Cover image for Ransom
Duncan, Lois, 1934-2016.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Dell, 1990.

Physical Description:
172 pages ; 18 cm
General Note:
"Laurel-leaf books."
Reading Level:
750 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.9 7.0 5283.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.3 9 Quiz: 09561 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Grand Island Library Y FICTION Young Adult Mass Market Paperback Young Adult

On Order



The lives of five captives hang in the balance while their families gather the ransom.

Two brothers, their family frantic to find their sons. A loner whose uncle doesn't even know he's missing. An Army brat whose family will never be able to raise enough money. And a cheerleader who can't count on her stepdad, but knows her father will come through.

Author Notes

Lois Duncan was born on April 28, 1934 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the age of 13, her first story was published in the magazine Calling All Girls. As a senior in high school, she won Seventeen magazine's annual short-story contest. She continued to write for magazines after getting married and having children. She entered her young adult manuscript Debutante Hill in Dodd, Mead and Company's Seventeenth Summer Literary Contest and earned the grand prize, which was $1000 and a book contract. That first title was published in 1958. She published several young adult novels at that time including Love Song for Joyce and A Promise for Joyce, both under the pseudonym Lois Kerry.

After her first marriage ended in divorce, she wrote freelance magazine articles and taught in the journalism department at the University of New Mexico. After she married for the second time, she started writing books again. Her young adult novels included Ransom, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Killing Mr. Griffin, Night Terrors, Stranger with My Face, Don't Look Behind You, and The Twisted Window.

She also wrote works for younger readers including Silly Mother, The Circus Comes Home: When the Greatest Show on Earth Rose the Rails, Hotel for Dogs, News for Dogs, and Movie for Dogs. Her best-known non-fiction book, Who Killed My Daughter?: The True Story of a Mother's Search for Her Daughter's Murderer, is about her family's experiences following the murder of her youngest daughter in 1989. Her works have earned her several awards including three Parents' Choice awards, the Margaret A. Edwards Award in 1992, and the 2015 Grand Master Award by the Mystery Writers of America. She died on June 15, 2016 at the age of 82.

(Bowker Author Biography)



The bus had ground into motion now, moving out of the school driveway, slowly turning into the street.  It lurched a little and swung wide to avoid the Drive Slowly--School Zone sign which marked the middle line, and it seemed to straighten with an effort.  To Dexter, who was always conscious of mechanics, it was immediately apparent that something was not as usual.  He turned his gaze from the window and straightened in his seat, trying to see to the front.  Glenn Kirtland's head blocked him, and he pulled himself higher. "What are you looking at?" asked the girl next to him. "The driver," Dexter told her shortly. "Is something the matter with him?" "He's different.  He's not the guy who usually drives us." "Oh?  I hadn't noticed."  Now she, too, rose, leaning out into the aisle to gain a better view.  "You're right, he is different.  A young fellow.  Say, he's cute.  Look at those shoulders!" Ignoring the comment, Dexter sank back into his seat. "I wonder if he's gong to be our regular driver from now on or if he's just a substitute." The girl looked at Dexter inquiringly. When she received no answer, she flushed a little and looked ahead again. "He is cute," she murmured, and her friend across the aisle giggled in agreement. "Those shoulders!" "All that red hair--" "A positive movie star, worth riding the old school bus for." "Hey," one of the smaller boys near the front of the bus said suddenly.  "Hey, mister, you missed our stop!  That was it back there at the corner of Rosemont!" "Sorry, kid, I guess I just overshot it.  I'm new on this route."  The driver lowered the stop signal on the side of the bus and slowed it to a quivering halt in the middle of the block.  "You'll have to walk back to it." For the first time since the bus had left the schoolyard, general attention was centered upon the driver. "How about one of you kids sitting up front with me," suggested the driver, "to tell me where the stops are?  Somebody who lives at the end of the route and knows where everybody else gets off?" There was a moment's silence, and then Bruce Kirtland said, "I will.  I live at Valley Gardens.  That's the last stop." "That's fine then."  The driver had opened the door by now, and the first group of students descended, stretching and grumbling about the short walk back to the bus stop. The door closed again, and with a grinding of gears, the bus lurched forward. "He doesn't seem to know much about handling a bus," Glenn remarked in a low voice, regarding the driver with curios eyes. "He's just a substitute," Marianne reminded him.  "Perhaps he hasn't had experience driving one." "Even substitutes have to have special licenses.  They pass tests.  You can't pull in just anybody to substitute driving a school bus." The bus stopped, started, stopped.  More students got out.  Now there were only five of them left, five and the driver. We're almost there, thought Jesse.  In a few moments they would turn south on the road that led into the Valley Gardens area, down behind the country club. Valley Gardens, she thought, keeping her eyes on her book, not really reading, but concentrating on the neat white margins in order to keep from having to make conversation with the boy across the aisle who kept staring at her so rudely. Because her eyes were on the book, she was not the one to notice first that the bus had passed the turnoff.  It was Bruce's voice that brought it to her attention. "Hey we've come too far!  Back there is where I told you to turn, back by the sign to the country club.  You can pull right through the gates into the Gardens, and we all get off there." "That's okay."  The driver hardly seemed to notice him.  I'm taking the long way 'round.  I have to stop and pick up a friend of mine." "Pick somebody up?  With the school bus?"  Bruce was surprised. In her own seat Marianne echoed his reaction.  "That's funny.  Whom would he pick up with the bus?  And why?  It's not as though it were public transportation or something." "Well, we'll see in a minute.  He's slowing down."  Glen leaned past her to gaze out the window with curiosity.  "I guess that's the friend he's stopping for.  It sure does seem peculiar."   The bus door opened, and a swarthy man in a leather jacket climbed aboard.  The door closed quickly behind him, and the bus started up again.  The man glanced about the interior of the bus and said to the driver, "Is this all of them?" "These are the kids from the Gardens area."  The driver spoke over his shoulder, his eyes on the road ahead. "But there are only five.  I thought we figured on at least eight."  The new passenger spoke with a marked Mexican accent, not unusual in this part of the country.  "Only five.  Geez, Buck, it's hardly worth the risk of it." "We'll make it worth it," the driver told him. The bus turned now and started north, directly away from Valley Gardens.  Dexter, who had been staring in bewilderment, came to with a start. "Hey, you can't do this!  Who are you anyway?  Where do you think you're taking us?" The man in the leather jacket was still standing with his back against the door.  Now he took a step forward. "I think you had better move," he said, "behind those other two up there.  And you, girl"--he nodded to Jesse -- "you move up with him.  I want you all together where I can keep tabs on you." "What the devil..." Dexter began.  And then he saw the pistol. The bus turned again now, off the highway onto one of the dirt roads that led along the river. "Where are we going?" Jesse asked numbly. "Move forward," the man with the jacket told her, and she did so, closing her book carefully first, automatically slipping a bit of paper in to mark her place, too stunned even to attempt to grasp the significance of what was happening. Perched at the front of the bus, Bruce stared back at them all like a small, startled owl. "What--what's happening?" he asked shakily.  "Glenn, do you understand?" His brother's handsome face was incredulous.  He drew a long breath. "It looks," he said in a strange flat voice, "as though we are being kidnapped."      Excerpted from Ransom by Lois Duncan All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Google Preview