When her friend Monday Charles goes missing and Monday’s mother refuses to give her a straight answer, Claudia digs into her disappearance.
“How can a whole person, a kid, disappear and no one say a word? Like, if the sun just up and left one day, you’d think someone would sound an alarm, right? But Ma used to say, not everyone circles the same sun. I never knew what she meant by that until Monday went missing.”
Imagine realizing that your best friend—your only friend—is missing and no one but you seems to notice or even care that she’s gone. Claudia is about to start 8th grade, and although she’s dreading another year of contending with school bullies and struggling with assignments, she’s comforted by the fact that her best friend, Monday, will be right by her side. That is until she arrives and Monday is nowhere to be found, and while her absence isn’t alarming to those around her, Claudia instantly knows that something is terribly wrong. Days go by, then months go by, and as Claudia desperately tries to seek help from her school administration, law enforcement and community, she is confronted with the dark reality that she alone will have to be Monday’s voice.
I inhaled this book in one sitting. I could not put it down until I found out what happened to Monday. Though it was a work of fiction, its narrative is a chilling depiction of how our broken system can and does fail missing children, particularly missing children of color, every single day. It touches on a number of sensitive topics like bullying, mental illness, gentrification, poverty, LGBT issues and domestic violence, and while its timeline is nonlinear and can be a bit confusing at times (the chapters alternate between “before,” “after,” “one year before the before,” “two years before the before,” etc.), it succeeds in illustrating the way a survivor might feel disjointed after experiencing trauma.
I highly recommend this book. It is heavy and sadly all too real, but important.