Ransom by Lois Duncan is the best book I've read this year (Get it? Because I've only read to books? Anyway...)
The thing to remember about Ransom is that it was originally published in 1966 so some of the conversational language does feel a little old fashioned. If it was in a modern book perhaps you might roll your eyes and sigh, but when you remember when it's set there's something nice and comforting about the language. I enjoy reading someone say "Oh gosh," instead of "Oh *&%$!".
I think the first chapter of Ransom reveals Lois Duncan's skills as a writer and story teller. The first chapter is when we are introduced to each of the five character that are kidnapped. As the focus jumps between characters you don't feel confused but instead you feel as if you know something of all of them. Within the first few pages they all have a feel about them, you care about them and are interested in them.
Jesse is shy and aloof, Dexter is rude and independent, Glenn is charming and proud, Marianne is feisty and stubborn, and Bruce is kind and trusting. Already I know I'm going to read to the end.
Ransom is not just the story of a kidnapping. It's not just a thriller for a thriller's sake. It's a story about individuals and families and what happens when people with different values and morals are thrust together in a life threatening situation. There is an unsensationalised truth that runs through the entire story.
I enjoyed reading this story so much because it reminds me of all that reading I did as a young teen and how I fell in love with reading and writing. I plan now to go back and read all of Lois Duncan's young adult fiction again as in a modern world where almost anything can get published it's nice to remind yourself of what good writing is and get lost in some really excellent stories.