Published by HarperCollins on March 10th 2015
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review, via Edelweiss
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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.
Well, Lauren Oliver has done it again: Written such lovely words, told such a moving story, and reminded me of why she’s one of my favorite authors of all time. Vanishing Girls was exquisite.
Vanishing Girls features Nick and Dara, sisters who used to be extremely close, but are now anything but. Not having a sister, the dynamics have always fascinated me, and the relationship in this book is no exception. Nick and Dara were best friends, seemingly soul mates, until life started to come between them. Different tastes and opinions, boy trouble (well, that may be putting it mildly), and most horrifically, a serious car accident, have pushed them far apart from the close siblings they’d been.
I connected with Nick from the start of the book. I don’t know why, she simply resonated with me, and reminded me a bit of myself I suppose. Yes, she had her faults, but I feel like I have quite a few of the same faults, so I found her insanely relatable. I didn’t connect to Dara as much for a plethora of reasons, some of which made a lot of sense to me as the book progressed. But I was still captivated by her story even if I couldn’t relate to her as much.
There is so little I can say about this book without spoiling things, so I will provide you with a few tidbits that really solidified my love for this book, and then I will suggest that you read it, okay? Fabulous.
- There is mystery. Oh no, this isn’t just a story about sisters. It starts off with some talk about a young girl who has disappeared, and I am going to be honest (and this may make me an awful human being), I didn’t care at all at first. I just wanted to get on with the real story. Silly me, this was all part of the real story. Sorry!
- The writing is magnificent. I have said before that I’d pay to read Lauren Oliver’s grocery list, and that applies now more than ever. There are times when I was thinking that maybe some of the descriptions were superfluous, but then I realized that I was so very in the scene, that it all made sense. She was able to evoke such a feeling of being present in the story, that the words became necessary. There was one scene in particular (and don’t worry, this is not even close to a spoiler!):
“I towel off with the scratchy brown paper towel unique to public restrooms, the kind that smells like wet earth.”*
I felt absolutely in some grimy public bathroom! How is that even possible? Oh, because Lauren Oliver paints magnificent word pictures, that’s how.
- There’s a big old twist. Now, I figured out the twist (not incredibly early, but quite a bit before it was all revealed) but it didn’t decrease my enjoyment of the book at all. In fact, it was almost the opposite. I felt like I had a better appreciate and understanding about what was going on and that my newfound insight helped me connect with the story more.
Bottom Line: I can’t and won’t say anything more for fear of revealing something, but Vanishing Girls and I got along quite well. I cared deeply about the characters and the story, and my emotions were all over the place, in the best of ways. Definitely a win for me.
*Quote taken from uncorrected proof, subject to change.