by Lauren Oliver
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (March 10, 2015)
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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.
At a Glance:
Vanishing Girls is an intense story with beautiful writing and a killer ending. Although not everything lined up for me, and this book read a little too much like a contemporary instead of a mystery for my taste, I still really enjoyed it and think fans of Lauren Oliver will be very pleased.
I actually adore the cover. In real life it's absolutely gorgeous, with its soft tones and faded picture. I think the title is perfect as well.
This book is a mystery, but I felt like, especially the first 50% (and this is a pretty big book for the genre) read more like a contemporary than a mystery. Which is perfectly fine, but that's not normally my go-to style. I actually considered putting the book down at about 30%, because contemp wasn't what I was in the mood for, but the mystery started to seep in and hooked me. If I can give you some advice, don't go looking up a lot of info for this one, or you will be easily spoiled :D
There is a romance element to Vanishing Girls, but it isn't the main focus of the book, which was good. Parker has been in Nick (Nicole) and Dara's lives since they were young, and they have always been best friends, but recently things have changed and it's put a strain on their group dynamic. This was really well done, in my opinion, and kind of awesome to see played out. One of my favorite parts of the book.
I loved the way Lauren Oliver wrote the relationship between Nick and Dara. It jumped around from past to present, both Nick and Dara's views written, with some journal entries scattered here and there. There were also pictures scattered through the book which I absolutely loved. After the accident, and some altercation that occurred between the girls, their relationship is strained, but through the flashbacks we get to see what it used to be, and hope for what it will be again.
Something I loved:
I loved trying to figure out "who done it." A girl goes missing in Nick and Dara's town, and they get wrapped up in the investigation, I really enjoy trying to fit the pieces of the puzzle together.
Something(s) I hated:
I thought the ending lacked a little something. There were things that didn't line up for me, and things that I thought were not fine tuned enough. I'll add a spoiler section to the bottom to go into more detail. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. Also, side note, not that this is valid at all, but I wish Nick's name would've been spelled Nic or something. I kept thinking she was a guy, which, I know, means I'm an idiot, but there you have it.
Nope, this one is all wrapped up and is a standalone, which I love!
Would I recommend it?
Yeah, I think that if you like mysteries, contemporaries, stories about sisters, or just Lauren Oliver's writing, you'll enjoy this one.
Will I buy/keep it?
I'm definitely keeping the gorgeous hardcover that Harper sent me! Thanks so much, Harper Teen!
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting, Made For You by Melissa Marr, ....there are others but I don't want to spoil anything.
There's a decent amount of language in this one, including the "F" word. There is underage drinking, pot smoking, and mild use of other drugs. There's also some sexual content, though nothing described, more dialog.
Do not read this unless you have read the book. YOU WILL BE SPOILED.
I did really like the concept of the "twist" of the book, but I didn't think it was quite pulled off. First of all, it's really annoying that they had E. Lockhart blurb the book. I mean, if you're wanting there to be a twist, why would you immediately tell people what to look out for? Even with the blurb, though, I wasn't completely sure what was going to happen, because much of the evidence points to Dara being alive. There were facts stated by Dara in her POVs that only she could've known. I guess this could be Nick projecting, but since Nick actually believed something different it just didn't work, in my opinion.
As I'm typing this, I'm arguing with myself about it. I guess if Nick's subconscious remembered what happened between herself and Parker, and maybe Parker told her that he and Dara never slept together, and other personal things, and subconsciously she remembers that Dara caught them and was devastated, her Dara personality could know those things without Nick knowing them? Hmmm...what are your thoughts?
But there was also the birthday dinner. Although Nick's mom's reaction fits, her dad and her aunt's reactions are misleading to the point of deception. I get that her aunt is kind of new-agey and would talk to Dara's spirit, or whatever, but to say "I'm sure what Nick means is that Dara's not here yet. It's her birthday dinner, she'll be here." I just can't make that work. It doesn't fit.
Also, how would Dara's phone still be charged when Nick found it? Even if it hadn't been used, it would've died long before that.
I did love going back and thinking about her interactions with Parker when she thought she was Dara but she was actually Nick. I was so annoyed with the way he acted to her at work after the party "Dara" went to, but once I realized what was happening, I felt so different about Parker. And that car scene. Crazy. But, does Parker know now what was going on? Do you think he would still want to be with Nick after he found out? I'm not sure.
Something I wasn't sure about was how much her parents knew. I mean she had some pretty erratic behavior, and did they not notice anything?
One other thing that I didn't care for was that the little girl just ran away. Not that I want anything bad to happen to a little girl, of course, but it just didn't feel legit to me. I couldn't make myself believe a little girl would just run away like that when she was otherwise perfectly happy at home. I liked the direction it was going with the trafficking-like situation and I think that could've been more explored. Especially with how bad trafficking is. And the story with the roller-coaster was just kind of left off.
If you've read this, I'd love to hear your thoughts! If you talk about spoilers, make sure you write SPOILER before your comment!