Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Posted March 5, 2015 by Sara | Novel Novice 2 Comments

A psychological thriller with plenty of twists and turns from best-selling author Lauren Oliver, Vanishing Girls promises to keep readers guessing from the edge of their seat as they delve into the tumultuous relationship between two sisters.

Vanishing GirlsDara 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.

Lauren’s writing is always just so lovely, and Vanishing Girls is no exception. The prose is quite beautiful, and it helps set the stage for an exquisite story about two sisters and their rocky relationship. But don’t be deceived by the official synopsis (above) — much of the book centers more on Nick and Dara’s relationship, and less so on the mystery involving the missing nine-year-old. (That takes center stage as the book’s climax peaks.)

The loveliest moments of the book, to me, were with Nick at her job at the amusement park. I loved the atmosphere and feel of these scenes. Lauren’s sensory writing fills each of these scenes with sights, smells, temperatures … the amusement park really came to life for me, and honestly, I would have loved this book if it was just about Nick’s summer working there.

But of course, this is a psychological thriller — so there are plenty of unexpected twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. Readers may or may not guess the ultimate “twist” of the book — but not everyone will find it satisfying. Personally, I felt as if the “surprise” was a bit predictable and had hoped for something a little more compelling from Oliver. That’s not to say it’s bad — it isn’t — I guess I just wanted more from an author who I know can do so much.

Regardless of how the ending makes you feel, Vanishing Girls is a beautifully written book that is worth the read. If anything, it will make you re-examine the close relationships in your life, much as Nick examines her relationship with her sister.

Vanishing Girls is in stores March 10th.

Sara | Novel Novice

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2 responses to “Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

  1. katialief

    Please note that Vanishing Girls is a novel originally published by HarperCollins, in 2012, by Katia Lief. Some of my readers have expressed confusion, since it’s the same title and the same publisher, and so I am spreading the word.

    “Vanishing Girls is powerful, provocative, and pulsating with verve; it also marks an evolution of character and circumstance that should serve the series well in future installments. Further, Karin Schaeffer is both complex and compelling, and arguably one of the strongest female figures in contemporary crime fiction—and her absolute strength of will is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.”
    —John Valeri, Hartford Books Examiner

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