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The Missing Persons League

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  209 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Brian's sister and mother vanished without a trace over a year ago. It was not uncommon. People were disappearing everywhere. To Brian, life had become a frightening madness. He knows that in another two years the planet will be unable to support life.

Now suddenly, his father is gone. Fighting the panic that haunts everyone, Brian resolves to find his family before it is t
Hardcover, 157 pages
Published September 30th 1976 by Dutton Juvenile (first published 1976)
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Average rating 4.23  · 
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 ·  209 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Annia Ciezadlo
May 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as a kid and have been haunted by it ever since. The 60s/70s/early 80s were full of sci-fi dystopian worlds that a kid could dive into: Philip K. Dick, Madeleine L'Engle, that creepily familiar-yet-alien magical realist school in The War Between the Pitiful Teachers and the Splendid Kids, where the teachers force the kids into something called the Status Quo Machine. But Bonham draws this future with such specificity that it seemed entirely plausible: world food shortages; an Am ...more
Aug 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-fiction
This may have been my first dystopian novel. I checked it out repeatedly from my elementary school library.
Based on my memories of it, untainted by an adult rereading, it ranks as my second favorite dystopian book ever. I can't believe it was written in the '70s and I read it in the '80s and it's totally spot-on about where the planet is headed in terms of food production and vegetation.
(In case you're wondering, This Perfect Day by Ira Levin is my favorite dystopian story.)
SpringLea Henry
Sep 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my most beloved books! I've read this one probably 50 times since the mid-80s when I discovered it. My wish is to someday track down the rights and put it back into print. :) ...more
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Avl. on Surprisingly good, but not perfect.

Even naive child me would have doubted that the Frankenfoods would have tasted so terrible... think for example of the artificial crap we happily eat now just because it has salt or other seasonings and maybe it's even touted as a new 'superfood.' But the orange air low in oxygen... I totally would have believed that. And the characters are fun (including the variety of adults, and Taurus the atypical bully), and the mystery is fun (in
Lona Brunton
Sep 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book with 7th - 9th graders dozens of times over the years. It is a perfect adolescent novel . . . adventure, social consciousness, romance. Frank Bonham wrote this, I believe in the 1970's, predicting what life would be like in the early 2000's. I think he did a remarkable job, as many science fictions writers have done. I can't count the number of past students who call me or run into me and ask me, "What was the name of that book we read together . . . it was my favorite book I ev ...more
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
got it on Amazon'! I aggree with the person who said that they wanted the rights to put this book back in print. I read this book when I was younger & forgot the title but never forgot the story, then saw it mentioned in a discussion & was so thrilled to find it again. awesome story ...more
Deborah Ideiosepius
A year ago, Brian Fosters mother and sister Debbie vanished while the family were out picnicking. Brian's father seems disinclined to be too worried or to report them missing, but Brian himself is desperate to find out what happened to them.

This is the start of a book that takes us on a great ride through a future (not that far in the future now, perhaps) where the air is so toxic that cylinders of oxygen are placed around Brian's school in case people exert themselves. The seas are foul, food i
Matthew Budman
Jan 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
It's been 35+ years since I last picked up a copy of The Missing Persons League, and upon rereading I was amazed how much has stuck with me—character names, dialogue, specific descriptions. Also amazed that the novel is so dark: By page 2, we've learned that teenage protagonist Brian, like everyone else here, takes tranquilizers just to get through each day, that everyone's nerves are on edge, that society is basically collapsing even apart from the unexplained disappearances.

As in many other dy
Mary JL
This book dates from 1976. It is one of the earlier young adult sf disaster novels. The Earth is dying from pollution. The air is so foul people keep oxygen canisters in their homes. Except for the elite, real food is rare and malnourishment common.

It is a bit dated in some aspects. However, the two main characters---Brian and Hester are well developed. There is a good bit of suspense.

Recommended for younger sf readers---age 10 on up. Acceptable for adults----but not very deep--a quick easy read
Jun 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 10 year old sf fans.
Recommended to Joel by: Cynde
I have an aunt who delights in sending me classic science fiction novels I have never heard of.

Last night I read "The Missing Persons League" by Frank Bonham. The copyright is listed as 1976; the book reads like a Heinlein juvenile, with all the good and bad that that entails.

Brian and his father are living in a post-environmental-catastrophe ridden earth, where all food is property of the state and emergency oxygen canisters are everywhere. Brian's mother and sister disappeared a year ago, just
Mar 02, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I ordered this from a Scholastic Book club in the late seventies, my elementary school self wasn't quite ready to skip my issue of Dynamite magazine for a full-length science fiction novel. A few years later, I pulled it off the shelf and really enjoyed it. By then, I'd read Robert A. Heinlein and Larry Niven and enjoyed the heck out of this. Many books are post-apocalyptic; this is pre-apocalyptic, with the 'end' inevitable but not seen. One interesting flight of fancy I still remember: vi ...more
Jul 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't think this is even in print any more, but I read this SO many times as a kid I had to add it here. It was my first introduction to fantasy/sci fi. Before Wrinkle in Time. Before anything by Ursula Le Guin. I'm not sure I would have gone on to the others had I not read this one first. (And okay, it's been a few years since I read it, and the 5 is mostly for nostalgia. But any book that could lead you to Wrinkle in Time is worth a 5, don't you think? I HAVE read it as an adult...) ...more
Angie Drake
Nov 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teens
I found this book in a pile of Scott's old belongings from high school. Wish I would have found it sooner! This futuristic story written back in the 70's still is very appropriate for today's young teens. The main character finds unique ways to survive in a world where food is made from algae, education lacks purpose, and the government controls every thing imaginable. He finds some help along the way. You'll have to decide about what you think about the ending... is it happy? Or is it sad? ...more
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: year-2018
Read this book as a kid and loved it but couldn’t remember the title or author, only the cover. Googled and searched until I found the info and a copy on Amazon (not the same cover as my childhood version, sadly). It’s definitely a 1970s vision of the future (loads of pollution but no smartphones) but much of it still feels prescient in today’s world, particularly where climate change is concerned.

All in all, a charming little mystery with elements that lingered in my brain decades later, that
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I can understand this book being interesting and unique at the time it was written. Unfortunately I found it not terribly engaging- by the end I had lost a lot of interest, and didn't even really know what was happening. For 70s/80s dystopian novels - Z for Zachariah is a better book by far. ...more
Chris Presta-Valachovic
Earth is dying. Brian's father has gone missing, and government inspectors are closing in.

This is one of those books that will haunt you.
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this as an 11 year old child. Still one of my all time favorites.
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: excellence
This was one of my favorite childhood books.
Sarah Rigg
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of a wave of dystopian YA novels from the late 70s/early 80s. I don't remember much about this book but know I enjoyed it. I mentioned it in my journal from 1986. ...more
Sep 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as a teen in either the late seventies or early eighties. It was a time when the word "dystopian" was rarely in use, and I categorised this book as Sci-fi back then.

I remember the magic that kept me reading - I just had to know what happened next! The idea that "real" food was almost unknown, and that you could be prosecuted for growing it was completely foreign to me at that time. Now, with the rise of prepackaged and over processed items landing daily on our supermarket shelve
Erin the Avid Reader ⚜BFF's with the Cheshire Cat⚜
This is an obscure, out-of-print book, so it might be a little hard to find in stores, but if you see it, GET IT NOW! It's a fantastic sci-fi novel. I read it last year, but not posting the full review until now.
This is a very creepy and mysterious novel that is a real page turner! Yes, it's pretty outdated (the book takes place hundreds of years into the future yet people still use typewriters and not-yet instant yeast, but that's not the books fault).
It's set in an apocalyptic, dystopian, kak
James Berghout
Jan 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this book when I was in middle school and remember enjoying it. I'm happy to find that it has aged well and is just as interesting as I remembered it. It's hard to say if my love for the book is due to it's connection to my youth. But I'm certain that even if I hadn't read it as a youth, it would still be an enjoyable read today, especially as a period piece. It speaks volumes about the worries of the 1970s.

Unfortunately the book is out of print, so it's not available on Kindle. However,
Nov 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The dystopia of the Missing Persons League, set in the near future, made a strong impression on me as a young teenager. I remember today the descriptions of food--a withered apple from a machine, the geletin desert that looked like frozen blood. I'm not sure that it would resonate with today's readers, who have so many more options in the fantasy/sci-fi genre. ...more
Aug 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as a pre-teen and it's always haunted me. To think that people could go hungry in the modern age is almost beyond belief! (Oh yeah - that still happens...). I think this book actually started me on the path to being environmentally conscious. I definitely want my kids to read it. ...more
Oct 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-read-jessie
I read this books as a child (in the 70s). It may not be the best book in the world (I haven't read it since) but any book that stays with you for nearly 40 years must have inherent worth. I do read a lot of dystopian lit, and this may have been the first dystopian novel I ever read. Time to track down a copy and read it again! ...more
Apr 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 3rd-5th graders
My mom and brother and I all read and loved this when I was about 9 or 10.
Sep 24, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't like it as much as I remember liking it as a kid. ...more
Oct 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
just re-read this after re-finding it from my childhood... still great!! good SF... still waiting for the sequel...
Mar 29, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in sixth grade. It was okay. Kind of odd, if you ask me.
Apr 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
I read this book in seventh grade and I still remember it to this day. It was the creepiest book I think I have ever read. Too bad it is out of print now.
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Frank Bonham (February 25, 1914 – 1988) was an author of Westerns and young adult novels. Bonham wrote 48 novels, as well as TV scripts. Bonham was born in Los Angeles. He was a UCLA graduate. Bonham was known for his works for young adults written in the 1960s, with tough, realistic urban settings, including The Nitty Gritty and Durango Street, as well as for his westerns. Several of his works ha ...more

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