going anywhere fast. The main character just spent the whole time moaning about his lot, without actually doing much about it. I just didn't care enough.
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on 3 February 2013
The Disappeared is a futuristic page-turner. It's full of high-octane action, brutality and suspense.

Jackson is a brainer and is studying to join the Leadership and fulfil his natural role in society. Like every student he took a Potential Test as a young child and was identified as a student fit for the Learning Community. But the perfect world (where everyone has a special role in society) which Jackson believes in is ripped away from him when he is asked to do a task for his Facilitator. Along with best friend Wilson, he takes a package to the darker part of town. There he and Wilson are set upon by two violent men. Jackson's life rapidly slips away from him as when he returns to the Learning Community, they have erased all knowledge of him. Jackson is taken by the police to the Academy. To the outside community, the Academy is a school to prepare the less intellectual children for factory life. But Jackson soon finds out that the school is less about education and more about control and punishment. His new home is a prison.

I found this book so easy to read. Every chapter was a great length and ended with a twist, revelation or cliff-hanger. The pace of the novel was so well structured that I just couldn't stop reading on. I felt that I was racing through the story.

As you'd expect of the dystopian genre, the young people are the mercy of the government officials, their teachers - the Enforcers and the system created to keep them down-trodden. The students at the Academies are known as Specials and they have their own hierarchy. Every week there are organised fights where even the youngest pupils compete for a rank. There is violence and brutality in this book. There is murder and abuse. It is a chilling portrayal of a future where an underclass is treated like caged animals.

One of the ways the young people are controlled is the threat of the Wilderness. They are told scary stories of the Wilderness as children and the worst offenders are banished from the Academy and never return from their exile in the Wilderness. The story is not all darkness though. There is hope in the friendships that Jackson makes in the Academy and the students' desire to learn and be more than the animals they are treated like.

If I'm honest I would have preferred more thriller elements to the novel than dystopian ones. But that is just my personal taste. I wanted there to be something more to the title really: "the disappeared". I wanted a juicier reason for them being erased. But don't let that dissuade you from reading this book. It is a gripping and tautly written debut.
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on 27 March 2013
A good debut by the author

The book is set in a dystopian society, ruled by The Leader who controls every facet of life. The story follows a boy named Jackson, an intellectual at the elite Learning Community, who seems destined for great things until his life is turned upside down as he discovers another side to the world he lives in. While he's made to fight for his very survival, he plots his escape to expose the hidden world.

Language Style
Its written in the same style as Mark Walden's H.I.V.E series and the first two Harry Potter books, in a very simple language with very few articulate words. C J Harper definitely has a child reader in mind when she wrote this.

Target Audience
It is a child friendly book from the age of 11 upwards I'd say. As an adult I enjoy young adult books and this is aimed at the same audience who read the H.I.V.E series, Percy Jackson, first two Harry Potter Books and the Hunger Games, although the content is toned down compared to the latter. Although there are fight scenes and quite a few people die, none of its bloody or graphic and is all stated matter of factly. The subject of sex does occur but not in anyway described, seen or heard but the subject matter appear.

A book with few twists but the straight line it travels is entertaining and very enjoyable.
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on 17 August 2014
The Disappeared is a really great book and it is worth reading. I have never stopped reading it, I just got so into the book I couldn't.
It starts off where Jackson is at the top of his game, he is in a Willows Learning Community and when he leaves he wants to go into the leadership. That is until his whole world gets turned up side down. His identerty has been wiped from the system. He has been placed into an Acadermy and has to adapt to their way of life. He finally finds out the truth about the leader and how he knew what was going on at Academy's, Jackson has to find a way to make him pay for the way people in Academy's are treated. He make a plan to get out and it works he gets out with the girl that he loves.
This is only a summary you will have to read the book to find out the whole story.
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on 11 August 2013
When Jackson and best friend, Wilson, leave the comfort of their Learning Community to deliver a package in a factory block, their lives change in an instant. Jackson witnesses his friend tumbling off a balcony and he himself is badly beaten. The police arrive and Jackson asks them to take him back to his school. But when he gets there, it appears he doesn't exist.

Jackson has been wiped from all records and must go to an Academy...a place he has only heard horror stories about. Once in the Academy, he realises the rumours were true and he is in some new kind of hell where the teachers are in cages and the students are drugged to keep them manageable.

He must fight to survive and find a way back where he belongs. But along the way he meets people who aren't all they seem and maybe the events that led him there go deeper than he can ever imagine.

The Disappeared is a new contender in the dystopian genre with the class system a heavy feature. Life for Jackson turns upside down and he struggles to find his way. Whilst it had promise, unfortunately this book fell flat for me, mostly because I strongly disliked Jackson. As a main character I felt he didn't have the strength to carry the weight of the story and he was more than a little bit whiney.

That being said, I am sure it will appeal to a broad audience, and a male protagonist is always a hit in the YA genre.
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