Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2024) Feature Review: Missing Clarissa by Ripley Jones

  • Missing Clarissa
  • by Ripley Jones
  • Publisher: Wednesday Books
  • Imprint: St. Martin’s Publishing Group
  • Release date: March 7, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781250801968

Twenty years ago, a popular cheerleader named Clarissa Campbell disappeared from a summer party in the woods. In the present day, best friends Blair and Cameron create a podcast as a school project that will explore this still unsolved mystery. In the years since Clarissa vanished, the story has taken on urban legend-like status in their rural, Washington community. But as the girls dig deeper into the case, they begin to uncover secrets that could put them in very real danger.

Missing Clarissa is a suspenseful, and intricately plotted book that is just over 250 pages. This makes it a quick read that is perfect for readers who prefer shorter books. The story is primarily plot-driven, but the two main characters have distinctive personalities. The podcast plot device is not new, but it will still appeal to teens who are fans of true crime in real life.

 For readers who also enjoyed A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson and Cold by Mariko Tamaki.

-Julianne Novetsky

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: April 25, 2023
Release Date: April 11, 2023

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.

“Life after Theft” – Stealing and Redemption in YA Books

Image Credit: Flickr user B Garrett
Image Credit: Flickr user B Garrett

A few weeks ago, a friend and I finally got around to watching Bling Ring, Sofia Coppola’s 2013 film based on the true story of a group of privileged teens from Calabasas, California who robbed several Hollywood celebrities’ homes between 2008 and 2009. Drawing from Nancy Jo Sales’s 2010 Vanity Fair article, The Suspects Wore Louboutins, Coppola’s film is a cinematic schadenfreude delving into celebrity obsession, excessive materialism, and youthful recklessness. I’m definitely one of those people who watches based-on-a-true-story movies and, long after the credits roll, still wants to know more. I mulled over the audacious actions of these teens and wondered why they felt compelled to steal—something that Coppola’s film doesn’t really address. For more info, I sought out Sales’ article, as well as her 2013 book, The Bling Ring: How a Gang of Fame-Obsessed Teens Ripped Off Hollywood and Shocked the World.

Expanding on her article, Sales’ book exhaustively details how the “Bling Ring” stole over $3 million worth of clothing, jewelry, and accessories from Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, and other Hollywood celebrities, and bragged about their crimes over social media. Incredibly information-savvy, the teens used Google Maps to track down addresses, as well as celebrity news blogs to monitor the comings and goings of their targets. Peer pressure, attaining social cachet, and a desire for fame were a few motivating factors in the crimes. Like the movie, the book is unclear on whether the accused were truly remorseful – its seems more likely they were sorry for getting caught. In any case, readers who love an E! Hollywood True Story-type of tale will appreciate Sales’ exposé.

Given the social and cultural taboos around stealing, I was also curious about depictions of theft and redemption in YA fiction – here are some books that cover the issue in depth without necessarily glamorizing it:  Continue reading “Life after Theft” – Stealing and Redemption in YA Books