Publisher's Note:  

She spots the masked man in the dark, lonely parking lot--but too late. Grabbed and drugged, Christina is kidnapped and held for ransom. When her family pays, she thinks her ordeal is over. But then she realizes that her family thinks she planned the kidnapping! How will Christina prove her innocence?

The Kidnapping of Christina Lattimore

by Joan Lowery Nixon

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Overall Review:  

When the police break down the door of the house where high school junior, Christina Lattimore, is being held by kidnappers, she thinks her ordeal is over. But it’s only the beginning; the police, her family, and even her best friend think Christina planned the kidnapping to extort money from her grandmother. Christina realizes if she’s going to clear her name, she’ll have to do it herself, so she sets out to find out who planned the kidnapping and why.

Some may find the language in this book too strong, the gossip about the pregnant classmate offensive, or dislike the characterization of the father as a religious bigot. I liked the book because the heroine grows in the story, solves the mystery through her own efforts, and ultimately comes to value herself.

The first two chapters are less exciting—though the set-up for the kidnapping starts in chapter one. In chapter two, things get more exciting as someone seems to have sneaked into Christina’s house. At the very end of the chapter, Christina’s kidnapped. Although the story continues to be lively, the excitement never reaches a fever pitch. To be engaged in the story, readers will have to be drawn into Christina’s dilemma of how to prove her innocence.

Reading Level: 6.4, range 5.0-8.5.

Of interest to girls.

Edgar Award, 1980, Best Young Adult Mystery.

This review has been acquired and adapted from

Content Analysis:  

This review was acquired from on May 15, 2014 and was not completed using Compass Book Ratings’ standardized checklist.  Nevertheless, it contains useful content information which is included here.  The overall number ratings have been approximated based on this information.

7 G*d; 4 d*mmit, 5 d*mn, 2 h*ll; bastard, *ss—for jackass


Heroine kidnapped, bites hand of attacker, her arm twisted, she's drugged; heroine repeatedly fears she’ll be killed; heroine’s leg grabbed, falls down hard, dragged downstairs; wants to kill kidnapper; throws bowl of soup at him, he slaps her hard, she tries to hit him, tries to rip off mask, scratch him; kidnapper threatens to kill heroine if she gets his mask off, grabs her wrists and holds her tight; heroine fears kidnapper might hurt her without any emotion; heroine wishes she knew "kicking, stomping, gouging"; kidnapper grabs heroine’s arm, pulls her around; kidnapper and wife both tell heroine that wife has gun and will shoot her if she doesn’t behave; heroine forced to go into room at gun point; police smash down front door, wife throws gun to heroine who picks it up; policeman holds gun on heroine; heroine threatens to sock reporter; heroine fears being murdered by kidnappers as she searches for the truth, maid fears it too; heroine prepares to hit intruder over head with lamp; heroine tells kidnapper’s wife she’ll stand on the porch and yell until the neighbors call the police, later says she’ll get a hatchet and break down door, talks to wife about third kidnapper killing both of them; mention of three murders in one night; police officer warns heroine kidnappers may kill her; mention of news stories about arson, holdups, car accident; heroine receives threatening phone call; someone covers heroine’s mouth—turns out it’s someone helping her solve mystery.


Implication that heroine fears kidnapper will rape her, kidnapper tells her he’s not interested in that; heroine has to dress after shower with kidnapper’s wife there, puts on bra and bikini panties; mention several times of a classmate who’s become pregnant—apparently out of wedlock, though that’s not stated, friend thinks it’s "exciting news"; mention of women joggers whose "heavy breasts bounce up and down" as they jog by.

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Mention of "beery friends" of worker at burger joint, of "pot heads"; heroine won’t go out again with boy who got drunk and almost "threw up in her lap"; mention of room smelling of "stale ashtrays"; knock-out drug used in kidnapping; kidnapper’s breath smells of stale beer; police officer smokes cigarettes; mention of a bar brawl.

Reviewed By CleanTeenReads
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