1-800 Where R U/ Vanished Series

Author: Meg Cabot (first released through her pseudonym Jenny Carroll)

Book Summary: Just because her best friend wants to exercise, Jessica Mastriani agrees to walk the two miles home from their high school. Straight into a huge Indiana thunderstorm.
And straight into trouble.
Not that Jess has never been in trouble before. Her extracurricular activities, instead of cheerleading or 4-H, include fistfights with the football team and monthlong stints in detention — luckily, sitting right next to Rob, the sexiest senior around.
But this trouble is serious.
Because somehow on that long walk home, Jessica acquired a newfound talent. An amazing power that can be used for good…or for evil.
Run, Jessica. Run.

The summary is from the series’ first book “When Lightning Strikes“.

Links: Goodreads

Book Review

I felt that this series was a good candidate because each individual book is quite short and there are overarching story lines that are threaded throughout all the books.

Occasionally we will review an entire series instead of one book. Also, I want to review all of my favorite Meg Cabot books but she writes SO MANY. This is saving me some time as well. 🙂

In public or under the covers?
Almost no action happens until the last book. Seriously, don’t get all excited when they have a moment if it’s not in the fifth book. You will be disappointed.

What mood?
This book is all about adventure and mystery. There is a little love though. 😉

Main Character- nay or yay?
Jess Mastriani is a total tom-boy. The only time she ever acts “like a girl” is when she’s thinking about Rob and she is insecure about how he feels about her, so basically she’s a regular high school girl. She is also a huge rescuer. One thing I will note, she has no concept of her own mortality. She goes into some situations, like into a cult gathering, and is woefully under-prepared. However, she never dies.

Getting Over Rob Wilkins:
Rob is the stereotypical bad boy with a heart of gold. He seems to be an unwilling recipient of Jess’ affections until the fifth book. Actually, if I’m being quite honest, you could probably just read the fifth book and wouldn’t really miss much. He really shines there. There were several times while reading the final book that I clutched my Nook to my chest and said “my babies”.

Character Fever:
I really like that her older brother Douglas is a character. He suffers from schizophrenia. It’s nice to see that Meg can portray the mentally ill as what they really are, sick, instead of how society sees them, insane. I also just like his character in general. His relationship with Jess is endearing.

Books Worth Reading:

Crust factor:
I didn’t really like her best friend Ruth. It was her fault that all of this happened to Jess in the first place and they she just kind of criticizes the entire series.
Another thing this book does is make law enforcement look like total jerks.

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover:
I like the covers they’re not too serious but still convey the tone of the book. These books, to me, are quick reads so the cover doesn’t need to be overwhelming.

Song this reminds me of:


I choose Stand in the Rain by Superchick because this song is about a girl who is tough and worries about herself last (at least I think) and that is Jess to a t.

Books Worth Reading:

Movie or TV show: how does it stack up?
There was a TV adaptation on Lifetime called Missing. I never saw it but I did watch the first episode online. It’s weird… It focuses more on the F.B.I. agents then Jess and Jess seems older than she should. Also, they killed off the Dad. Miss Cabot actually talked about the show in the final book.
“There was even a TV show about me, based on my life. It wasn’t EXACTLY based on my life. I mean, they made a lot of stuff up. Like about me going to Quantico to train as an FBI agent. That never happened. Oh, and they killed off my dad on the show, too. In real life, he’s actually alive and well. But I didn’t mind (though my dad wasn’t too happy about it) because they still had to pay me.”

Future Companion Novels:
1. When Lightning Strikes
2. Code Name Cassandra
3. Safe House
4. Sanctuary
5. Missing You

Overall Rating:
I’m giving the 1-800 series 2 stars. I think I would rate some individual books higher, but the series as a whole kind of lags until the last book ties it all up. I still really enjoyed the series because… well, I love anything Meg Cabot does. She could dump ink on a piece of paper and hand it to me and I’d be like “Oh my, this is the writing of the Gods. The Gods, I tell you.” so I’m a little biased. If the premise sounds interesting, I’d definitely say try it out, even though this only has 2 stars.


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