"Ransom" by Lois Duncan tells the story of five teenagers in Albuquerque, New Mexico who are kidnapped on the bus back from school and are held captive in a cabin until their loved ones pay the ransom money. Through this difficult event, the students learn deep lessons about themselves. The novel is told from the differing points of view of each youth involved.
According to Operoadmedia.com, the story focuses on five teenagers who come from different walks of life. Glenn and Bruce are brothers whose family is undergoing financial difficulties. Marianne is a popular cheerleader who has a strained relationship with her stepfather but adores her biological father. Jesse is a shy girl whose father is often away on military duty. Dexter is a loner who lives with an emotionally distant uncle. All five live in Valley Gardens, the last stop on the bus route.
When the teens board their school bus, they discover they have a substitute driver. Things turn bad when the driver ignores the final stop and keeps driving, eventually taking the group to a secluded cabin in the woods. There, three criminals explain the terms of ransom. However, things do not go as expected for the criminals. Dexter's uncle doesn't even realize his nephew is missing. Glenn and Bruce's families are unable to pay the ransom for both children. Jesse's father is beyond communication on assignment.
When it becomes apparent their families are unable to pay the ransom, the teens make plans to escape. In the process, they develop friendships and courage.