Book Review : Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

March 31, 2015 Book review 15 ★★★½

Books about sisters reel me in time after time as it’s a subject that resonates with me.  And Lauren Oliver’s books reel me in too as I know I’m in for a cocktail of mesmerising words that will thrill me.  Vanishing Girls is a perfect example of this type of writing that I love so much; her language skills leave me flailing.  But it wasn’t a perfect book for me as you’ll see.

Book Review : Vanishing Girls by Lauren OliverVanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
Published by Harper Collins on March 10th 2015
Genres: Family, Love & Romance, Siblings, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss

New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver delivers a gripping story about two sisters inexorably altered by a terrible accident.  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 Line of Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver:

“The funny thing about almost-dying is that afterward everyone expects you to jump on the happy train and take time to chase butterflies through grassy fields or see rainbows in puddles of oil slick on the highway.”

The highs of Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver:

– It’s Lauren Oliver and I flat-out love her prose.  It’s so lyrical that I just want to lick it off the page (I refrained though, you’ll be glad to know.)
– I loved the theme of sisters and their messy, complicated relationship made for compelling reading.

“That’s the thing about Dara and me; we’re both similar and worlds apart.  Like the sun and the moon, or a starfish and a star; related, sure, but at the same time totally and completely different.”

– I loved the setting of funpark where Nick works for the summer.
– The romance was central to the plot but didn’t dominate it which I really appreciated.  First and foremost, this is a book about sisters.
– The drama of the missing 9-year-old girl – Madeline – adds a tense, scary vibe to the book and shadows everything with a tinge of danger.
– All of Lauren Oliver’s books are as alike as chalk and cheese and I love how versatile she is.

The lows of Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver:

– The plot is hackneyed.  This is the third book I’ve read in the last 12 months with this plot and enough already.  It’s bad timing that the author is releasing this hot on the heels of some other really well-known books as she is a creative and adventurous author but the sameness drags the book down.
– I found the timeline very confusing at the beginning as it hops around a lot between pre-accident and post-accident and I felt a bit lost.  This resolves itself pretty quickly though.

Overall Vanishing Girls has fab writing and attention-grabbing characters that made me want to know their story.  However the now clichéd plot lets it down a little.  But don’t get me wrong, even this didn’t drag this book down too much.   Lauren Oliver’s writing transforms this hackneyed plot in to an enjoyable read


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: four-stars


Who should read Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver?

I’d recommend this to you if you like contemporary YA books with a mystery element but mostly if you like books with fascinating family relationships.  Fans of Lauren Oliver’s previous books should also enjoy as her prose is as delightful as always.  If you  liked Burying Water by KA Tucker or Sex &  Violence by Carrie Mesrobian; then I also think you might appreciate this one.

Thanks to Edelweiss and HarperCollins for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.




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15 Responses to “Book Review : Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver”

    • trish

      I didn’t mind the pacing too much Cynthia as I’m a very character driven reader and I enjoyed figuring out the characters. But I knew by the end of the first chapter just exactly what the plot is as I’ve seen too often lately. And yes LO’s writing <3

  1. Lola

    I haven’t read that many books where a sister/sibling relationship plays a big part, although it would be fun to see more books like that out there. That quote could’ve easily applied to me and my sister, we’re sisters, but also very different. It’s like our personalities are opposites. That part about the timeline sounds confusing indeed, I often lose track when there are too many flashbacks, although I recently read afantays novel which handled the flashbacks/ past well. Great review, I am glad to hear you enjoyed this one!
    Lola recently posted…2015 New Release Challenge: 1st quarterly recap

    • trish

      Exactly that quote could apply to myself and my sister too, it’s such a universal theme that it’s easy to connect with. The timeline was a bit confusing at the beginning as both timelines sounded alike but once I got into it, it was very clear which was which. Maybe I was too tired that night :O

  2. Jessica@Lovin' Los Libros

    HAHHAHA.Lick the prose off the page? Oh Trish. You are so funny. I think I’ll try this one out. I’m a bit wary of Oliver because I didn’t care for her Delirium books. However, that won’t stop me from giving her another shot! I’m all for compelling reading!
    Jessica@Lovin’ Los Libros recently posted…Review: Fall With Me by J. Lynn

    • trish

      I hope you are talking about trying the book out and not the licking the prose Jess! I can only recommend the former! :O

  3. Sarah @ One Curvy Blogger

    It’s probably best that you didn’t lick the page. LOL Glad you wound up enjoying this, though you didn’t love it. I’ve read one or two sister themed books lately and I enjoyed them. Haven’t tried this book or any of Oliver’s older books but I want to!
    Sarah @ One Curvy Blogger recently posted…Holding Strong by Lori Foster

    • trish

      It’s definitely best as I was reading on my e-reader and that’s just messy! :O I like sister themed books as it’s a very relatable theme and I’d highly recommend trying LO’s books sometime! Before I Fall is a great one to start with.

    • trish

      It’s a good one to stick on the TBR and keep an eye out for. Despite the overdone plot, it was still a good read for me personally.

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