Monday, February 20, 2012

Review: The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers

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The Vanishing Game
Kate Kae Myers
Release date: February 14th, 2012
by Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Goodreads / Purchase

Seventeen-year-old Jocelyn follows clues apparently from her dead twin, Jack, in and around Seale House, the terrifying foster home where they once lived. With help from childhood friend Noah she begins to uncover the truth about Jack’s death and the company that employed him and Noah.

Jocelyn’s twin brother Jack was the only family she had growing up in a world of foster homes-and now he’s dead, and she has nothing. Then she gets a cryptic letter from “Jason December”-the code name her brother used to use when they were children at Seale House, a terrifying foster home that they believed had dark powers. Only one other person knows about Jason December: Noah, Jocelyn’s childhood crush and their only real friend among the troubled children at Seale House.

But when Jocelyn returns to Seale House and the city where she last saw Noah, she gets more than she bargained for. Turns out the house’s powers weren’t just a figment of a childish imagination. And someone is following Jocelyn. Is Jack still alive? And if he is, what kind of trouble is he in? The answer is revealed in a shocking twist that turns this story on its head and will send readers straight back to page 1 to read the book in a whole new light.

*A copy was provided by Bloomsbury Children’s Books for review purposes*

Mystery, suspense, romance, heartbreak, all rolled into one little novel. This was quite the mind-boggling read. If you enjoyed Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, I was often reminded of it when reading The Vanishing Game. We’re taken on an intense, fast paced scavenger hunt where Jocey has to solve clues her brother left for her after his supposed death. These riddles are really clever and I had lots of fun figuring out what they lead to.

What stands out the most in this novel, is how baffling it all is. After the first 25% of it, I was severely creeped out with my eyes bulging out of my head, my mind screaming WHAT IS HAPPENING? until I finally needed a break and set it aside. From the beginning, we’re thrown right into this mystery full of puzzle after puzzle that keeps blowing a tiny bit of your mind each chapter you read. You think you have it figured out, but then you turn the page. It’s fast moving and highly suspenseful.

The writing is pretty simple and to the point. Nothing to write home about, but the story is so engrossing that you don’t really notice it very much. I found the romance a bit out of place, though. It feels forced at times, and obvious for the most part. It’s almost necessary to have it included, in a sense, because we’re made to expect it, but it doesn’t really give any extra charm to the story; there are no real sparks between the two. Although, I think this may be due to the fact that the book is so dark and disturbing, their apparent crush on each other is never in the forefront of our thoughts. I still really enjoyed both characters. They make a great team and you never know what’s going to happen next to either of them. A third character, and the one that is constantly kept at the heart of the story, is the Seale house. This exceedingly eerie house seems to have a mind of its own with freaky happenings no one’s been able to explain. It gives out this unnatural vibe that I would never want to step foot into. I definitely got the creeps every time the scene involved this abandoned foster home. My heart would pound until they finally left, but it was always exciting.

The ending is certainly heartbreaking, and positively mind blowing. I would have never figured this out no matter how hard I tried. However I’m still not sure I’m 100% satisfied with it. I loved that it took me by surprise which rarely happens. I relished in how well thought out it was; It’s one of those endings that will make you want to reread the whole thing again in a new light. But there are still some things that were quickly explained of which I craved for a better understanding.

Overall this is probably one of the best YA mystery/thriller I’ve happened upon. It easily kept me absorbed in the story, not knowing what would happen from one sentence to the next. If you’re looking for a good YA mystery/thriller, this has become the first one that I would recommend.

4 Hot Espressos
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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36 Responses to “Review: The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers”

  1. Amy

    Fantastic review!! I have wanted to read this book since I first heard about it, but hadn’t heard much about it. It sounds like the type of book I will really enjoy. I am glad that they mystery aspect really does keep you guessing, unlike some where the outcome is pretty obvious. I will have to check out this book when I get a chance.

  2. Rachelia (Bookish Comforts)

    Wow, excellent review. This book sounds crazy good. I love when books make you work to find out the mystery and keep you on the edge of your seat! I don’t read far enough mysteries though. Looking forward to this one. Thanks!

  3. Mimi Valentine

    Mystery, suspense, romance, heartbreak, all rolled into one little novel?? Stop there, Giselle — you already have me hooked onto reading this book!! 😉 <3 It just sounds SO COOL! "The ones that can manage to get under your skin are the best," my aunt used to say. I think she was talking about boys, but it could definitely work out with books too LOL! x)

    Absolutely AMAZING review, Giselle! <3 If I ever had any doubts about this book before, I definitely don't now — amazing YA mystery/thriller, here I come! 🙂

  4. Ashley Prince

    I am so thrilled by your review. I have heard some mixed reviews but I know we have similar tastes. I will definitely be giving this book a go. 🙂

    Great review. 🙂

  5. Ailsa

    Interesting to see that you liked this book – I read a joint review of it last week where both reviewers had really not liked the book. I don’t think it’s going to be something I’ll like, but it’s always interesting when reviewers have drastically different opinions of the book – I think I’ll have to find a few more and see what other people think, too.


  6. Giselle

    Thanks guys!! I hope you all like it if you get a chance to read it!

    @Ailsa: I haven’t read many reviews on it but opinions are bound to differ. If you like thrillers though I think you should give it a shot for yourself it may surprise you! 😉

  7. Jac

    First? I love that cover, insanely creepy, and it looks slightly like the house near where I grew up!

    I actually love books that have simple writing but an amazing story – mostly because I can recommend them to non-readers who won’t feel like it’s over their head!

    Thanks for the great review, and for putting this one on my radar! I’m going to have to check it out.

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  8. Jackie's Little World

    I don’t think I would have looked at this one twice, but now I really want to read it. Although if my eyes are going to bulge out of my head when I’m reading a creepy book, it normally means I’ll be too creeped out to walk through my dark house for a glass of water in the middle of the night 😉

  9. Sam

    This sounds like such a good book! I read another positive review from a blogger friend a few days ago and she seemed to love it too. 😀 I am super excited to grab a copy of this now. I love a book that keeps me guessing and has a great mystery. I’m also intrigued to find out about this ending! Awesome review, Giselle. 🙂

  10. Danny

    Yours is the second Review I’m reading and I really think I do have to read it!! I didn’t even notice this book but… apparently I’m missing out something! Though, I’m a little sad that you didn’t like the romance so much.. hm!

  11. Rebecca (Kindle Fever)

    Yay, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! It’s definitely an awesome thriller/mystery. Gosh, it twists and turns like nothing else. It sucks you weren’t completely satisfied, but it definitely sounds like you still enjoyed it a whole lot! I agree about it being one of those endings when you want to re-read the entire thing. Great review:)

  12. Giselle

    Wow thanks for the comments guys! <3

    @Rebecca: It was so exciting I read it in no time! I was still pretty satisfied with it even if it’s not a 5-star. I’d still recommend it to everyone! >.<

  13. Alexa

    I really want to read this book now! It sounds like something that would be a crazy interesting (and really creepy) read. I always love trying to figure out what’s going on in any book – and this sounds like a book that asks of you to do just that 🙂

  14. Traci @ The Reading Geek

    I have not heard of this yet but this sounds really good! After reading your review I will definitely be checking this out now. I love mystery/thriller books and I especially enjoy ones that arent predictable. Great review!

  15. Shelagh

    Great review Giselle!

    This is most definitely a book that I need to keep an eye out for. Could it be that the romantic elements were included in an attempt to prevent the book from being too intense all of the time? I find that thrillers work better when the author gives you a few seconds of breathing space before cranking up the tension even higher.