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The Eagle's Cry

The Student News Site of Bethpage High School

The Eagle's Cry

The Student News Site of Bethpage High School

The Eagle's Cry

    BHS Reviews:The Reappearance of Rachel Price

    BHS+Reviews%3AThe+Reappearance+of+Rachel+Price

    Holly Jackson’s newest book, The Reappearance of Rachel Price, was released on April 2, 2024. When Bel was only 2 years old her mother disappeared from her car, with Bel left inside. After 16 years pass, they still found no further information about her disappearance, despite accusations of many, including Bel’s father, Charlie, who Bel continues to be adamant about being found not guilty. But now old wounds are being reopened after Charlie agreed to have a documentary made about the impact of Rachel’s disappearance on their family. The direction of the documentary, and of the Price family’s life, begins to change after Rachel reappears, with an explanation that seems unlikely. This leads Bel to begin to research and find the true reasoning for the disappearance of Rachel Price. Madison Lewin, a BHS junior, considered this plot to be “very intriguing” and would “definitely consider reading it.”

    While the beginning of the book performed an engagingly twisted plot, the ending of the book undos everything, adequately destroying the interest previously established and ruining the ending of the book. Similar to the ideology applied in Holly Jackson’s other book, As Good As Dead, the cops could not be counted on to prosecute the true villain, despite clear evidence pointing towards them, leading the characters to take justice into their own hands. One of the major reveals at the end was Rachel was pregnant when she disappeared, with the further twist being Carter was her daughter. When Jeff was confronted with this fact, he revealed he never knew and his dad, the kidnapper of Rachel, told him another story. Once Carter finds out, she completely disregards her parents that raised her being her parents, with her true parent only Rachel. After years of being raised by Jeff and Sherry, she’s ready to leave them behind, no question. I would expect at least some contemplation to exist from Carter, but none occurs, wth her even showing little emotion after the death of Jeff, leading her reaction to seem highly unrealistic. Although we saw some tension within the family, especially with her mom due to dance, there was no reason to believe Carter would hate her parents and readily abandon them. But Carter never showed a true hate of dance, as Bel also believed her to still wish to dance professionally, so it’s not like her mom was forcing her into dance, which appeared to be the main tension. Overall the interactions between the characters oftentimes appear nonsensical as the previously developed relationships don’t explain each character’s action.

    Rachel, in order to get revenge against Charlie for trying to get her killed, locked him up where she had been trapped for 15 years. Bel was given Rachel’s side of the story when she found her dad, but Jeff walked in after, to a scene of his brother locked in a truck. Rachel and Bell give him the decision of whether or not to free his brother, and he decides to free him. After Jeff makes this  decision, they refuse to let Charlie out and throw away the key. They basically believe he made a horrible choice, but he was walking into Rachel, who had been missing for 16 years, without the context of the reveal or investigating Bel had done, keeping his brother hostage in a truck, threatening to take his daughter, why wouldn’t he release his brother? Once he released him and saw how crazy Charlie was he tried to stop him, and even held Bel back when Charlie attempted to kill Rachel. Carter then ran to stop him, as she discovered on her own what was happening, and Jeff ran to protect her. After this Charlie fell off the cliff and pulled Jeff down with him, with Bel claiming this kind of redeemed him. All Jeff did was make a rational choice given the situation he was presented with, and try to make up for the choice after he realized his mistake. There was really nothing to be redeemed for, and Bel is still questioning whether she should be. They also try to blame him for stealing Carter, but it appears as though he knew nothing about it. He claims Patrick told him another story about how he knew this woman needed someone to adopt their child unofficially, an opportunity Jeff and Sherry jumped on since they had difficulty having their own child. Jeff claimed once he saw Rachel and Carter together he began to suspect a stronger relationship than aunt and niece existed and began to question Patrick, who couldn’t accurately respond due to his stroke, about where Carter actually came from, which there was evidence of due to him being mic’d when asking this. Despite this strong evidence he didn’t know Carter was Rachel’s child, they still continue to accuse him of stealing Carter, with Rachel believing she should have Carter back even after previously spending her entire life with Jeff and Sherry.

    I’d like to think Rachel was also manipulating Bel and Carter in the end. But the actions of Bel were also concerning at the end, considering little emotion was shown towards the death of her father and uncle. Despite her father’s action I would expect a stronger reaction due to their relationship for her whole life. I think this book could have been much better writing, especially due to Holly Jackson’s success with A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder. After reading this series junior Aashka Shah even considered her to be “one of her favorite authors.” This book followed a path closer to As Good As Dead, which I also found many problems with. I don’t know if I can continue to call myself a fan of Jackson, especially if this nonsensical character interaction continues.

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