Thursday, May 12, 2016

Book Review: Vanishing Girls

Title: Vanishing Girls
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: March 10, 2015
Source: Purchased

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.

My Review

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver is one of those books that you just need to actually read to believe. On the surface, it looks like it's a book about preteens and teenage girls disappearing, but it's so much more than that. Lauren Oliver weaves together an intense story in Vanishing Girls that's shocking and tearjerking. 

Sisters Nick and Dara Warren used to be attached at the hip, always doing the same things and never getting annoyed with one another. Now they aren't speaking to one another, and it's quite upsetting to Nick. A lot of events have led up to this, including the divorce of their parents, and a car accident including both girls. Now, months after the accident, Nick is returning to her mother's house, after spending much of the spring and summer with her father. Everyone agrees that it will be better for her to deal with everything that's happened, but Nick's not so sold on that idea. 

This time around, Lauren Oliver has written another magnificent book that takes readers on a suspenseful journey. There were a few moments that caught me off guard because I didn't see them coming, and that made the book such a fun book to read. The plot of Vanishing Girls is entertaining and satisfying, but it also makes the reader think about all of the different things going on in Nick and Dara's lives. I found myself so caught up in their story that I didn't even realize just how much I'd read at a time. 

Vanishing Girls' characters are ones that readers will be extremely curious about as soon as they start reading. The two sisters, Nick and Dara, used to be very similar, but as they got older, Dara started to change, while Nick remained the good girl that everyone always thought she was. But both of these sisters have secrets to hide, and it's interesting to see how these secrets play out. The supporting characters are great as well. Nick and Dara share a  best friend friend, too. Parker is a great friend to both girls both before and after the accident, and he's just one of those loveable characters because he really wants what's best for both sister. I also liked the Madeline and Sarah snow subplot, and seeing how these two sisters had their own story to tell. 

The writing style of Vanishing Girls is unique because Oliver uses many different methods to tell the story. Most of the book is written in first person, but it's narrated by both Nick and Dara. But first person isn't the only way that Lauren tells the story of Nick and Dara. She also includes emails from Nick and Dara's parents and their psychiatrist, diary entries, news articles and comments from readers, and text messages. It all brings everything to fruition in a unique way. 

Vanishing Girls is by far one of Lauren Oliver's finest novels. It's a complex, rich, and thrilling roller coaster ride that so many different types of readers will enjoy. I can see sisters or best friends reading this book together, but I can also see mothers and daughters sharing it with one another. I would recommend this book for fans Lauren's other contemporary novels and fans of E. Lockhart's We Were Liars.


Lauren Oliver is the author of teen novels Before I Fall, Panic, and Vanishing Girls and the Delirium trilogy: Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem, which have been translated into more than thirty languages and are New York Times and international bestselling novels. She is also the author of novels for middle grade readers, The Spindlers and Liesl & Po, which was an E.B. White Read Aloud Award nominee. Lauren's novel Panic has been optioned for film by Universal Studios. A graduate of the University of Chicago and NYU's MFA program, Lauren is also the co-founder of the boutique literary development company Paper Lantern Lit.

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