Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (12th Mar 2015)
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.
Lauren Oliver is known for her wonderful and poetic prose, which is always a treat to read. It’s simply beautiful and effortless and it makes you stop reading halfway and think “Wow, that’s beautiful” and continue reading and appreciate her writing. I have only read Before I Fall and the Delirium books so Vanishing Girls is quite a new venture for me as from the praise on the (gorgeous!) cover by E Lockhart suggests that it’s a psychological thriller – something I’ve not tried before by any other authors – so I decided to give it a go.
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve hardly read any thrillers or anything outside the chick lit/YA love story genre, so I didn’t have really high expectations for Vanishing Girls. That wasn’t a problem though, because I was immediately sucked into the story of the estranged sisters, Nick and Dara. The book is told from Nick and Dara’s perspectives and it flits from the events before and after the accident that shattered their lives and drove a wedge between their sisterly bond.
Even though I’m not much of a fan of psychological thrillers, it’s safe for me to say that I did enjoy Vanishing Girls but I didn’t really love it. I felt that the strong relationship between Nick and Dara before the fateful accident was very well-written and it did hit a soft spot in my heart. Vanishing Girls focuses on siblinghood, particularly sisterhood, and as I have siblings on my own, I could relate to the ins and outs of having to deal with siblings which are never smooth sailing. From the blurb, you can almost guess the gist of the story as it draws you in and in the powerful tale of sisterly love, it plays with our love for our siblings and in the book, Nick’s love for Dara as she feels that she’s responsible for everything Dara does as she’s the older sister which includes covering and lying for Dara to get her out of trouble. Sibling rivalry and jealousy are pretty run-of-the-mill when it comes to fighting for our parents’ attention, being the favourite and even competing against one another for superiority and it’s presented in Vanishing Girls.
As much as I was prepared for a chilling and gripping read, I wasn’t really affected by the book, which says a lot as E Lockhart said it was “alarming and uplifting.. read it with all the lights on.”. For me, it didn’t deliver the chill factor which I was really hoping for. However, the plot was well-written and the twist in the plot was a clever trick to play on the readers. After all, it is a psychological thriller.
Vanishing Girls is definitely bursting to the cracks with suspense as readers will be compelled to flip through the pages to get to the end of the book to discover what happened to Madeleine Snow and whether Nick and Dara would ever mend their broken relationship. Although it lacked in the dynamics of a thriller, but it is definitely a good read that is thought-provoking. Like an intricate oil painting, what you see at first might be a pleasant sight but as you scrutinise it carefully, you will realise that you’ve been led to believe whatever is only on the surface.