Publisher: Hachette Australia
Release Date: March 10th, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I have a very rocky relationship with Oliver’s books. While she caught my heart with Before I Fall, Panic and the later books in her Delirium trilogy did not have me impressed. So I went into Vanishing Girls very much cautiously, and I ended up getting exactly what I was hoping for.
Sometimes day and night reverse. Sometimes up goes down and down goes up, and love turns into hate, and things you counted on get washed out from under your feet, leaving you pedalling in the air.
While Vanishing Girls might just seem like your generic tale of two sisters at a glance, you can trust Oliver to whip out something that is just so much more underneath the surface. While the central story-line is about the love between two siblings and how it slowly twisted into jealousy and loathing, there’s also a nine-year old girl who goes missing in the midst of it all, and soon you discover that these two story-lines have more in common than meets the eye.
Vanishing Girls comes to life at Oliver’s writing. No one can deny – Oliver has some real skills when it comes to putting gorgeous words onto the page. They definitely hold a poetic quality, and you can really tell by the quotes I’ve scattered across this review. Sure, her words a really simple, there’s nothing all that fancy to them but there’s this thing I like to call “beautiful simplicity” and Oliver’s writing is exactly that. Heck, the epitome of that self-made term. If you’re unsure of whether you’d like the plot, read the book for it’s beautiful words, I promise you’ll eat them right up.
Sometimes people stop loving you. And that’s the kind of darkness that never gets fixed, no matter how many moons rise again, filling the sky with a weak approximation of light.
This tale is told in a very unique format. Oliver utilizes the ‘before’ and ‘after’ trope, as well as telling the story in dual perspective, so us readers can acquaint with both the girls – Dara and Nick. There are also newspaper clippings and other articles slipped in between chapters, as well as diary entries and emails. Basically, Oliver whips in anything that can be whipped in, and turns it into this magnificent tale that is told with so much poignancy and and depth.
Don’t ask me how I know. I just do. If you don’t understand that, I guess you’ve never had a sister.
Being an older sister myself, I found myself clicking with this story from the very first page. (Not that if you aren’t a sister you won’t connect with this story, it’s just that I found that I could resonate with this story better.) Immediately, you can feel the tension and competition that is lingering in the air between these two sisters, but at the same time, there is this unconditional love that is always present. It’s the differences that set us apart, and Dara and Nick really do prove that exact statement. These two girls, while they do share some of the same genes, are miles and miles apart in terms of their personality and interests. It’s basically an invisible barrier between them, and the older they got, the wider that barrier seemed to get. I certainly think that Oliver did an excellent job at pulling of the sisterly dynamic. It felt plausible and just so very real.
In terms of the ending, I definitely didn’t see it coming. Oliver brings a nice twist to the table, and makes this thriller a whole lot more thrilling and unique. Unfortunately, at the same time, the ending did lessen the book’s credibility for me. I wasn’t able to fully accept it, mainly due to how it unravelled. As the first half of this book is considerably slower than the second half, the change in pacing for the second half really threw me off, and consequently made the ending not give the impact that it was hoping to bring.
Beautiful writing, a gripping tale and a thrilling sisterly dynamic, Vanishing Girls is certainly my favourite book by Lauren Oliver.
~Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me this copy!~
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