Friday, July 11, 2014

ARC Review: The Vanishing Season - Jodi Lynn Anderson

The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Genre: YA, contemporary
Published on July 1, 2014
Published by HarperTeen
Pages: 256
Read From: 7.4.14 - 7.5.14

Girls started vanishing in the fall, and now winter's come to lay a white sheet over the horror. 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.


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? I like the color and the tree and the strange while reliefs on the border - and of course, the title. I wish the book had been as exciting as this cover.

Characters: I'm glad the first topic is something I can actually say good things about, because there's lots of fussing in the near future. So the characters were good. I liked Maggie - she was cautious, she was smart, she was a planner, and she liked books. A girl after my own heart. I even liked Pauline, who was Maggie's complete opposite and someone I wouldn't normally like. But her spirit was infectious; she was the sort of girl who makes the entire room light up, even if she isn't trying. Her genuine obliviousness and lack of pretention made her very likable. Liam I very much liked. He was a gentleman, classy, knew how to make things, was an all-around good friend. The characters in this were terrific. . . . .And that's about all.

The Romance: Liam and Pauline have been best friends since they were kids. Liam has loved Pauline for a long, long time, but Pauline refuses to see him as anything more than a brother. Maggie, however, does notice Liam, and after certain events, Liam starts to notice Maggie, too. The romance is focused on quite a bit; it is, in fact, pretty much the whole plot. I liked Maggie and Liam together; however, after a certain event that would be a spoiler to reveal, the romance caused me to dislike Liam quite a bit.

Plot: Maggie is forced to leave busy Chicago and move to rural, quiet Door County after her mom loses her job. Nothing seems to happen in Door County, but Maggie puts on a brave face and tries to comes to terms with her new life. Her parents are stressed out enough the way it is; they don't need the added burden of Maggie's unhappiness. Then Maggie meets their next-door neighbor Pauline - a rich girl who is all for living in the moment and not worrying about the future - something that Maggie totally doesn't understand. Despite their being complete opposites, though, Maggie and Pauline become very good friends. But amid their friendship and the hard winter, someone is murdering girls in neighboring counties - and then Door County itself. The victims are all found in the water, no signs of violence. Rumors start to swirl about who the murderer is, and a curfew is put into place. Maggie and Pauline don't know it, but their lives are about to turn dreadfully tragic. . . .And it has nothing to do with the murderer. Here lies my biggest problem with this book: the murders are just a backdrop. They never come into play with the actual plot, the murderer is so unimportant that we never even learn who it was - or even if the girls were murder victims or suicidal. Instead, this story focuses on Maggie and Pauline's growing friendship, and then the complicated romance of Pauline, Liam, and Maggie. This story strings you along, hinting at tragedy, talking about murders, and sets up several potential killers. Spoiler, people: it comes to naught.

Believability: Not applicable.

Writing Style: Third person, past tense. There are a few parts that are told from an anonymous entity - each chapter begins with a few pages of this entity's thoughts. The entity has forgotten who is was, and what it is now. But it is a witness to what happened to Pauline and Maggie. And yes, you do eventually find out who the entity was, and what it has become. I thought the entire story was going to be told from the entity's point of view, and I was a little disappointed that it wasn't. It's what caught my attention when reading the synopsis. The style itself isn't bad at all; there's lots of foreboding and the like. Too much, it turns out, since it never delivers.

Content: 1 g--damn.

Conclusion: This story builds and builds; promises so much, and it doesn't go anywhere. Everything you think will happen? It doesn't. The minor twist is easy to guess, and it just boils down to a messed up romance/friendship story. Dull. I'm sorry to have to say that, because I really did think The Vanishing Season was going to be interesting. Not so much.

Recommended Audience: Girl-read, sixteen-and-up, fans of contemporary.


  1. Ooh, I heard something similar about this book. Lots of potential plot elements- result: nada. Oh well, thanks for reviewing it for us!

    1. I suppose I shouldn't have expected any different from this Author, but you always hope.


Thank you for visiting The Reading Hedgehog! The hedgie and I love hearing from our readers, so please feel free to leave a comment or question! I always try to reply within a day or two. Please keep all comments civil and clean.