Published by HarperCollins on March 10th 2015
Genre(s): YA Contemporary, Psychological Thriller, Mystery
Rating: 4 stars
New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver delivers a gripping story about two sisters inexorably altered by a terrible accident.
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.
“Alarming and uplifting, a rare psychological thriller that has a kind heart at its center. Read it with all the lights on.” — E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars.
The Characters: I LOVE sister relationships in books. It’s something that I don’t think YA has enough of. It’s also by Lauren Oliver, who I love, so I was ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE that I was going to love this book. Which I did.
Dara and Nick are two sisters (and the main characters) in Vanishing Girls. I absolutely loved their relationship, and how they each grew and matured in their own way. I liked how Oliver portrayed all the intricate layers of love and jealousy that the sisters had for each other in a very believable way. Dara is bold and intense, while Nick is quiet and intelligent.
The Plot: A lot of people say that Vanishing Girls was to predictable, or that they saw the ending coming from miles away. However, I didn’t see it coming at all, and I was completely shocked and confused. The last few chapters were so intense! It took me a while to process the conclusion.
Basically, the story reads as a pretty slow-moving contemporary. It describes the sisters’ relationship before the accident, and how they drifted apart over the years. I can see how some people would find the ending predictable, because there are some reoccurring themes in YA psychological thrillers, but I guess I just didn’t realize that when I was reading it.
One problem I had with the plot was that while the synopsis makes it seem that Dara’s disappearance came early in the book, the “disappearance” didn’t actually come until I was about 3/4 of the way through. By this time I had almost lost interest.
The Writing Style: I love Lauren Oliver’s Delirium series and Before I Fall. Her writing is so beautiful and realistic. The book is told in Dara and Nick’s POVs before and after the accident. Each of the characters felt so genuine and authentic, and I related to them so much over the course of the novel.
“Sometimes people stop loving you. And that’s the kind of darkness that never gets fixed, no matter how many moons rise again, filling the sky with a weak approximation of light.”
“That’s what life is, pretty much: full of holes and tangles and ways to get stuck. Uncomfortable and itchy. A present you never asked for, never wanted, never chose. A present you’re supposed to be excited to wear, day after day, even when you’d rather stay in bed and do nothing.”
“You broke my heart.
I fell for you and you broke my heart.
Period, done, end of story.”
“This is it: somehow, in these pictures, the mystery of the accident is contained, and the explanation for Dara’s subsequent behavior, for the silences and disappearances. Don’t ask me how. I just do. If you don’t understand that, I guess you’ve never had a sister.”
“And for a split second I find her, silhouetted by the sky, arms outstretched like she’s making snow angels in the air or simply laughing, turning in place; for a split second, she comes to me as the clouds, the sun, the wind touching my face and telling me that somehow, someday, it will be okay.”
Final Thought: Overall, I really enjoyed reading Vanishing Girls. I did find that the first half of the story was really slow-moving and dragged on and on, but the ending seemed to make up for that. I loved the writing style and the depth and complexity of each character, as well as the shocking conclusion. I would recommend to anyone who liked We Were Liars or Before I Fall.