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  • Taken
  • Written by Edward Bloor
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780440421283
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  • Taken
  • Written by Edward Bloor
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780375890758
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Written by Edward BloorAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Edward Bloor

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List Price: $7.99

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On Sale: November 13, 2007
Pages: | ISBN: 978-0-375-89075-8
Published by : Knopf Books for Young Readers RH Childrens Books
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ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

Charity Meyers has only 12 hours to live.

By 2035 the rich have gotten richer, the poor have gotten poorer, and kidnapping has become a major growth industry in the United States. The children of privilege live in secure, gated communities and are escorted to and from school by armed guards.

But the security around Charity Meyers has broken down. On New Year’s morning she wakes and finds herself alone, strapped to a stretcher, in an ambulance that’s not moving. If this were a normal kidnapping, Charity would be fine. But as the hours of her imprisonment tick by, Charity realizes there is nothing normal about what’s going on. No training could prepare her for what her kidnappers really want . . . and worse, for who they turn out to be.

Excerpt

Once you’ve been taken, you usually have twenty-four hours left to live. By my reckoning, that meant I had about twelve hours remaining. The blue numerals on my vidscreen showed the time, 11:31, and the date, 01-01-36. From where I was lying, the blue glow of the vidscreen provided the only color in the room. If it was a room. Other than the screen, all I could see were white walls. All I could hear was a low thrumming, like an engine.
Ever since I’d come to my senses, though, I’d felt strangely calm. Not like a sedated calm, either, although I had definitely been sedated. No, it was more of a logical calm. I was trying not to panic; trying to think things through. I was not in this room of my own free will. Therefore, I was a prisoner. Logically, then, I must have been “taken,” the popular euphemism for “kidnapped.”
If you lived in The Highlands, like I did, then you were an expert on kidnapping. I even wrote a paper on the subject. It was filed right there on my vidscreen, along with the other papers I had written last term: “The World Credit Crash,” “Metric at Midnight, 2031,” and “The Kidnapping Industry.”
I tried to sit up, but I couldn’t. I had a strap tied around my waist, holding me to the bed. Or was it a stretcher? Yes, I remembered. It was a stretcher. I could move my arms, at least. I could reach over and press MENU. The screen was still active, but it looked like all input and output functions had been disabled. Not surprising, if I had been taken. My own files, though, were still accessible to me. I located my recent term papers and clicked on the pertinent one. Here is part of what it said:


The Kidnapping Industry,by Charity Meyers
Mrs.Veck, Grades 7—8
August 30, 2035
Kidnapping has become a major growth industry. Like any industry, though, it is subject to the rules of the marketplace. Rule number one is that the industry
must satisfy the needs of its customers.That is, if parents follow the instructions and deliver the currency to the kidnappers, the kidnappers must deliver the taken child back to the parents. If the kidnappers do not fulfill their part of the bargain, then future parents will hear about it, and they will refuse to pay. The trust between the kidnappers and the parents will have broken down. The kidnapping industry today in most areas of the United States usually operates on a twentyfour- hour cycle (although a twelve-hour cycle is not uncommon in areas outside of the United States). In the majority (85%) of cases, the parents deliver the currency and the kidnappers return the child within the twenty-four-hour period. Kidnappers’ demands usually include a warning to parents not to contact the authorities. It is hard to estimate, therefore, how many parents have actually received ransom instructions and obeyed them to the letter. Professional kidnappers always include a Plan B in their instructions, describing a second meeting place in case the first falls through. In a minority (12%) of cases, unprofessional crews have murdered their victims right away and continued the ransom process dishonestly. Several related industries have emerged as a result of the rise in kidnappings. For example, special security companies now track victims who have not been returned but who are thought to be still alive. These companies can gain access to FBI data. Unlike the FBI, however, these companies are willing to search for taken children in unsecured areas of the United States and in foreign countries.



The paper went on from there to describe common aftereffects on taken children and to cite many alarming statistics about kidnapping, supplied by the stateofflorida.gov and TheHighlands.biz content sites. Cases of reported kidnappings increased by 22 percent in the last three years. However, estimates are that unreported kidnappings increased as much as 800 percent in the same time period. The statistics only reinforced what I already knew. It’s what every kid knew: if kidnappers identify your parents as people with a lot of currency in their home vault–dollars, euros, pesos, yuan–then you are a target. And if you don’t get returned right away, there’s not much the authorities can do about it. They are only willing to track you so far. Even now, there are parts of Florida and Texas that are beyond the reach of regular police forces. And from there, who knows? The Caribbean, Mexico, South America? Once you are gone to one of those places, you stay gone.


From the Hardcover edition.
Edward Bloor

About Edward Bloor

Edward Bloor - Taken

Photo © Courtesy of the Author

How I became a reader:
I think, like a lot of readers, I got my start because I had nothing better to do. One day when the TV was broken and no one was around and I had no money to do anything else, I picked up a book. What began as a desperate attempt to kill time, at some point, turned into what I actually chose to do with my time. I can remember the feeling of being anxious to get back to a book to find out what would happen next, and the feeling of being sorry that a book was coming to an end. Since those early days, reading a book has always been an entertainment option for me, and I count myself lucky for that. Had I the range of options that kids have today, it probably wouldn’t have happened. Like everybody else, I’d just be staring at a laptop all day or poking at my phone, sending misspelled, ungrammatical instant messages to fellow nonreaders.

How I became a writer:
I loved reading. It truly did entertain me and inform me. I loved watching movies, too, for the same reasons. In fact, I can remember a time when I truly liked every book I read and every movie I saw. That was a golden era and, of course, nothing gold can stay. I soon started to read books and watch movies that I did not like. At some point, I started to resent such books and movies and think that even I could do better. That’s when I became a writer, albeit a bad one. I started writing funny, semi-plagiarized stories to amuse family and friends. Family and friends didn’t really care how good they were, or if they were semi-plagiarized. Like me in my golden age, they liked everything they saw. Their positive feedback, though, gave me a whole new identity. I can remember the feeling, the great feeling, of having entertained people with my writing, and I continue to pursue that feeling today.

What is real in my novels:
In Tangerine, the soccer playing and the inside middle school stuff are real. I played soccer from the age of eight right into college. I taught in a middle school in Florida. I am also married to a middle school teacher, and I have two kids who went to middle school. I am all over that topic.

In Crusader, the mall politics, the inside high school stuff, and the poverty are real. I worked in several malls, I taught in a high school, and I lived with very little money. I never want to do any of those things again.

In Story Time, the standardized testing is real. I work in educational publishing, actually developing tests that school districts use to suck the life out of reading and writing. I wrote this novel as a kind of penance. The undervaluing of teachers is, of course, real too.
In London Calling, the New Jersey childhood and the Catholic school experience are real. I am the sixth generation of my family to have lived Trenton, New Jersey, a city where, at least in the 1950s and 60s, all the white kids attended Catholic schools. My family was originally from England, as is my wife’s. We made two trips there while I was working on this novel, so many of the things in London and York are real, too.

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