I received this book for free from Edelweiss, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Published by HarperTeen on July 1st 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
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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.
From bestselling author Jodi Lynn Anderson comes a friendship story bound in snow and starlight, a haunting mystery of love, betrayal, redemption, and the moments that we leave behind.
A conversation with myself in which I try to figure out what the hell to rate this book.
M1: I honestly don’t know. Jodi Lynn Anderson did her patented thing where she uses her words to crack your heart like a lobster shell and then play with your insides and it was beautiful and poetic and atmospheric it’s just that nothing happened.
M2: Bullshit. Things happened, it’s just that they were small, life things for the most part. And, you know, the whole serial killer on the loose thing.
M1: I object to you bringing up the serial killer, that makes it sound like that was more of a thing than it was.
M2: Fair enough. But the serial killer isn’t the point of the book. The point is Maggie and the story of Maggie, Pauline and Liam’s friendship
M2: What are you sighing about? You loved them.
M1: Exactly. I loved them. I thought they had a fascinating dynamic and it could’ve gone some place interesting and new and I don’t know. I wanted more, okay?
M2: You mean the conflict?
M1: Yes. It was so typical. You knew that was going to happen.
M2: Ahh, but how much of that was because you actually knew ahead of time or because after it happened you felt like you should’ve known it was coming because Anderson is a master of foreshadowing?
M1: No. With the character relationships, I knew where that was going to go.
M2: But you have to admit Anderson is a master of foreshadowing.
M1: Yes, I will give her that.
M2: And after the final plot twist went down you were heartbroken
M1: Okay, ye-
M2: And also mad at yourself for not seeing it coming because all the clues were there, woven so seamlessly into the story you had to be a fool for missing them.
M1: Ha, about tha-
M2: And it was beautiful and meaningful and also brilliant in the way it tied everything together
M2: It was so poignant and bittersweet it was like a surgical strike to the hard, precision slice, so sharp it burns-
M1: ARE YOU DONE?
M2: Sorry, got carried away.
M1: Why do you have such vivid imagery about getting stabbed?
M2: You tell me.
M1: Anyway. Yes, the end was heartbreaking. Yes, Anderson foreshadows like a champ and I should’ve seen it coming. Honestly, that kind of pissed me off. I had 40 million theories. I think I guessed every possible outcome except the one that actually happened.
M2: That was kind of hilarious.
M1: What are you talking about? You didn’t get it either.
M2: Maybe I did and didn’t tell you.
M2: Don’t look at me, you’re the one who’s arguing with yourself.
M2: It’s better than the time there was five of us. Well, six if you count the moderator.
M1: Back to the book?
M2: Yes, I think that’s a good idea.
M1: I did love the characters. Not in an active, I FEEL YOOOOOUUU sort of way. But I thought they were rich and complicated. Well, maybe not so much Liam.
M2: Liam was kind of a Riley Finn.
M2: Well he was! I mean, sure, he meant well and blah blah blah intentions, but he just kind of galumphed around and did sheepish, cowardly things. He had his moments and he was a nice guy but there was something Riley-ish about him.
M1: True. Although that was one of the things I liked about the characters. They were all flawed in different, totally realistic ways. I completely understood Maggie even when I didn’t agree with her. She had a brilliant way of being someone totally different from me but also incredibly familiar. At some point or another I wanted to either slap or hug all of them. Sometimes both at the same time.
M2: Pauline in particular with the slapping.
M1: Agreed, but her careless, well-meaning selfishness and entitlement played a huge part in who she was and her role in the book. It all tied in so neatly with the ending you so recently went on about.
M2: It really was a well done story. The character nuances and the plot went seamlessly hand in hand and perfectly wrapped themselves up.
M1: Except for that one secondary plot that went completely random.
M2: Yes, but such is life. The random nature of the universe is a fundamental part of the human experience.
M1: Please shut up.
M2: It was literary.
M1: *half-assed jazz hands*
M2: We can agree on the writing, right?
M1: Absolutely. The writing was my favorite part. It was everything I adored about Tiger Lily. It was evocative and lush and moving. It took the nothing that was actually happening and built a story out of it. Bravo Jodi Lynn Anderson, you continue to be one of my favorite writers. It’s just that the third person, observational POV kept me from feeling like I was experiencing anything. I was stuck on the outside watching.
M2: That was the whole point. The ghost is watching over them, trapped and alone, as they lives their lives.
M1: I know that was the point and it was an interesting tactic, but it kind of backfired.
M2: Eh, so you say.
M2: I say four stars. It was gorgeous. I can see why JLA did all the things I didn’t like and I applaud the craftsmanship.
M1: Two stars. The pacing was like slogging through wet cement and even if I can see why she did things, I still didn’t necessarily like them.
M2: Personal problems.
M1: Legitimate! This is my review!
M2: And mine!
M1: Compromise with three?
M2: Three and a half.
M1: Support your thesis.
M2: It’s been a week and you’re still thinking about it. You kept coming back to it even when it was dragging. You probably won’t do this for awhile, but you’re going to go back and reread. You kind of love this book.
M1: Love is a strong word.
M2: But also sort of accurate. You know I’m right. Resistance is futile.
M2: 3.5! 3.5! 3.5! Remember how much you felt for Maggie?
M1: Fine! You win. 3.5.
M1: Oh shut up, don’t gloat.
M2: Oh, before we go, should we tell them about the ghost thing?
M1: What about the ghost thing
M2: You know, how it’s not really a ghost story, more a story with occasional ghost POV.
M1: I think you just did.
M2: Oh. Guess so. So we’re done now?
M1: We’re done. That’s all folks!
M2: *enthusiastic jazz hands*