Synopsis: 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.
Huge thank you to Harper Collins Canada for this ARC!
Lauren Oliver’s works seems to be really hit and miss with reviewers as of late. For me, I’ve always been a huge fan of her writing — there’s a quality to it that just sucks me in and keeps me turning the pages, wanting to know more. Vanishing Girls is a mystery and it keeps you guessing throughout.
Part of what I love about Vanishing Girls is the relationship between the sisters Nick and Dara. It’s a very screwed up relationship, one that was once strong and loving. Then everything is shattered and Nick is, in her own way, trying to understand and pick up the pieces. The best parts of this novel was going back and forth between the sisters and piece together what had happened between them. Oliver pulls no punches, she feeds you pieces at a time. The book weirdly reads like a blur, you are given information, parts vanish, and then it reappears in another way. I really enjoyed that aspect of the writing.
A lot of what makes Vanishing Girls such a gripping read is the fact that the reader is left to their own devices. Neither Nick nor Dara is a reliable narrator and sometimes you’ll find yourself wondering why certain information is being dropped. The book completely messes with you, and it’s haunting and suspenseful. Whenever I put the book down, I wanted to keep reading, keep guessing.
Weirdly, I was less interested in now Madeline Snow fit into the whole equation. I understood the parallels being used by Oliver, but those sections never kept me as well gripped the way Dara’s diary entries and sections did. I also like that Nick as a heroine is not entirely innocent in her behaviour, and she’s actually quite unlike-able. Yet, she and Dara have such a passionate and catastrophic relationship — they love each other and it’s completely apparent when you read it. When you see the tension between them, it’s like the reader is falling into a spiral, the same feeling Nick is feeling throughout.
Vanishing Girls is a tough book to describe, but it’s a wonderful and gripping read. It’s much better than Panic, and the suspense throughout will keep you guessing and engaged. It’s not my favourite book by Lauren Oliver, but I feel like if you love a good mystery that messes with your mind, Vanishing Girls likely won’t disappoint.