Book Review / Mandy McHugh / Reviews with Spoilers

Mandy McHugh | Chloe Cates Is Missing

The Book: 

Chloe Cates Is Missing by Mandy McHugh
Published February 15th 2022 by ‎Scarlet
Date read: February 14, 2022

The Characters: 

The Scarborough family: Jackson, Jennifer, JJ, and Abby, aka Chloe Cates

Detective Emilina Stone

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Buy it on | Amazon

The Plot (from Goodreads):

The disappearance of a young internet celebrity ignites a firestorm of speculation on social media, and to find her a detective will have to extinguish the blaze.

Chloe Cates is missing. The 13-year-old star of the hit YouTube series, “CC and Me,” has disappeared, and nobody knows where she’s gone — least of all ruthless momager Jennifer Scarborough, who has spent much of her daughter’s young life crafting a child celebrity persona that is finally beginning to pay off. And in Chloe’s absence, the faux-fairytale world that supported that persona begins to fracture, revealing secrets capable of reducing the highly-dysfunctional Scarborough family to rubble.

Anxious to find her daughter and preserve the life she’s worked so hard to build, Jennifer turns to social media for help, but the hearsay, false claims, and salacious suspicions only multiply. As the search becomes as sensational as Chloe’s series, Missing Persons detective Emilina Stone steps in, only to realize she has a connection to this case herself. Will she be able to stay objective and cut through the rumors to find the truth before it’s too late?

Told from multiple points of view including Jennifer, Emilina, and pages from Chloe’s lost diary, Chloe Cates Is Missing is a suspenseful novel of a child pushed to the brink, and of the troubled family that desperately needs her back.

Click here for book spoilers for Chloe Cates Is Missing
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read Chloe Cates Is Missing, I suggest you turn back now.

Emilina and Jen knew each other as children. They were best friends, but Jen always wanted to get in with the cool girls. The two most popular girls would constantly pretend to befriend her to make her the butt of their jokes, until one day Jenny had enough and killed Nicole. She threatened Emilina to keep her quiet, and the two of them hid Nicole’s body in the town’s water tower.

The Twist:

Chloe was alive. Her dad had hidden her in the same water tower with Nicole’s body to get her away from her mother. He was going to move her somewhere safe, but he didn’t have the chance since the police were watching.

Missy was killed in the Scarborough house. The police got Jackson and Jen in the same room both blaming each other, before Jen admitted that she had seen Chloe kill her. Chloe said her mother had done it. Jen was accused.

The Ending:

Emilina knew Chloe had really killed Missy, but didn’t turn her in because Jen deserved to take the blame after getting away with Nicole’s death. When Emilina rescued Chloe from the water tower, she told the crime scene investigator that she thought something was in the water, so Nicole’s body was found and was under investigation.

The Review: 

Thank you to Scarlet for this gifted copy in exchange for an honest review. 

There are love-to-hate-characters, and then there are those characters that you just can’t wait to see burn. Jennifer, the mother in Chloe Cates Is Missing, decidedly falls into the latter category. She was such a terrible mother to both her kids, a terrible wife, and so self-absorbed. I could not wait to see what would happen to her, and was hoping the whole time that she would get what she deserved! Just to prove how despicable Jennifer is: once her daughter goes missing, she uses Chloe’s disappearance as a means to gain more likes and followers for her blog.

I love thrillers about the twisted side of social media, so this book was right up my alley. I also love what I call “mommy drama” books, where helicopter parents fight for their kids in ways the kids don’t necessarily want. This book was fast-paced and fascinating, and I definitely recommend it to all thriller lovers!

The whole story takes place in the 24-hour period after Chloe is found missing, but it feels like much longer. We get to learn a little about Chloe through her diary entries, so it’s easy to feel connected to her and wish for her safe return.

This book has an interesting link between past and present: the detective investigating Chloe’s disappearance was friends with Jen as a child, until something tore them apart. I really enjoyed the scenes from the past, where we learned about young Jen and what made her the way she is today.

I couldn’t wait to see how all the separate threads of the book would come together. Once I got past the halfway point, I could not put this one down!

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