June 25, 2014

Latest Read: The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Publication date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Category: Young Adult - Ghosts/Paranormal
Source: Received from publisher via Edelweiss (Thanks!)
Summary: 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. (Adapted goodreads.com)

My Thoughts
The Vanishing Season further confirmed what I already knew about Jodi Lynn Anderson and it’s that her writing is beautiful. She has a way with words that it simple yet evocative. I certainly felt that here and it’s probably the number one reason I kept turning the pages because I wanted to see what she would say next. Her book revolves around three people - Maggie, Pauline and Liam - and a mysterious, unseen character who watches over them all. And the plot is three-fold: Maggie and her family have moved to this small town and she’s trying to adjust to her new life, which includes figuring out her place in the friendship between Pauline and Liam. There are murders happening in and around their town which are targeting young girls. And finally, who is this mysterious character and why does she care so much about Maggie and Pauline? The way this all ended up fitting together worked and made sense but I can’t say the book worked for me overall.

Let’s talk about the characters. I actually really liked Maggie. Almost immediately, I felt for her having to start fresh in a small town, dealing with her parents’ financial problems (which is why their new house is a bit rundown and in need of some TLC), plus she would need to find a job if she wanted to help pay for college. She’s a girl with goals and a love of art.  It’s just a lot of changes all at once but she makes the best of it. Which is why her immediate friendships with Pauline and Liam felt like a good thing. But trying to find your place between a twosome of lifelong friends who have a little unrequited love (a la Dawson’s Creek) is never easy for the odd person out. Still they made her feel welcome until well.. the drama sets in. What was hard for me was the lack of development with Pauline’s character. I didn’t get her and quite frankly, I didn’t like her either. She’s flaky and selfish and I have a hard time with people who refuse to face reality until it’s convenient for them. It’s a mold she never, ever breaks and it made me want to throw my iPad across the room while I read. I am not as big of a person as Maggie because I would’ve walked away (far, far away). Then I can’t tell you Liam’s role in it all but I did like him, for the most part. His character felt a bit more fleshed out and while I didn’t agree with some of his choices, I could see why he made them. And that makes a huge difference when I’m trying to connect to a character. But really, of the three, it’s only Maggie I felt some semblance of a connection for.

The mystery part of the book was probably the least interesting part. Even though it does eventually tie everything together, I wasn’t invested in it and maybe the reveal just took too long happen. There is a twist that I needed to read a few times to make sure it was really happening and it made me sad! It, at once, felt like I should’ve seen it coming and unfair and wrong. (Ok, maybe I was a little emotionally invested!)

Do I Recommend?
I can’t say that I would personally recommend this. It didn’t work for me but her writing is beautiful and if you think this is something you might like, it could be worth borrowing from the library.

Happy reading!

2 comments:

  1. I actually really enjoyed this one, and like you, it was because of Anderson's writing. I don't think Pauline was as annoying as you thought, but I simply wasn't emotionally connected to her. The mystery wasn't very addicting to me either, but I think it was the anonymous narrator/ghost that kept me intrigued. I thought this one was enjoyable because of the writing, to be honest. It's addicting to read about. Thanks for your review, Rachel!

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  2. I trust your opinion on this one! I'm not one for paranormal/ghost books in the first place, so this would probably have been a hard sell for me. I do agree with your assessment of Anderson's writing though, based simply on my affection for Tiger Lily.

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