Thursday, January 15, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Vanishing Girls

This is a book review for Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver. I received the ARC for this book from Edelwess in exchange 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.

First of all, let me say that I am a huge fan of Lauren Oliver. I first fell in love with her Delirium series and I was also a fan of Before I Fall and Panic. I have loved everything she has done . . . until now. That is not to say that I hated the book, but I didn't love it either. The book did not hook me immediately. The pacing was extremely slow. The premise of the book suggests that a major plot point was that Dara vanishes on her birthday. However, this did not happen until more than halfway through the book. My Kindle does show percentage read and I looked at it when Dara vanished. I had read 53% of the book when it finally happened.

So what was going on up until that point? Not a whole lot. It mainly bounced around between Nick and Dara's POV's, before and after, along with clips of news articles online and excerpts from Dara's journal. Sometimes Oliver wouldn't even specify whether it was an event before or after the accident; she just gave a date. This made it even more confusing. Maybe it was all this switching between time frames and POV's that prevented me from fully connecting with any of the characters. I didn't really care that Nick and Dara were't talking after the accident. And I didn't care that much about Madeline Snow. She was a secondary character and her disappearance didn't seem to effect any of the major characters for a large part of the book. I basically spent the first half of the book waiting for something, anything, to happen.

When Dara finally did disappear, that's when I was hooked. Nick started piecing the facts together about why Dara had been acting so weird since the accident (a mystery I didn't even know existed until Dara's disappearance) and what connection she had to Madeline Snow. The pacing picked up pretty quickly at that point and I was on the edge of my seat. And two words about the big reveal: BLOWN AWAY. I am not kidding when I say that I did NOT see it coming. I will not give away any spoilers, but I will say that a lot of stuff clicked into place for me once I knew what was going on. Even though it was a pretty big reveal, I still couldn't get over the first half of the book. And then immediately after the big reveal, the pacing immediately slowed down a bit and dragged. That is mainly a result of the fact that the author decides to show emails between a few of the characters and news articles instead of personal reactions and emotions by the main characters. Once again, this huge thing happens and I found it hard to care because of a lack of connection to anyone in the book.

I struggled with a rating for this book. I was only mesmerized by the book for about half of it. I decided to give this book a 3/5.

14 comments :

  1. Aw it always sucks when you don't end up loving a book by an author you adore. I haven't read this one yet but I'm not a fan of slow paced novels so I think if I were to read this I'd go in with low expectations.

    Lovely review, Cynthia <33

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    1. Thanks Melanie. It was disappointing, but I am sure I would give Lauren Oliver another chance. :)

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  2. Interesting -- I just read another new-ish book by Lauren Oliver (Rooms), and I found it disappointing. I'm not really a fan -- I read Delirium and liked it, but not enough to continue the series. I understand how disappointing it is when a new book by an author you love doesn't work out for you!

    Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies

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    1. Lisa, I actually have Rooms on my Kindle but for some reason I haven't read it yet. I have heard mixed reviews about it though.

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  3. I've had a lot of trouble with Lauren Oliver's books lately so this one wasn't on my immediate "to buy" list for when it comes out in a few months but i'd be lying if I said I wasn't still hoping it would be good. It sucks that this one wasn't all that great for you Cynthia. It sucks a good ten times more when a book by a favourite auhors of yours doesn't live up. Hopefully your next read is more enjoyable.

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    1. Thanks lilysbookblog, I read two of her books last year and loved them so I did have high expectations. Oh well. Can't win them all, right?

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  4. You have me curious..especially about the mystery aspect and the fact the the twist blew you away..Fantastic review!

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    1. Oh yes, the ending was a huge surprise!

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  5. Well, I'm glad I read your review. At least my expectations can be lowered down a notch.

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    1. Joyous Reads, oh yes this book was only average for me. I think the shocking twist made all the difference. :)

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  6. I'm going to be reading this one soon so it's a bit disappointing to hear about the slow pacing. But I'm dancing around at the thought of a reveal that left you blown away! I can have patience if that is ahead of me!

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    1. Trish, I think if I had known about a big twist ahead of time, I would have had a lot ore patience. Ha. Hope you enjoy it!

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  7. Oh dear, this one is up soon for me too. I mean, I AM worried about the slowness. But I do love Lauren Oliver, and the fact that you were blown away kind of makes up for whatever happened before (at least, it would for me!) so I am hoping it'll go okay. I don't think my expectations were AS high for this one for some reason, so I will keep this all in mind. Great review!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

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    1. Thanks Shannon! I do think that the big twist made up (just a bit) for the pacing. Hope you enjoy it!

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