If you don’t know it already, I am a huge fan of Lauren Oliver’s work. From Before I Fall to the Delirium series, Panic, I’ve read every Young Adult book she’s ever written, and I was never disappointed by any of them. Obviously, I had to read Vanishing Girls. I have a soft spot for disappearances and mystery. Lauren Oliver writing this kind of story, is just, perfect. Vanishing Girls is filled with suspense and mystery, but, most of all, with endearing characters, that made this story one of my favorites.
“I wish that photographs were physical spaces, like tunnels; that you could crawl inside them and go back.”
Sisters and best friends above everything, Dara and Nick used to be inseparable. Until one fateful accident, that left Dara’s face scarred, and the relationship between the two sisters turned upside down. Then, a local girl, Madeline Snow, disappears, and soon after, on her birthday, Dara vanishes, too. Convinced that the two are linked, Nick is determinated to find her sister…before it’s too late. Obviously this is one hell of a synopsis. Right from the start, we witness the change of relationship between Dara and Nick. We understand how it used to be before, and how it is after the acccident, thanks to a well-conceived story. Indeed, in this book, we get two different point of views : Dara’s, and Nick’s. But we also get two different period of times : before, and after the accident. Seems complicated? I assure you, it’s not. The whole story is reading itself like a puzzle, right from the start. You fall into a past story of two loving sisters, then get blown away by the harsh reality of their relationship after the accident. Some might find it confusing, at first. I am one of those who absolutely love flashbacks of all kinds, and different point of views, when it’s well done. And Lauren Oliver did a great job. Vanishing Girls is a puzzle. And right away, I couldn’t wait to put all the pieces together.
“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.”
The danger, obviously, when dealing with two points of views, is to master this. Dara and Nick both get a unique, very different voice in this story. They are different, we get both their personnalities, and, most importantly, both sides of their sister relationship. I found them very relatable, during the whole story. They weren’t cliché, they were just teenagers dealing with their kind of problems, and, as always in Lauren Oliver’s books, she talks about it very well, without ever being too much or too unrealistic. We also get a peak at a broken family life, the relationship between the girls and their parents… Most importantly, the author portrays very well how a relationship between two sisters usually is. I can say with luck I don’t know what that’s like, because my sister is the best in the whole world and we hardly ever fight. In this book however, we get an accurate description of two sisters : fights, make-ups, closeness vanishing with time, and boys getting in the way…Nick and Dara’s relationship seemed very right, to me. Vanishing Girls is filled with secondary characters, but they have a background, too. That is, I think, one of the richest thing about this book. Little details about those characters, their lives, their clothing style, made the whole picture much more vivid in my mind.
At first, some might wait anxiously for what happens next. There is an interesting, and necessary long built-up to this story: we fully get to understand the characters, their lives, how it was before and after thanks to the well-constructed story. Most of all, it raises suspicions. While I read, I was constantly trying to understand what was happening, really. There’s a tension underlying in this story, right from the start, I could feel that something was wrong. But, what, exactly? That’s the question I won’t answer, as not to spoil you guys. However, I didn’t expect the ending at all, when I started this book. While reading, I started to think about it, but thought, no, it can’t be right. The plot twist is filled with tensions and suddenly, it clicks. The puzzle is complete, and, haunting.
If you’re into contemporary, character-driven stories, and enjoy plot twists, then do pick up Vanishing Girls. Filled with mystery and, above all, a great and haunting story about sisters, this book totally earned its place on my favorites bookshelf. After closing it, I just wanted to read it again. To find all of the hints I missed, and to try to prevent the ending from happening, maybe…if I could.
Did you read Vanishing Girls? What did you think about it? If not, are you planning to read it? Are you into character-driven stories, or do you prefer action-packed stories? Feel free to share your thoughts in comments!
Lauren Oliver, Vanishing Girls, Published by Harper Collins, March 10th 2015.
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.