Book Review: Vanishing Girls

January 7, 2015 Book Review, reviews 8

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.

Book Review: Vanishing GirlsVanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
Published by HarperCollins on March 10th, 2015
Genres: Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Source: complimentary review copy
AmazonBarnes & Noble


Lauren Oliver’s latest novel follows two sisters trying to overcome a terrible car accident and a family trying to move ahead in spite of a divorce.  Underlying that family drama is a 9-year-old girl who has gone missing from the backseat of her sister’s car.

Nick {Nicole} and Dara are a little over 11 months apart.  They’ve been inseparable since babies until the past four months has found Dara shunning Nick since the car accident.

Lauren Oliver has a way of writing that grabs you from the outset and does not let go.  In that aspect, she is a master storyteller.  In Vanishing Girls Oliver rotates between Dara and Nick as narrator and between ‘before’ the accident and ‘after.’  This style both moves the story along rapidly and hides the clues of what really happened with both the missing girl and the car accident.

A couple of issues I had with the plot ~ do high school juniors and seniors really drink that much? I don’t ever remember drinking that much in high school, nor do I believe I was so absent & unawares when my kids were in high school ~ perhaps I’m being naive?

Second issue is more plot development ~ I figured out part of the mystery early on from the big whoppers of clues and I’m probably the person that takes the longest to figure anything out!  My family and friends know when they tell me a joke they may have to break it down for me {sad, but true!}.  I’m thinking if the clues had not been so blatant that the big reveal may have been much more shocking.

Lauren Oliver’s writing ability is intense and wrings me out by the time I close the book.  Never fails, she has me sobbing by the end.  In Before I Fall {review} I remember thinking I would never quit crying!

[Tweet “Realistic {yet fictional} study in love and conflict between two sisters”]

Where she does get it right, Oliver shines.  The conflict and relationship of the sisters is what I witnessed with my girls who are 18 months apart.  The adoration and dedication are apparent between the two as is the struggle with personal identity and the intrinsic jealousies.  It’s a good study in love and conflict of two sisters.

To sum up, I liked Vanishing Girls.  Although the plot was not as seamless as previous novels, Lauren Oliver has a unique writing style that I thoroughly enjoy.  Recommended.

8 Responses to “Book Review: Vanishing Girls”

  1. Katia Lief

    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

  1. Mini-Views: Plane Crashes and Shipping Containers -

    […] Girl Underwater Debut novel about a 19-year-old survivor of a plane crash in the Colorado Rockies. I started crying about page 87 and did not stop until the final page. It wasn’t without fault, but the emotional punch it packed certainly made up for the very few shortcomings.  Written by a medical doctor with PTSD as a major plot point ~ if even half of the symptoms of PTSD were accurate then this book not only entertains, it also offers much-needed education on a terrible disorder suffered by many.   Recommended for fans of Lauren Oliver – the emotional meltdown I had reminded me of when I read Before I Fall and Vanishing Girls. […]

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