Review: Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver


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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.

Oh. My. God. There is just so much to love about this book, it’s ridiculous. I love an unreliable narrator and a book that keeps me guessing and this book had those things in spades. Mwah!

The writing. Amazing. Oliver really does grab and nail down everything it means to be a sister. Told from both Nick and Dara’s point of view you quickly fall in love with them both. You feel Nick’s irritation and jealousy at her sister’s wild personality, and vice versa with what Dara refers to as her ‘perfect’ sister.

The secondary characters. They all come alive with Oliver’s prose. They are described with so much detail you can see them perfectly and picture quirks that aren’t even mentioned. The only side character who really annoyed the heck out of me a couple of times was Parker. He is all over the place with his mood swings but THANK GOODNESS it makes sense in the end.

The plot. I don’t read many thrillers but I’m pretty confident it isn’t exactly a new concept. That said, I picked the ending just before the half way point but Oliver wrote so convincingly I kept second-guessing myself. Even though I was pretty confident I knew what was coming, it didn’t detract from the ending at all. I sped through, devouring all the clues that supported my theory, and kept praying I was wrong. I wasn’t. It hurt.

Cliches. This was one of the things that kind of irked me about the book. A lot of the characters (especially the sisters) were the cardboard cut-out version of teenagers. ‘Oh, those teens who get drunk and run amok’ *shakes head*. It’s not until you get into the story and get to know them a little better that they gain the kind of depth I like to see in a character.

The ending. With what I was sure was coming, I expected the ending to be BIG. Like, colossal. Unfortunately, it left it a little too late to peak so it kind of felt like the climax was stuffed into a couple of pages. The storyline with Nick and Dara wrapped up just like I expected but the Madeline Snow and Gateway storylines both fell short. It was like the main plot was wrapped up so the other two had to be thrown in there as an afterthought.

Loved it, and I don’t see how you could regret giving it a read. The characters are well-rounded, the plot is gripping, and Oliver’s prose was amazing to read.

AOaR_4star (3)

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5 Comments

  1. I completely agree in what you said about the ending. Don’t you think these type of endings need to STAHP?! Overuse, much? But overall, it’s Lauren Oliver and she definitely delivered, didn’t she? Great review, Heather <33

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    1. Thanks, Rhea. The twist part of the ending I loved, but the rest just seemed to be there for something to talk about. There was no real ‘reveal’ to me, it just kind of slotted into place. Still, that was like a small portion of a great story.

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