The Vanishing Season
Jodi Lynn Anderson
Genre: Supernatural, YA
Publication date: July 1st 2014
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 copy was provided by HarperTeen for review-
I’m slowly learning that I am very picky when it comes to the type of “mindfuck-ey” books that I like. There are some that I love, that skyrocket to the very top of my favourite books list (like Another Little Piece, Lucid or Complicit to name a few) and then there are some that just never grab me and seem to almost go over my head. Falling into this group is books like (Don’t You) Forget About Me and now The Vanishing Season. There were definitely things that I appreciated in this novel but I never connected to it in any way nor did I come to care about the relationships.
Maggie’s family has had to downsize after her mother got laid off from her job in Chicago. They move to the small town of Door County into a home that the family had inherited. Once they arrive they see stories on the news about young girls showing up dead and it gets the whole town shaken up. Maggie makes fast friends with the beautiful, quirky girl next door Pauline and through her is introduced to Liam. Pauline and Liam have been life long friends and as the town sees it they are soul mates, though Pauline clearly isn’t really feeling the attraction as much as Liam. The story is pretty much the tale of the romance the ensues between the three of them. Once Pauline’s mom gets too scared to have her in town because of the killer on the loose she ships her off to live with her aunt and Maggie and Liam’s feelings start to grow for one another. I mean this is really all there is in the book. In the backdrop there is the vanishing girls but it’s definitely not the main focus of the tale.
We see all of this happen in what feels like the 3rd person but it comes clear early on that we are actually being told the tale from the perspective of some ghost or soul that is watching everyone. At the end of some chapters we get italicized writing that is in the first person and tells us that this entity is trying to figure out who they are and what their purpose for being around is. I was definitely intrigued by figuring this stuff out too but once again it’s an interesting part of the story that doesn’t seem very important at all like that of the vanishing girls. Once everything is revealed and we find out who this entity is I have to say that I was very surprised and it made me look back on the novel in a completely different way. This is the one aspect of the story that I really liked because it was so unique, unlike anything I have come across before.
Because of the very detached way in which we are told the story I never did feel a connection to anyone at any time. Maggie was very bland to me, almost to perfect and level-headed for me to be able to get her at all. Pauline was the most interesting because she was completely her own person. She didn’t really care what anyone thought and it seemed like she was someone who wouldn’t give in to stereotypes or do what people thought she should. Liam wasn’t a love interest that I could pine over either because he came across as really indecisive and does some pretty unforgivable things as the romance goes on. He’s a thoughtful person sure, but I just never fell for him at all.
Overall The Vanishing Season felt pretty much aimless to me for most of the time that I spent reading it. I am often OK with character driven stories that lack in a strong plot but for that to work I have to be able to connect with someone in the novel and unfortunately I didn’t. Luckily, it was a very quick read and the mystery of finding out exactly what was happening kept me powering through.
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