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They Never Came Home

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  1,179 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Dan and Larry’s hiking trip ends in a missing persons search. Can Joan find her brother before it’s too late?

When high school buddies Larry Drayfus and Dan Cotwell take a backpacking trip into the Mogollon Mountains, nobody is concerned when they don’t come home exactly on time. Dan is a natural outdoorsman, and he knows the mountains well. Larry is smart and resourceful.
ebook, 184 pages
Published August 28th 2012 by Open Road Media Teen & Tween (first published 1968)
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Sanjana Dantuluri
They Never Came Home, by Lois Duncan, is about two boys who decide to go camping in the mountains but end up going missing. The sister of one of the boys discovers that they might not really be missing, and that there might be more to the case.
Overall, the story was quite solid. Duncan provided enough information to imagine the settings and the characters. There wasn’t a lot of show not tell, but something that I personally found interesting was how Duncan described the personalities of the ch
This is my second Lois Duncan book. It's not amazing, but it's servicable, especially considering it was first published in the 1960s. The mystery isn't particularly hard to figure out, but it might be surprising for younger readers.

I've been reading ebook versions of Lois Duncan's books, and funnily enough, they've been slightly updated. So you'll see mentions of cell phones & online classes in here. And I never would have known this on my own, but according to other Goodreads reviews, the
Alexandra Holt
Joan's boyfriend, Dan, and her younger brother, Larry, leave for a camping trip that quickly becomes a missing persons' case. Search party after search party continue to scour the wilderness for signs of either boy, but after months of not finding anything, Dan and Larry are presumed dead. As Joan grieves, she receives an unsettling call that Larry owes a 'John Brown' thousands of dollars, stating that if she doesn't help him recover his lost money by selling Indian trinkets, he will come after ...more
The slang in this book was very dated, but it was written in 1969. I enjoyed much of it, but the ending was so out of character for Dan. He wouldn't have just left and not told Joan what was going on with her brother. If he plans on marrying her, knowing what really happened to Larry is an awfully big secret to keep from her for the rest of his life, and he is too honest to carry it off. Besides, how would he ever explain how he ended up in California without implicating Larry, or making himself ...more
I started reading this and realized I read it when I was in High school. I enjoyed it though, it has a nice twist to it, although it is pretty predictable throughout the book.
i really liked this book! it really kept me on my toes to find out wat happened next! i highly recomend this book!
Robin Conley
Lois Duncan is always a reliable YA read. The stories aren't generally amazing, but they are a good, solid read that will keep you interested, and this book is no different. I think the thing that always kept me interested in Lois Duncan's books is not the characters, but the plot. There is usually some kind of twist at the end, though as I get older I'm finding the twist is less and less impressive. It is still a good story, but based on the last two Duncan books I've read, age really kills the ...more
Geraldine Orlik
This story begins with the disappearance of two teenage boys who spend a weekend camping in the mountains and never come home. As weeks turn into months their families agonize over the sketchy details surrounding their disappearance. Local authorities call off search parties and peg the two youths as dead. However, Joanie, the sister to one missing boy and girlfriend to the other is trying to stay strong and keep her family from falling apart. Her mother, in shock, now lives within herself, and ...more
Joan’s brother, Larry, and boyfriend, Dan, mysteriously disappear while on a camping trip. No bodies are found. After the search is called off and newspapers release news of their assumed death by drowning, Joan receives a phone call from a stranger who claims her brother owes over two thousand dollars. She believes his story when she examines an IOU with her brother’s signature. The man tells her about the business her brother was involved in and gives her the opportunity to fill in for him in ...more
Well, I’m continuing my Lois Duncan bent by reading through the books that I don’t remember very well first. All I could remember from this one was basically what it says on the front cover… two boys go camping and they never come home.

To be honest, I can see why (comparatively speaking) this book didn’t stick in my memory as much as the others. It’s not as…. what’s the word I’m looking for… relatable? No, that’s not it. I think maybe the word is just interesting. It’s not as interesting as all
Wing Kit
Two boys are gone on a camping trip, never found or returned home. Somewhere out in the world, 2 boys are living together some place else. One has forgotten his memory and one seems to know it all. Could these two boys be the missing boys from the camping trip? This book has a lot of plot twists which makes it very interesting and intense. Who knew that one of those boys who felt so mistreated and seemed kind could have been the one to cause many problems to two families. There are some confusin ...more
Kerri Jones
My first Lois Duncan was Stranger with my Face and I enjoyed the mystery and suspense of that book. I actually plucked this one out of a "weed" we did in our library and the blurb intrigued me. I enjoyed it even though the narrative is quite dated and I was intrigued to know how it would end. I thought the ending was quite surprising!
3.5 stars. This book was originally published back in 1979, 35 years ago. I read Lois Duncan when I was a teenager, and thought it would be fun to read her again (books I hadn't read yet). They Never Came Home is about 2 boys that go on a camping trip in the New Mexico mountains and never come home. Their bodies were never found either - so what happened to them? It was a good mystery and plot, although the ending was a little disappointing. The book tackles some adult themes and is thought prov ...more
Jun 12, 2008 Relyn rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone who likes the feel of shivers up their spine
I discovered Lois Duncan when I was a teenager. We lived in places with tiny libraries so I never got to read all her books. (Thank God for modern libraries and interlibrary loans.) This summer I was reading The Longstockings Blog ( and one of the writer's mentioned that this was her favorite of all Duncan's books. I still enjoy young adult literature, so I thought it would be fun to read a book I missed as a teenager.

I did enjoy this book. It was slightly
I thought this was a really good book. The plot was great and had me on my toes throughout the book. The descriptions of each of the characters were on point. I also liked how they discovered that the two friends had not died at the end of the book.
Great young adult book. Of course, Lois Duncan always has suspenseful books! I was surprised it was written in 1969!!! There were a couple references to things kids might not understand but most of it was just as relevant today as it was 45 years ago!
I think this was one of Lois Duncan's earliest books. It feels like it, partly because it's very dated--there's a lot about dating and relationships that is very 1960s (steadies, calling around for a date for the dance, running with crowds). It's actually a little slow, and the plot revolves around a kid who's in some very dated trouble.

Honestly, I was going to give it two stars, but that dated trouble is just what dragged it back up to three. Because there are some FABULOUS rants about "dope fi
I just read it and it was great. It was copy written in 1969 but though the lack of technology, it reads as timeless. It was a wonderful read that kept me riveted throughout. I didn't even think that I was going to like it. I didn't like it. I loved it.

Joan Drayfus' boyfriend and brother went for a hike. They never came back. Her mother is in a fragile state and everyone is mourning their death. It's easier to put the tragedy behind her. But there is a call and a man wants something that was owe
Lindsay Robertson
This novel follows Joan, a senior in high school, as she tries to cope with the loss of her brother and boyfriend to a storm in the mountains. As the resignation sets in, Joan receives a call that suggests that there may have been some shady circumstances involving the disappearance of the boys who might be alive.

Fast-paced and steeped in intrigue, They Never Came Home delivers the classic elements of suspense without the blood, guts, and gore that turn many people off of the genre. With many n
I was pleased to find a paperback of this in a thrift store, because it's one of the few Lois Duncans that hasn't been available in the libraries I've visited. Now I see why: it is HILARIOUSLY old-fashioned, and they probably only reprinted it when the "I Know What You Did Last Summer" movie came out. It was written in 1969 (before she started getting into the occult/ESP stuff with A Gift of Magic) and has very funny ideas about The Dangers of Marijuana. It's genuinely suspenseful for most of th ...more
do you know someone who went somewhere and never came back?you nshould read this book because......if you how it feels to lose someone you really love and thought that they were dead because they never came back form a store or a camping trip,then you know how the draydfus family feels when their son larwance or larry go on a camping trip with his best friend Dan and they get lost and they were supposed to be commimng back monday moring but the two boys never came back family went out looking fo ...more
Although I really like Lois Duncan's novels, this one was not one of my favorites. I didn't like the ending - it was a bit abrupt and left too many questions unanswered - almost like the author just wanted to end the novel rather than deal with some of the issues raised by the sequence of events in the story. Just my opinion, but the story line was intriguing. Picture yourself as a high school teenager whose brother and boyfriend go missing after they go camping for the weekend. How do you think ...more
Good though it's very tense and is sort of scary.
Cory Gaskins
Lois Duncan, even to this day, has to be the best YA writer. Too bad she doesn't write any more.
As an adult reading this, I was surprised how much facts are stated! "Joan's mom is a psycho", "Joan has insecurities", "her boyfriend is hot". That being said, even if they are cliched, L. Duncan does create realistic characterizations.
I have to admit that this has to be one of her weaker works. Nevertheless, I really liked the frenetic energy of the end.
This book was okay. A nice twist but really uneventful and written rather poorly. It wasn't a total bust but I would not recommend it.
This book was slow and felt dated. (About twenty pages in, I couldn't understand how this book had gotten published--it feels stale. Then I checked the publication date, and it made more sense. There are plenty of books published fifty years ago that DON'T feel dated, though, so maybe read one of those instead.) I didn't find the "suspense" very suspenseful, nor did I feel any real emotional connection to the flatish characters.
They Never Came Home sure took a long time to get going. It seemed like nothing happened in the first 16 chapters of the book. Written in the '60s, the book is clearly dated. But, Lois Duncan is an excellent author with a descriptive writing style. It's unfortunate that the book had so many slow chapters. The last two chapters were fantastic, so if you can make it passed the slow start you'll be treated to a great ending.
Apr 22, 2008 Megan rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: book-reports
This is about two boys who go camping one weekend and then never come home. No one can find them, and there are no traces of them. They simply vanished. A few days after thier disappearance, one of the boys sister gets a phone call saying he owed him two thousand dollars. So, the sister takes it into her own hands to pay him off. She wants to find out as much as she can, including her brother and his friend.
This is an entertaining YA suspense story from Lois Duncan, one of the classic authors of this genre. This book was written in the late 60's and I did not have an updated version, however I enjoyed all of the quaint references to washing and setting your hair, waxing the kitchen floor and dancing to records. The book has a somewhat questionable ending but this is a good fast YA book to read for fun.
Sarah Tilatitsky
I am on page 14, and although I have read this already, things are not going well. What I like (LOVE) about Lois Duncan is that her beginning isn't that boring, and it's shorter, mostly to identify waht's wrong. After taht, building up the suspense until ..................................................... ending taht's half scary, half relief/happiness, mostly.
This book is AWESOME!
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Lois Duncan (born Lois Duncan Steinmetz, April 28, 1934) is an American writer and novelist, known primarily for her books for children and young adults, in particular (and some times controversially considering her young readership) crime thrillers. Duncan's parents were the noted magazine photographers Lois Steinmetz and Joseph Janney Steinmetz. She was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but gr ...more
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