Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Vanishing Season

Girls started vanishing in the fall, and now winter's come to lay a white sheet over the horror. Door County, it seems, is swallowing the young, right into its very dirt. From beneath the house on Water Street, I've watched the danger swell.

The residents know me as the noises in the house at night, the creaking on the stairs. I'm the reflection behind them in the glass, the feeling of fear in the cellar. I'm tied—it seems—to this house, this street, this town.

I'm tied to Maggie and Pauline, though I don't know why. I think it's because death is coming for one of them, or both.

All I know is that the present and the past are piling up, and I am here to dig.I am looking for the things that are buried.

From bestselling author Jodi Lynn Anderson comes a friendship story bound in snow and starlight, a haunting mystery of love, betrayal, redemption, and the moments that we leave behind.

I feel conflicted about this book so I'm going to address it in pieces. Here goes!

I LOVED the characters! They were pure brilliance! They had fun mashed up personalities so that every reader could directly relate to some part of at least one of the characters. They were lovable and real and had more depth and development than most YA characters. Let's take a look at each of them individually and then look at some relationships.

I related strongly to her. She loved books and running, she was intelligent a bit antisocial at times but at the same time a people person that loved typical things like shopping and coffee with her best friend. She was a patchwork quilt of every type of person, personality, and passion sewn together and she was beautiful.

Also, she had some of the most awesomesauce parents ever, and they were very present.

Liam ensnared and enchanted readers from the beginning with a quiet and stealthy grace and kindness. He had a hidden complexity and depth that came out slowly as layers were peeled away, and that was pretty amazing to "watch." At first he appeared like a little puppy. Doing everything Pauline asked him to following her and fulfilling her every whim, which made him appear almost spineless and kind of helpless and brainwashed. But somehow Anderson hid/kept a hint of something deeper lurking underneath it all that kept you from believing that he was really this way, despite a lack of evidence to support this theory/feeling. By the end I still didn't really feel that we ever truly got to know him and really discover everything about him, but I loved him as a character all the same.

Let's take a moment to discuss Liam and Maggie's relationship. We all knew it was going to happen but that it wasn't going to last, so it really wasn't shocking. Their actual relationship seemed a little lacking. It wasn't very deep and it didn't always really feel like they had any real feelings for each other. I'm trying to decide if that was intended or not because his relationship with Pauline had some similar...issues, although it felt more real, probably because the background we had prepared us for them riding off into the sunset together. I kind of felt like Liaggie/Maam was thrown in a bit haphazardly in a whirlwind "romance" that was barely discovered or looked at and that it was only there because people expected it to be. I guess it did add to the story and helped make the ending make sense (why Maggie wouldn't open the door for Pauline and why James beats Liam ect.), so I suppose it was necessary. I just wonder if it could have been done better or if I just didn't like the way my brain read it. How did you guys feel about all that?
Pauline's romantic relationship with Liam was what we'd all been waiting for. We all knew it was coming, it was simply a matter of when. 

Pauline was fun and spunky. She was that wild best friend that helps get people out of their comfort zone. She had amazing depth despite her being a potentially shallow character. She had family stuff going on and all this cool emotional stuff and there was psychology behind her wild side. She was just too awesome for words.

She was also best friends with Liam. It was painfully obvious from the first few chapters that he was deep into the friendzone.

It was bad. I felt sorry for the poor kid! He did everything she asked!

The Mystery Aspect:
Ok, I'm going to try to talk about this without anymore spoilers. I thought the whole killer on the loose, vanishing young girls, thing was going to play a bigger part. Honestly, in the end it was kind of like it didn't even matter. I was waiting the whole time for evidence to pile up so that I could start suspecting people and stuff, but it never happened. I don't know, I guess all I really have to say is don't going into it thinking that it is a mystery/ who done it type novel. That is just the side dish. 

The Story Line and General Concept:
The over all concept was really interesting. The added aspect of the ghost's entries was interesting and worked well with the story as well as adding to it. The transitions between the ghost and Maggie were smooth and logical and didn't pull you out of one story and into the other just to wrench you back out again in a way that distanced the reader from the story. So that was great. The entire concept and story line for the book was really, really, complex. It blended a lot of different beliefs about death and the afterlife into one experience and that was really cool, but by the end it became a tangled web of too many different things that didn't make sense all mashed together, making the ending really confusing.

Let's Talk Spoilers (Again. I'm sorry!):
I thought it was really weird and annoying that the serial killer didn't play a bigger role over all. Also, I was really annoyed with how Anderson kind of tossed that issue to the side and wrapped it all up in one nice, neat, bizarre bow. This is killer plays a rather large role in the book and then all of the sudden he is dismissed as someone not from the town and no one knew who had done it and then he just happened to die in a bathroom on a sinking ferry. Wow, isn't that just perfectly perfect? I thought I knew what happened in the end. Maggie froze to death and the ghost was actually her. I thought it was a play on the whole life flashes before your eyes as you die thing, but then she went and saw the future so that kind of threw that theory off. So I'm not sure precisely what happened in the ending, because it was confusing and everyone thought it ended in a different way. 

The Plot:
The plot was pretty good. It was a bit predictable at times, but the end was shocking and lovely. So overall the plot was ok. It wasn't awful and it wasn't amazing. 

The Writing:
Honestly I don't remember much about the writing. I don't think it really stood out to me but it certainly wasn't bad. She did an AMAZING job writing the characters. 

Overall I really enjoyed this book from the start, I still enjoyed it at the end when it got confusing. I thought it was a very touching and beautiful, I give it three and a half stars.

General Consensus: 

Buy it here and add it on Goodreads


  1. I agree. The ending was confusing. Is Pauline and Liam married? And when did Maggie and Liam go to some stream to go swimming? I also agree with the rating.

    1. While it is kind of cool that everyone can interpret the end in a different way, but confusing is never good. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed!