Monday, March 9, 2015

Book Review and Giveaway: Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Pages: 368
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction/Mystery
Pub. Date:  March 10, 2015
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: Delirium and Before I Fall
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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."
Dara and Nick are two sisters that couldn't be more different. Things change for them when both girls are involved in a car accident leaving beautiful Dara scarred.  Nick has always been the sensible sister and Dara has always been the kind of girl who throws caution to the wind and even though both girls are very different, they are sisters and can never escape that.  Nick tries to smooth things over with Dara, but she has distanced herself since the accident. Things get serious when Dara ends up missing (is she just playing a prank on Nick?) and to top it off, a nine year old girl in the neighborhood goes missing as well. Lauren Oliver's Vanishing Girls is a well-written and entertaining psychological thriller. I loved how the story was told, but in the end, it felt too familiar for me to completely fall in love with it.

Dara and Nick are two very different sisters in Vanishing Girls. I liked how Oliver examined that kind of familial bond. How can two girls raised by the same parents in the same environment be so different? It's an interesting question and one I often think about, so I liked that kind of glimpse into the psychology behind it. I can't say I was overly connected to either Dara or Nick, but I did gravitate more towards reliable Nick.  I got frustrated that she would often cover for Dara who was always getting into all sorts of trouble. Her mother rarely held Dara accountable, which was also frustrating for me.

The way Vanishing Girls is told is really fantastic. It's told through flashbacks from both Dara and Nick's perspective as well as emails, diaries, news reports, etc. Then the narration would jump to "after" the accident. It had me questioning who was the reliable narrator and what exactly happened to Dara. It reminded me a bit of We Were Liars; after awhile I was questioning both girls' views of reality. One thing is for sure, I am definitely a fan of Oliver's writing style. She does know how to spin a tale.

Of course there's a boy that comes between them and although it wasn't a main focus of Vanishing Girls, the love triangle between two sisters was a little played out. I also thought it wasn't developed as well as I would have liked, so obviously this wasn't my favorite aspect of the story.

The mystery between Dara's disappearance and the nine-year old girl seems to be grasping for straws at times, but I did find it wholly entertaining.  However, this book seems to be riding on the coat tails of some previous successful psychological thrillers that are just a little bit better, such as We Were Liars

So, if you are a fan of mysteries and enjoy psychological thrillers with a complex sisterly relationship, then check out Lauren Oliver's Vanishing GirlsThanks to HarperCollins, I am giving away one hardback copy of Vanishing Girls to one lucky US reader. Please refer to my giveaway rules and the deadline is March 20th.  Good luck! 

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11 comments:

  1. This looks good, I enjoy Lauren's books! I met her in New York in 2010 and she was super nice!

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    1. That's awesome that you had a the chance to meet her. Thanks for dropping by, Sheila!

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  2. This one sounds very intriguing, Christina! Thanks for the great review! Are you enjoying At the Water's Edge, so far? It's up next on my list, so I can't wait to hear what you think! Hope your Monday is off to a good start.

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    1. I am enjoying it so far…things have been crazy this week though so I haven't had much time to read it, but from what I read, I am enjoying it. I can't wait to hear your thoughts as well. Thanks for dropping by, Tara!

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  3. I generally think that Lauren Oliver is a solid writer, but I definitely have preferred her book written for adults (Rooms) than her books for YA. It had more nuance and it lacked the love triangle that seems to permeate YA writing today. Still, I may keep my eye out for this one.

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    1. Me too. I love her writing style. I will have to check out Rooms. I have never read her adult stuff. Thanks for the recommendation and for visiting!

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  4. Truthfully? This book doesn't sound like something that I could enjoy. Love triangles aren't really my idea of fun. :/

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    1. The love triangle was a bit annoying, I'll admit that, Joy! I do love Lauren Oliver's writing style though. Thanks for visiting!

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  5. I really liked this one (mostly because I figured out the twist in the first couple of chapters - ha!) and maybe had a different reading experience because of that. To me this was less psychological thriller and more issue-laden contemp with a little theme park fun - and it just worked for me. LOVE her writing!

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    1. I'm glad you liked it! Leave it to you to figure out the plot twist, which I definitely did not! I think I liked Before I Fall a bit more than this book, but it was no doubt entertaining. I love her writing too, Leanna, and I really liked how she told they story. Thanks for dropping by!

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  6. This book was very intriguing and I loved it! Lauren Oliver’s writing is so beautiful. She writes stories that are hard to pull away from.

    Great Review!

    Mica
    Customer recommendations for Wall NJ maid service information

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I really appreciate your comments. Thank you!

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