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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

ARC Book Review: Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Realistic Fiction
Publication.Date:March 10, 2015
Pages:368 (ARC eBook)
Published By:  HarperCollins
Website:Lauren Oliver 

Vanishing Girls on Goodreads
My review copy:
Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Where to get:

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.


Quotes obtained from an ARC and are subject to change
There's something backward about living in a place so obsessed with the past; it's like everyone's given up on the idea of a future.
There's a roaring in my ears, like earlier today, just before I fainted. I don't remember crossing the restaurant or busting out into the night air but suddenly, there I am: on the fair side of the parking lot, jogging through the grass, gulping deep breaths of air and wishing for an explosion, a world-ending, movie-style disaster; wishing for the darkness to come down, like water, over all our heads.
Sometimes day and night reverse. Sometimes up goes down and down goes up and love turns into hate, and the things you counted on get washed out from under your feet, leaving you pedaling in the air.

Vanishing Girls sucked me in from the beginning. We start the story with a short scene between Nick and Dara, learning that they have always been close despite their varying tastes. Having a wonderful relationship with my own sister, I found it fascinating that after a car accident these two could not be further apart. And not in the snide remarks and dirty looks kind of way, but the full on avoiding kind of way. Nick has even moved out of her mother's house and moved in with her father in attempt to give Dara space and time apart.

I am sometimes wary when authors have dual narratives, that are equally dominate, as I've seen it work wonders and I've seen it crash and burn - either one voice is too strong or neither voice is great. In Vanishing Girls both narratives are strong and allow us to get to know both Nick and Dara, along with the pain they are both holding on to, both individually and as a unit. I was drawn to both of these girls, hoping they would find their peace with one another and move one from what happened that fateful night.

The other aspect of the narrative that I enjoyed, which others may find confusing, is it jumps around in time - but I didn't find it difficult to keep straight. One chapter may be after the accident, while the next takes place beforehand, then we read a diary entry before heading back to present time. It added to the story and is a driving force.

Not only is the plot compelling and tense, but Lauren's writing is beautiful. She knows how to pull her readers into the story and hold them in there. I didn't find myself wavering or pulling away from the story because the world and characters she has created are wonderfully written. A thrilling read about the relationship between two sisters, the secrets between them, and finding the strength to forgive, Vanishing Girls will keep you flipping pages until the very end.


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