Review Blog

Apr 23 2015

Vanishing girls by Lauren Oliver

cover image

Hodder & Stoughton, 2015. ISBN 9781444786781
(Age: 16+) Mystery. Drug and alcohol abuse. Sisters Nick and Dara had been best friends with each other and with Parker until Dara and Parker start to go out and a terrible accident leaves Dara's face scarred and the sisters estranged. When Dara goes missing on her birthday, Nick thinks that she is just playing around but it is not until she realises that little Madeline Snow has disappeared as well that she starts to investigate.
This is a complex story narrated in two voices, with separate chapters by Nick and Dara. The reader needs to be aware of the fact that the story is not told in chronological order, rather there are chapters set before and after the accident. There is also the occasional important notice from the police, media and online sources that give crucial information to the story.
I found that the suspense really ramped up in the last third of the book as Nick finally starts to unravel what has been happening to Dara, who has grown away from her sister, drinking, going to parties and hooking up with older men. The first two thirds of the book concentrated on the relationship between the two sisters and vividly described the break in their closeness as Dara gets into parties, alcohol and drug taking. Nick constantly covers up for her, but it is Dara's relationship with her best friend Parker, that is most distressing for Nick.
Although slow at first, Vanishing girls is a story that I will remember, and it is sure to appeal to readers who have liked other psychological thrillers by Oliver or the book We were liars by E. Lockhart, mentioned on the front cover.
Pat Pledger

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