Vanishing Girls: the Frustrations of Sisterhood

Lauren Oliver’s newest novel Vanishing Girls tells the story of two sisters who were in a car accident, and how it has altered their lives. The book flips between before the accident and after, and switches perspectives between the older sister, Nick, and her younger sister, Dara. Both girls have secrets, Dara more so than Nick. Those secrets all come to light in the summer following the accident. There’s another plot line within this book: a younger sister is kidnapped while her older sister is babysitting. The stories of these two sets of sisters become intertwined and mysteries collide with an unforgettable twist.

imageWhile realistic fiction isn’t usually my favorite, this book had me hooked from the get-go. The beginning of the book gets you introduced to the sisters, and then there’s a big gap of missing memory, and all of a sudden I had a million questions, some of which did not get answered until the end of the book.

As an older sister, I connected with Nick on some parts of her relationship with Dara. Oliver totally gets the frustration of having to share a bathroom counter with someone who spreads her stuff out. Like Nick, I never really wore make-up as a teen, so finding my bathroom counter covered in eye shadow powder and brushes was always an annoyance to me. Reading the part of the book where Nick gets upset about how messy her sister was in the bathroom was so real for me.

Sisters fight very differently than any other type of relationships. They fight petty and passive-aggressive, whiny, and often without exchanging any words at all. That comes across so incredibly well in this book.

imageThat’s about the end of the comparisons between Nick and Dara and me and my sister. I am very lucky in that my sister and I are five years apart and didn’t have the same friends, or attend the same social events. Also, my sister never snuck out and did drugs in high school.

I liked Nick’s storyline throughout the novel. She is put in an awkward place after the accident, and her mother gets her a job working at an amusement park, where she encounters her estranged childhood best friend, Parker. To be honest, it wasn’t until Parker was introduced that I really lost myself in the story. Not because he’s dreamy and there’s a steamy romance, but just because he added a little stability to some pretty messed up heads.

My advice to people who want to read this book: Bookmark all the pages with dates on them. The dates are important and flipping back to find out when something happened got really tedious.

I enjoyed this book for the sister dynamic as well as the family psychology in general. It was definitely a fun read, and a pretty fast read too! I would recommend this book to people like my sister, who love books that have massive quantities of drama and are total thrillers.

Vamishing Girls comes out tomorrow. You can get your copy through Harper Collins here.


One thought on “Vanishing Girls: the Frustrations of Sisterhood

  1. Please note that Vanishing Girls is a novel originally published by HarperCollins, in 2012, by Katia Lief. Some of my readers have expressed confusion, since it’s the same title and the same publisher, and so I am spreading the word.

    “Vanishing Girls is powerful, provocative, and pulsating with verve; it also marks an evolution of character and circumstance that should serve the series well in future installments. Further, Karin Schaeffer is both complex and compelling, and arguably one of the strongest female figures in contemporary crime fiction—and her absolute strength of will is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.”
    —John Valeri, Hartford Books Examiner

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