To Anybody Out There My name is Jackie McGee. I am the girl who disappeared. Listen to the news. See if other pieces of paper are scattered nearby. Maybe if you yell really loud I can hear you and yell back. I am not making this up. Please help! Left in an underground cement room by an unknown captor, Jackie has food and water but no light or human contact. She does not know when--or if--her abductor will return. As her desperation mounts, Jackie touch-types to focus her mind: letters to her family, a story for her English class, and reflections on her life in the past few months. In her isolation and fear, Jackie is forced to test her emotional boundaries, and in doing so she finds new meaning in her past as well as rich reserves of strength and courage within herself.
The Girl in the Box Ouida Sebestyen Laurel Leaf, 1998 Source: Library
I love scary books, especially if there's some kind of mystery involved. When I read about The Girl in the Box by Ouida Sebestyen in Paperback Crushby Gabrielle Moss, I immediately Interlibrary Loaned it. Moss reported that a majority of the reviews on Goodreads stated how traumatizing the novel was to young readers. I needed to see it for myself.
As an adult, I have read things far more traumatizing than The Girl in the Box. However, I can imagine how much it would've scared me if I had read it as a young teen. (Honestly, I got bored at the story-within-a-story sections and skimmed them.) The premise is odd, and a bit thin if you think about it too much. A kidnapper lets her keep a typewriter??? Why? Sebestyen addressed why the character had the typewriter in the first place, which helped. Overall, I doubt that young minds will question it like adults will. For all readers, the most terrifying part is that there is no epilogue saying that Jackie died. There's also no journal entry saying that she lived, either. It's up to the reader to decide her fate, which is always frustrating - especially to young readers.
Overall, I'm glad that I read it but I wasn't super impressed.