A copy of this book was provided in consideration for an honest review.
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 wasn’t sure about Vanishing Girls when I started it…I’m not typically all that into contemporary but this book looked, from the summary, to have a bit of a twist and mystery aspect. The vast majority of the novel was focused on Nick and Dara’s broken relationship with each other and their childhood best friend (and maybe more) Parker.
The novel flips between Nick and Dara’s point of views so you get to see how the other felt about their accident, Parker, parents and one another. It was so incredibly sad to see the sisters have such a rift between them. I have an older sister and couldn’t relate to their jealousy, hatred and insecurities. My sister and I were team mates and though we hung out with the same group in college we never competed in the nature of these two sisters.
Because of this I found it interesting to consider that some sisters have this type of relationship-interesting and really heart breaking. Dara and Nick avoid each other throughout the novel and only through the flashbacks do we see them interact and how they used to be. Watching them grow apart was really difficult though I’ll admit I was intrigued.
I had issues really liking many of the characters though I did feel that they all had unique personalities and their wants, motivations and desires were realistic. I had so many issues with how the sisters treated one another and really it broke my heart. Also, Parker. Don’t get me started on this guy. I was not a fan though my heart broke for him in some ways. Overall I enjoyed Nick’s perspective more than Dara’s. I’m the baby-sister and I couldn’t relate to Dara’s emotions towards her sibling-I could see that some sisters probably feel this way but I’m thankful that I did not. That’s me reading this book- extremely happy my sibling dynamic was nothing like theirs.
For me the entirety of the novel had a creepy aura that I enjoyed. Something felt off as I read and this kept me reading. Nothing was outwardly wrong I just had this prickling sensation. Nick works at an amusement park and the place felt haunted (and rumor was that there really was a resident ghost). The story barely touched on this but I really enjoyed the creepy addition.
Lauren Oliver has a beautiful writing style that some might find wordy but I really enjoy. The novel, for the most part, had a slow pace until the final stretch. There was a twist, as all novels have, but I won’t go into it in detail but I will say I felt it was a tad sloppy. Regardless of that, I didn’t see it coming so that always wins points in my mind.
Vanishing Girls was a sad and difficult read due to the sisters ever present rift and the negative emotions between them. The writing was beautifully done in my opinion and that creepy feel that Oliver was able to subtly include added a lot to my reading experience.