Just Finished Reading: Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Vanishing Girls
by Lauren Oliver
To be published by Harper Teen
on March 10, 2015

Source: eARC from the publisher
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.
My take: This was a book I had incredibly mixed feelings about. There were things about it that I really, really loved, and other things that I had a hard time getting past.

Loved the writing. I always love Lauren Oliver's writing, which is the right amount of lyrical mixed with the right amount of grit. Loved the sister dynamic. I know how wonderful and complicated sister relationships can be. I also really enjoyed following the way the different plot threads -- the sisters, the missing girl, and Nick's job at the amusement park -- were woven together.

On the less positive side: there's a lot of time jumping in the narrative and I often struggle with that. Plus, I was reading on an e-ARC which made it hard to page back and try to piece things together. So I just kept messaging my blogger BFF Karen -- who had just finished the book and convinced me to try it so we could discuss -- with my grumbly/confused questions, which she graciously answered.

Then I came to the end. I didn't love the feeling the ending evoked, which was basically: seriously?!?!? 

As I was finishing this I was Twitter DMing with Karen and we were discussing the book. My conversations with Karen helped me pinpoint the biggest source of my dissatisfaction with the ending: that it completely pulled the rug out from under one the thing I loved most about the story.

For people who can get on board with the ending, this book will be great. I couldn't entirely get myself there.

For those who want spoilers -- you know who you are! -- you can check out my Goodreads review here.

Have you read this? Let me know what you thought in comments (either here or on Goodreads) and please mark your spoilers :)


  1. I have been curious about this one. I love how there are several pieces to the story that eventually weave together. But I don't always love her writing, so there is that.

    Great review lady! (I will not be spoiling myself, which is odd for me! HA)

    1. I usually spoil too, but in this case I didn't and I was glad!

  2. I have had to quit Lauren Oliver. I have been so disappointed in her last few books....

    Kate @ Ex Libris

    1. For me it always seems to be the endings! But I'll keep reading!

  3. Replies
    1. For me it was. Others may feel differently!

  4. Oh boy. It sounds like a complete mind f**k. Lol.

  5. Great review. I thought it was just okay. I had issues with the pacing. The synopsis indicates that the main plot line is the missing girls and the missing sister. But the sister doesn't even go missing until more than halfway through the book. That annoyed me. The ending was pretty cool though. It blew me away.

    1. Interesting -- that didn't bother me. And, yes, the ending surprised me. I'd figured some of it out but not the main part!

  6. 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


  7. Oh, no! I was going into this with the highest expectations (based on other reviews). Now I'm sad... Dammit! But thanks for helping me adjust my expectations :)

  8. I don't want spoilers but I want to know what made you react that way! I guess I'll just have to read it. THanks for sharing your thoughts with us Jen!

  9. Mixed feelings? That sounds pretty typical for a Lauren Oliver book :)

  10. I keep hearing there's a very controversial twist ending, and I'm so curious if it will kill my love for the book or if I'll think it's awesome. Can't wait to find out!

  11. I wrote my review before you read and we discussed but now I'm jealous - you said it perfectly!

    " the biggest source of my dissatisfaction with the ending: that it completely pulled the rug out from under one the thing I loved most about the story."

    Yup. Yup. Yup.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

  12. Totally agree--I always like Oliver's writing, but I couldn't quite get on board with this twist, either. But also agree that a lot of people are going to love it!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  13. Oooh, now you guys have rendered me curious. I read the author's Panic before, and I remember fallin love with her words and how she effectively weaved the suspense and thrilling atmosphere. This twist is definitely making my heart pound, wondering what it could be! I better read this book soon so I can jump on the train :P

    Faye at The Social Potato


Post a Comment

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you will share your thoughts on this post!