Vanishing Girls – Lauren Oliver

The Details:

Publisher: Haper Collins
Published: March 10th, 2015
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult, Contemporary
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Goodreads Blurb:

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister before it’s too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

My Review:

I love the way Lauren Oliver writes, but this one wasn’t exactly my favorite. I wasn’t disappointed, per say, but Vanishing Girls didn’t grab me the way that Before I Fall or Panic did.

Oliver has a very gripping and eloquent writing style that I just love. She’s able to put so much into a single sentence, building with metaphor and dimension. This book contains amazing writing and a deep thought provoking story, I just think there was a piece missing.

Dara and Nick as sisters, close in both age and as friends. For a large amount of the story, it appears that they had a fight about a boy; the neighbor boy, (which is one of my least favorite tropes of all time) but it isn’t something that is a huge part of the story. It’s not the main focus of the story, the bigger part is the sisters repairing their relationship after a car accident several months before the story begins.

The story is broken up in Looking for Alaska style “Before” and “After” sections, but the sections are not in order. The book doesn’t start in March and end in September, it mainly takes place over 10 days in July and has flashbacks and journal entries of the earlier times sprinkled in. I really liked that it pulled the mystery forward and didn’t lay everything out right away.

There are several unfolding mysteries taking place during the ten days that the book takes place over. A missing 9-year-old girl, Maddie Snow, is one of them. I remember when this book was getting close to release and there was a Tumblr about Maddie and a twitter and a facebook group. It was a really cool internet marketing campaign that I think Oliver and her team should get huge kudos for. It’s why I bought the book the week it came out (not that I wouldn’t have bought it eventually). Maddie’s disappearance is tangled into the story of Dara and Nick extremely well. The two stories intersecting at different points layering the narrative. There are breaks in the narrative where there are discussion board posts and news articles about the investigation that work to shape both stories.

I think what lacked in this story is a connection to the characters. As a person, I tend to connect more with the “outsider” type character, which Oliver rarely has in her stories. She tends to write about the “in crowd” the pretty popular people that many authors (or at least those I read) don’t. She has been very successful in that and I love her books for the way she shows that just because someone has all the friends in the world and living the life I wanted to live when I was 16 or 17 doesn’t mean that everything was perfect. I didn’t have that connection with Nick or Dara. Reflecting on the book I don’t think I was really supposed to, but missing that emotional part left something out for me.

I felt that the twist toward the end of the book didn’t have to “shock” quality that it should have had. Maybe I just read too much of this kind of book, but I don’t think it twisted enough if that makes sense. It was interesting, but it didn’t have the bang that it could have.

All and all, I liked the book, it was a fun read, it just didn’t exactly produce what I was hoping for from a Lauren Oliver book. If I hadn’t read one of her books before, it might have gotten a solid 4 stars, but knowing what Oliver is capable of with her stories, this one missed the mark a little.

 

Until next time Internet,

Deanna

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