Published by HarperCollins on March 10, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
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.
It is always very exciting when I am able to recommend a five-star book to all of you, and that is exactly what Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver is for me. This young adult mystery follows two sisters, Nick and Dara. As young children they were absolutely inseparable, but as they grow older they begin to grow apart. Everything changes when they are in a car accident together. Nick was at the wheel, and escaped with minor injuries, but Dara’s injuries are much more extensive. Vanishing Girls seeks to uncover the truth behind the accident. At the same time, a young girl named Madeline Snow goes missing from Nick and Dara’s town. The book explores whether these two mysteries are really as different as they seem.
I was absolutely blown away by Vanishing Girls. I love a good thriller, and although I was pretty disappointed with myself that I didn’t figure out the plot twist, I was amazed with how well Oliver crafted this story. A lot of readers criticize Vanishing Girls because it is similar to other books out there. That is definitely true, and even I have read a book with the same ending. However, the journey leading up to the conclusion is what allows Vanishing Girls to truly stand alone.
Oliver is an excellent writer. This is the third book I’ve read by her, and in each one she develops a unique voice. Not only is her writing poetic, and filled with beautiful descriptors, but she carefully crafted Vanishing Girls. It really takes talent to be able to weave together a mystery like this one. For the majority of the book things don’t seem important or connected, but in hindsight they are. I am so impressed with the writing and storytelling.
Similarly, Vanishing Girls becomes a very rereadable novel because of this sort of writing. I want to pick it up again in the future to really key in on the clues I missed along the way. I read Vanishing Girls as an eBook, but next time I will get a physical copy. That is because intermixed with the prose are mixed media elements such as photographs, online news articles, and more. I would like to see those in print form, as I think that will add more to the reading experience.
Moreover, I wanted to quickly discuss the character development in this novel. Part of me wishes that I knew the ins and outs of the characters more, but I understand why we only see characters in a limited way. The story needs to have a certain type of narration in order to be successful, so I’m glad Oliver was able to accomplish that. This will make more sense once you read the book, so I encourage you to still read it even if you usually like fully developed characters.
Overall, I am so happy I finally got to Vanishing Girls. It is a very quick read, and one that is quite impactful. I absolutely love books like this one, and find them a lot of fun. I understand that not everyone likes a psychological thriller, but I highly recommend this one if you do! I will be continuing to read Oliver’s books – she hasn’t let me down yet!
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