by Lauren Oliver
Publication: HarperCollins on March 10, 2015
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before - before Dara kissed Parker, before Nick lost him as her best friend, before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred. Now the two sisters, who used to be so close, aren't speaking. In an instant, Nick lost everything and is determined to use the summer to get it all back.But Dara has other plans. When she vanishes on her birthday, Nick things Dara is just playing around. But another girl has vanished, too - nine-year-old Madeline Snow - and as Nick pursues her sister, she becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances may be linked.
I've read my fair share of Lauren Oliver books over the years, and though written well, none were quite able to convert me into a Lauren Oliver fan. When I heard news of her newest 2015 release, Vanishing Girls, I checked it out in hopes it would be one to turn the tables.
As I feel is the case in many Lauren Oliver books, Vanishing Girls is also one with frequent POV shifts. From chapter to chapter, the reader jumps back and forth between the perspectives of the two Warren sisters, Dara and Nick. I personally am not the biggest fan of such frequent POV shifts, but in this case, the changes in perspective were definitely necessary to build up the main storyline. Besides the POV shifts, occasional photos, diary entries, and blog posts are also interlaced throughout the story to aid the narrative.
I did feel as if certain portions of the story were lacking and simply not followed through or developed enough. Certain events seemed to happen so abruptly with no build-up whatsoever, as if Lauren Oliver was randomly pulling slips of paper with events written on them out of a hat. (However, I won't go into specifics so as to allow prospective readers their own fair opportunity to draw individual judgement.)
If you're an impatient reader, be forewarned: the supposed main storyline, the "disappearance" of Dara only takes place a little ways after the halfway point of the story. Personally, I didn't have much of a problem with this, as Lauren Oliver still managed to keep the events prior interesting and engaging to the reader. And if you continue reading on, you'll soon understand why the book is written in such a way.
Although many readers said they were not taken by surprise with the big jaw-dropper of the story, I was. Perhaps I was not able to foresee the jaw-dropper due to the fact I rarely read psychological thrillers, but there was a specific point in the story when I became extremely, utterly confused. And this is the point when certain things begin to click into place, and others, begin to fall apart.
Vanishing Girls is a book you'll need to flip through a second time simply to understand, to see. And though it took me some time after, I was able to make sense of everything. Clues that were not-so-obvious to me prior, stood out in bold, flashing letters when skimmed over a second time.