Book Review: Vanishing Girls

Vanishing Girls Cover
Photo: Courtesy GoodReads

Lauren Oliver has written some of my favorite Young Adult books in recent years. Before I Fall and Panic are both favorites for different reasons. So, I went into Vanishing Girls with high expectations, and Oliver did not disappoint.

Vanishing Girls is the story of sisters Dara and Nick and the aftermath of a night that changed their lives. Dara was the outgoing, pushing-the-edges sister who liked being in the center of attention and getting the cute guys. She’s preppy, popular and the life of the party. Nick is the studious, smart, responsible sister who feels like she has to take care of Dara and watch out for her, especially after she starts dating a boy that has always been a good friend to both of them.

Then, the accident happens and everything changes. Dara is disfigured and doesn’t leave the house. Nick stops carrying about school, stops carrying about anything, and stops speaking to her sister. Vanishing Girls centers around the summer after the accident. Nick is trying to get her life back on track, including a forced summer job at the local amusement park. That’s when a little girl goes missing and Nick starts to wonder if there was more to Dara’s changing mood before the accident than just boys and booze.

Can Nick put the pieces of her life back together? Will she and Dara be reconciled? Can there be a happy ending after so much tragedy?

It’s hard to talk about this book without giving away too much. There are twists and turns that the reader doesn’t see coming, and I always love that in books I’m reading. Dara and Nick are well-developed characters, full of individual characteristics that make them easy to tell apart. The writing style is a little confusing, with the back and forth between the time right before the accident and the current summer. While the disappearance of the little girl in the Catalyst that moves Nick forward, it feels so secondary to the story that I think the ending could have happened without her.

Overall, another solid book by Lauren Oliver. Before I Fall is still my favorite of hers, though. Pick them both up and read them soon.

Vanishing Girls will be released March 10 by HarperCollins