Green Giants – Irish Author Spotlight #6 – Missing Ellen by Natasha Mac a’Bhaird

October 22, 2013 Book review, Green Giants 8 ★★★★

Green Giants is my feature where I share some of my favourite books by Irish Authors.   I’m passionate about Irish Authors, there is a great and exciting mix of books to choose from, hopefully you will find something new to try.  Today I’m excited to be sharing a contemporary YA book with you.

Missing Ellen is an Irish contemporary YA book that is deceptively simple at times.  It is full of normal mundane school and friend activities.  Then every so often, like a bolt out of the blue, a couple of lines strike you hard to remind you this is a book about missing someone special from your life.

Green Giants – Irish Author Spotlight #6 – Missing Ellen by Natasha Mac a’BhairdMissing Ellen by Natasha Mac a'Bhaird
Published by O'Brien Press on 7 Oct 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, YA
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
Source: Received from Publisher
Buy on Amazon

Ellen and Maggie have been best friends for as long as they can remember - sharing clothes, passions and secrets. But now Ellen's now there and Maggie's left alone. Looking back over the events before Ellen's disappearance, Maggie tries to make sense of her friend's actions. At school and at home, she feels no one understands what she is going through -  except maybe Liam, the boy next door who has always had feelings for Ellen.

Can Maggie get used to missing Ellen?

My Recap of Missing Ellen :

Maggie is missing her best friend Ellen and is at a loss to make sense of exactly how her friend just disappeared.  With a series of diary entries she tries to piece together what happened and even more importantly how she is going to cope with it.

My Thoughts on Missing Ellen :

I don’t feel we have enough Irish YA books so when I do find one, I tear into it with high anticipation.  Missing Ellen is one that didn’t let me down.  It is full of things I can identify with (well remember at least!); teenage discos, exams, friends changing and all in a setting that is so familiar to me.Maggie is lost without her friend but as we discover long before Ellen left, she had started to disappear anyway.

“I suppose I still wanted to believe she was the same person underneath but the truth was the friend I had grown up with was already gone for good even before she walked out that door.”

I can remember so clearly this happening to me when I was a teenager.  The friends I hung around with matured so much more quickly than I did and I got left behind.  I wasn’t ready to grow up as fast as they did and it created a void in my life for a while until I made new friends.  So I can understand the sadness Maggie feels and the feelings of being left behind.

There is an element of mystery as to why exactly Ellen is missing and what precisely happened.  This suspense is carried nicely throughout the book and is more than enough to sustain your interest.  The best part of the book though is the characters.  Both Ellen and Maggie are realistically portrayed with all the ups and downs, highs and lows of teenage life.  I wanted to alternatively smack Ellen on the ear and then just hug her death.

The writing style is deceptively simple.  So simple and chatty that you are flying though the book and then you hit a few sentences so profound that you have to stop and think.  All the stages of grief and the feelings of missing someone just feel so believable and natural that I was choked up more than once while reading.

Overall Missing Ellen is book that is very easy to connect to and even easier to enjoy.

Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: four-stars

Who should read Missing Ellen?

If you are a fan of realistic YA contemporary fiction then I’d recommend this one to you.  Especially YA fiction that deals with issues.  And if you are looking for a YA book with an Irish setting, here is one for your list.

Thanks to O’Brien Press for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.


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8 Responses to “Green Giants – Irish Author Spotlight #6 – Missing Ellen by Natasha Mac a’Bhaird”

  1. Lark

    Nice introduction to another Irish author; Natasha Mac a’Bhaird is not an author I’m familiar with. I enjoy YA novels when they’re written well and this one sounds like a YA worth trying. Great post (as always)!

    • trish

      This was a new author for me too Lark and it was a really authentic feeling book about grief and teenagers. I really enjoyed it.

    • trish

      Thanks Kim, you nailed it with your comment, that is exactly what it is. And the setting felt so authentic, I loved it too.

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