Release Date: July 1st, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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Girls started vanishing in the fall, and now winter's come to lay a white sheet over the horror. Door County, it seems, is swallowing the young, right into its very dirt. From beneath the house on Water Street, I've watched the danger swell.
The residents know me as the noises in the house at night, the creaking on the stairs. I'm the reflection behind them in the glass, the feeling of fear in the cellar. I'm tied—it seems—to this house, this street, this town.
I'm tied to Maggie and Pauline, though I don't know why. I think it's because death is coming for one of them, or both.
All I know is that the present and the past are piling up, and I am here to dig.I am looking for the things that are buried.
From bestselling author Jodi Lynn Anderson comes a friendship story bound in snow and starlight, a haunting mystery of love, betrayal, redemption, and the moments that we leave behind.
The Vanishing Season is a book I can best describe as one of those moments that feel very intimate and breakable, and if you change even the slightest thing – breathe too loudly, wriggle your feet – it’ll shatter. It’s a quiet and wintery book that features some of Anderson’s lovely prose. Though the synopsis may tell you otherwise, The Vanishing Season is not a ghost story. There is a ghost, but it doesn’t have a lot of space to speak. Mostly this is the story of Maggie, Pauline and Liam. The Vanishing Season is also not a murder mystery, though girls do disappear and turn up dead. Still, that’s not what the book is about, or focuses on.
At its core, I think it’s safe to say that The Vanishing Season is a character study. We have three major characters, and this book is really about changing relationships and true friendship and first love. Yes, The Vanishing Season features a love triangle, but for the first time in a long while I can say that it’s a good one. It’s not one of your typical girl-gets-to-choose-between-two-boys triangle. The different dynamics between the characters are developed and explored so well: it’s truly the strength of this novel. Which is a good thing, because not much else is happening.
If you’re going into The Vanishing Season expecting a suspenseful, action-packed murder mystery with ghosts, you’re going to be disappointed. Instead, it’s quiet and subdued and even distant at times. There are things going on in the background, but in the end, not much attention is being payed to them. I think you could even say that in the end, nothing happens. At all. But if you know this going in, I think you might still enjoy it. Despite the complete and utter lack of action, I didn’t grow bored. Though I can imagine others did.
Jodi Lynn Anderson uses the full 256 pages of her book developing characters through and through. It’s really the strongest part of the novel, together with the love triangle. Of course, the two are intertwined: if you’re going to talk about one, you’re going to have to talk about the other. To be honest, it was all just lovely. The subtle way different relationships come and go, how they shift just the tiniest little bit and come with a bucket full of different feelings. If you enjoy character studies, you’re going to enjoy The Vanishing Season.
Of course, Anderson’s prose is lovely as ever. Though she got to me more in Tiger Lily, The Vanishing Season is still expertly written and features some lovely paragraphs. Though it was (and still is) summer in real life while I read this, I could still feel the biting cold of snow stinging your face and the chill of stepping outside, away from the warmth of your house. One of the best ways to make me emotional is through writing so lovely it hurts, and Anderson does that. Especially the passages where the ghost narrates were beautiful.
In all, I think you can say The Vanishing Season is a great book, though not quite the masterpiece that was Tiger Lily. As long as you know what to expect going into it, you might end up really enjoying this. Though it’s not the creepy ghost-and-murder story some were probably expecting, the close look it takes at characters and changing relationships are definitely worth it. Though Tiger Lily will always remain my favourite, The Vanishing Season is still a lovely, wintery, quiet and emotional read.
~Thank you HarperTeen for the review copy!~
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