By: Celine | July 28, 2014 | (29) Comments

Review: The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn AndersonThe Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 1st, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Pages: 256
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 LilyThe 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!~

3.5 Stars
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Celine is 17 years old and from the Netherlands. Quite obviously, she loves books! She has been a reader for as long as she can remember, and she believes she will be a reader forever. Celine is also obsessed with food, and loves singing along to music as loud as possible, dancing and doodling on nearly everything.

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29 Responses to Review: The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

  1. Siiri says:

    Heh! Tanja mentioned the exact same thing today in her review that this isn’t a ghost story actually and is more about the characters. A good triangle? WHOA! Hold up! Those actually exist? They’re so rare that I truly don’t feel like there are any good ones left out there. I’m glad the character developments didn’t bore you. I haven’t read TL, nor TVS ofc, but I want to based on the prose praise everyone keeps adding to this pile of.. well, praise. I’m glad you enjoyed this as a whole Celine! Gorgeous review!

    Siiri @ Little Pieces of Imagination

    • Celine says:

      They actually exist! It was a shock to me too!

      And haha, you definitely should read Tiger Lily 🙂 It’s Anderson’s best work and one of my favourites. Really beautiful. I hope that if you ever read TVS, you’ll like it! It’s much slower than Tiger Lily though.

      Thanks, Siiri <33

  2. This sounds so interesting! I got the UK version, it’s called The Moment Collector, can’t wait to read it now! =D Great review!
    Bieke @ Istyria book blog recently posted…Review: Midnight Thief by Livia BlackburneMy Profile

  3. Anna says:

    “A Character Study” Well that sounds interesting. Totally reading this! Lovely review 🙂
    Anna recently posted…Book Review: Forbidden by Tabitha SuzumaMy Profile

  4. Wow, it sounds like this book would be perfect to pick up during the cold winter days (which is now, although it doesn’t really get that cold these days). I’ve heard really amazing things about Tiger Lily and the author’s writing, and it sounds like this one has beautiful prose and great characters to read about. Great review Celine!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Giveaway & Review: We Were Liars by E. LockhartMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      Yes, it’s definitely wintery! Tiger Lily is amazing, and I hope you get to it soon 🙂 It’s way stronger than TVS, though I enjoyed this one too.

      Thanks Jeann <33

  5. Thanks for the absolutely wonderful review, Celine! This is the first time I’ve heard of this book, and I definitely think I’m going to have to add it to my TBR.
    Ebony @ Paperbacks & Protagonists recently posted…Book Review – Winger by Andrew SmithMy Profile

  6. Tanja says:

    Lookie our blogs are twins today 😉 I just posted my review for this one and well it seems I enjoy it more then you did. I’m so glad that we both agree that this one is more focused on characters and their development which I loved 🙂 I loved Tiger Lily more too, but this one was really good. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Great review 🙂
    Tanja recently posted…ARC Review: The Moment Collector by Jodi Lynn AndersonMy Profile

  7. This was my first Jodi Lynn Anderson read and…I was kind of disappointed. Like everyone RAVED over Tiger Lily and I thought this would be amazing. Eh. I liked it, (I think I gave it 3 stars??? Gosh I read it like back in April, I think >_< And the Aussie release date isn't until mid-August!) but I was pretty indifferent until the ending. You're absolutely right, though! Even the writing is beautiful and wintery. But THAT ENDING. I was really shocked. I had to read it twice.
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Breaking Butterflies by M. Anjelais || Also: Breaking My MindMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      I can definitely umderstand your indifference – it was like the characters and everything were beneath a layer of ice almost impossible to break through. The ending was… something though. And ha, I understand! I read and reviewed it almost half a year ago so I had no idea what I even said in my review anymore O.o

  8. Zoe N. says:

    “Though Tiger Lily will always remain my favourite, The Vanishing Season is still a lovely, wintery, quiet and emotional read.” <– My thoughts exactly Celine. This was a wonderful novel, but it wasn't quite on the same level as Tiger Lily. I loved Jodi’s development and character study in this one, and I agree – the love triangle in this was really well-done. And oh my gosh! That ending! *WAILS* So sad.

    I think whether you like this or not depends on what you expect of it. If you’re looking for a murder mystery, you won’t find it here. (That was what I was looking for, and sadly I was mistaken). However, if you’re looking for a beautifully written novel about friendship and love, this definitely is something to pick up.

    Thanks for sharing Celine, and GORGEOUS review! <3
    Zoe N. recently posted…Dangerous BoysMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      Tiger Lily will always be my favourite, but TVS was still wonderful 🙂 I was surprised by the love triangle – it was so good! and THAT ENDING. So, so sad.

      And yes, it’s very important to know what you’re getting into with this one. Action-packed it is not 😛

      Thanks, Zoe <33

  9. It is disappointing that the ghosts don’t play that large of a role, but I love books that have strong characterization. I’ll have to check this one out! I loved Tiger Lily and am glad you enjoyed this one as well overall 🙂
    Kris @Imaginary Reads recently posted…Review: The High Druid’s Blade by Terry BrooksMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      Ha, it’s ghost actually – not even plural. That’s how little ghost there was! 😛 But strong characterization is something you’ll definitely find here. Thanks Kris 🙂

  10. I read Tiger Lily not too long ago, and your first paragraphs talking about how this book was a character study and focused more on the dynamics while still having that “distant” tone reminded me of her Peter Pan retelling. Tinkerbell is the narrator, but she’s not the main character of the story. She simply just tells it to us, and I loved how the tone was distant but at the same time it still felt personal to me because I was still able to understand the other characters in such a deep level. Obviously, as soon as you said those paragraphs, I was sold because that’s exactly what made me love Anderson’s retelling in the first place!
    Faye D’Social Potato recently posted…Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah Maas – “GOOD. TOO GOOD.”My Profile

    • Celine says:

      Yes, I LOVED Tiger Lily and its narration. But I thought TL was, well, the kind of distant where it’s told by someone who is not the MC (obvs), but TVS was layer-of-ice-over-the-characters distant. It was a different kind of distant, so I hope this ends up working for you too 🙂

      If you ever get to this, do tell me so we can discuss 😀

  11. Sounds like it was beautifully written. Thanks for your thoughts.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Buckle Up Music Festival – The ActsMy Profile

  12. Nemo Rosa says:

    Great Review! But I agree, it was such a let down after Tiger Lily

  13. Megan says:

    This sounds like an interesting and unusual sort of book. I’m glad you enjoyed it and I think I’d give it a try if I was in the right sort of mood for it. I think it’s important to know what you are in for so you aren’t disappointed.
    Megan recently posted…Review: Mortal DangerMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      Going in with the right expectations is very important – otherwise I dont think you’d enjoy it as much. It was definitely unusual 🙂

  14. Since I’ve only heard of Jodi Anderson and of Tiger Lily today, I am sorry but I can’t make the connection. I’ve seen this book on EW but wasn’t interested to pick it up. Girls or boys vanishing mysteriously is not really the kind of synopsis that would entice me. Hahahaha. I easily panic or get scared.

    I am happy that you liked it though. I’m glad that you’re totally invested on the characters. And kudos to the author for making sure that the love triangle is done properly. That’s very rare nowadays, isn’t it? Glad that the love story didn’t become central to the plot.

    Lovely review, Celine!
    Charlotte @ Thoughts and Pens recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday {2}: Authors I Own The Most Books OfMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      I can see why – I get scared very easily too. However, it was very much a side-plot on not much focus was on it.
      And yes, a proper love triangle IS rare nowadays! I was very surprised by that 🙂

      Thanks, Charlotte!

  15. Marcio says:

    A propos, qu’est-ce qui est l’essentiel pour vous e0 Qumre2n ? psuiqu’il semblerait qu’il y ait une doctrine coordonne9e. L’ide9e de Maeetre de Justice ? Celle de purete9 ? Le retrait du monde ? Et quel lien re9el aussi bien avec Jean-Baptiste et ses disciples qu’avec les premiers chre9tiens ? Tant de livres sont sortis que je serais inte9resse9e d’avoir quelques titres vraiment fiables. Une nouvelle religion est-elle ne9e ou rene9e ? Y a-t-il des gens qui se disent esse9niens aujourd’hui comme beaucoup se disent cathares (alors que cela se re9sume e0 du folklore) ?

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