45 pages 1 hour read

Peg Kehret


Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2004

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Symbols & Motifs


Weather often reflects the tone and atmosphere of the events in the novel. When Matt first goes missing, the officers and detective on the case broadcast an AMBER Alert with helpful information. The officer describes the emergency alert network to Bonnie as “the system used for severe weather emergencies such as tornadoes or a volcanic eruption” (48). Matt’s disappearance is just as traumatic to his family as a tornado or volcanic eruption. Matt’s case is currently in an emergency state as the first 24 hours of a person’s disappearance are the most critical to their survival and safe return.

In the kitchen, Anita has a prism that creates rainbows across the floor sunlight shines through it. The rainbows are there every morning before Bonnie goes to school, but the morning after Matt’s disappearance, Bonnie thinks “[m]aybe that’s a good omen […] Rainbows are a sign of hope. On the other hand, she’d seen rainbows yesterday morning, too, and look what had happened” (81). In the hours following Matt’s disappearance and with no clues to follow, “[e]ven the sun glinting off the prism didn’t seem cheerful” (85). Rainbows symbolize hope, but as she loses hope, Bonnie interprets the rainbow more literally—as sun glinting off a prism rather than as a cheerful omen.