93 pages 3 hours read

Margaret Peterson Haddix


Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2008

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Summary and Study Guide


Found is the first book in The Missing series by New York Times bestselling author Margaret Peterson Haddix. This time-travel thriller, published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in 2008, follows Jonah Skidmore and his best friend Chip Winston as they try to stay one step ahead of time and figure out where (or when) they came from. Found won over 10 awards, including the Buckeye Children’s Book Award, the Louisiana Young Reader’s Choice Award, and the Massachusetts Children’s Book Award.

Haddix attended Miami University in Ohio, where she earned bachelor’s degrees in creative writing, journalism, and history. Before writing, she worked as a copyeditor for several newspapers and taught at Danville Area Community College in Danville, Illinois. When an organizational restructuring at one of her jobs meant her husband would eventually be her boss, Haddix quit to pursue writing full time. She has published more than 30 books for young readers and is most known for her Shadow Children series. This guide follows the 2008 edition of Found.

Plot Summary

Found opens at Sky Trails Air, where new employee Angela DuPre witnesses an airplane blink into existence at her gate. When no one deplanes, Angela investigates and finds the plane populated by 36 babies and no adults. Government officials cover up the incident, but Angela’s refusal to keep quiet leads to her dismissal from Sky Trails Air. Thirteen years later, adopted teenager Jonah Skidmore receives a strange note in the mail informing him that he is one of the missing children from the plane. His friend Chip Winston also receives a note and learns he is also adopted. The boys begin an investigation into Chip’s adoption, which makes Jonah wonder about his own situation. An FBI agent named James Reardon eventually comes up in association with both their adoptions.

When a second note claims Jonah and Chip are in danger, the boys can no longer ignore what the strange letters might mean. Jonah’s family sets up a meeting with Reardon, who bullies them into leaving the truth about Jonah’s origins alone. Suddenly feeling sick, Jonah runs to the bathroom, where a strange man tells him to look through a file that will appear on Reardon’s desk. Sure enough, the file is there, and Jonah’s sister Katherine takes pictures of it. The file has two lists: one of witnesses and one of survivors. Jonah and Chip find their names among the survivors, which frightens Jonah away from the investigation.

One of the witnesses is Angela DuPre, with whom Jonah, Katherine, and Chip arrange a meeting. Before the meeting, Jonah leaves his parents a detailed note, including how all their current research is on Chip’s computer. Angela reveals that Chip and Jonah might be from another time. The man Jonah met in the bathroom at Reardon’s office (who Katherine nicknamed “JB”) appears at the meeting, in the middle of a scuffle with another man. Before disappearing again, he warns Jonah to be careful about writing things down. Jonah is shaken from seeing people disappear and by the notion that time travel is real. He understands the danger and gets involved in the investigation again.

Back home, Chip discovers that all the information saved on his computer (including the pictures Katherine took) is gone. Jonah makes the connection between recorded information being unsafe and the note he left his parents. The three can no longer trust computers, phones, or anything written on paper.

A few weeks later, Jonah, Chip, and Katherine attend a conference for adopted kids entering their teens. The kids are sorted into two groups; Katherine realizes one group is all the kids from the survivors list—aka all the babies from the plane. Because one of the girls is not there, Katherine pretends to be her to stay with Jonah and Chip. The group leaders, Grant Hodge and Gary Payne, take the kids to a cave, allegedly to discuss adoption away from prying ears. Once there, JB appears. It is revealed that Hodge, Gary, and JB are from the future, and the kids are from different points in the past.

Hodge and Gary work for a company called Interchronological Rescue, which steals children, makes them babies, and transports them into the future for wealthy families to adopt. With Jonah and Chip’s group, JB interfered with the transport, resulting in the time machine (the plane Angela saw) being misdirected to the 21st century. Hodge and Gary want to complete their mission and bring the kids into the future, but JB wants to return the kids to the past. Jonah wants neither, but a group of kids sides with Hodge, Gary, and the future.

Jonah manages to stop Gary from turning all the kids into babies again, and JB sends Hodge and Gary to time prison. Jonah begs JB to let the kids return to the 21st century, but JB refuses and begins sending them back in time. Jonah and Katherine grab Chip to go with him to the 15th century, where Chip is from. JB implores Jonah and Katherine to come back, but Jonah refuses. Jonah says they will try to fix time, on the promise that they can all return to the 21st century if they succeed. JB reluctantly agrees, and the three arrive in the 15th century.

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