Friday, June 27, 2014

Early Review: The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Release date: July 1, 2014
Published by: HarperTeen
Source: Digital ARC via Edelweiss
Author Links: Twitter | Goodreads

When Maggie Larsen’s parents lose their jobs, they move her to a tumble-down house in sleepy Gill Creek, Michigan. Maggie misses her old life and wishes they’d never left Chicago, but she will play the dutiful daughter. Pauline Boden understands what it’s like to feel restless. She has dreamed her whole life of escaping Gill Creek, but she is expected to stay behind and run the family business. What starts as an uneventful summer suddenly changes. Someone is killing teenaged girls, and the town reels from the tragedy. As Maggie's and Pauline’s worlds collide and change around them, they will both experience love and loss. And by the end of the book, only one of them will survive.

The Vanishing Season is at once haunting and lovely, with a gut-wrenching final twist readers won’t see coming. It’s perfect for fans of Gayle Forman, Lauren Myracle, John Corey Whaley, and Jodi Lynn Anderson’s own Tiger Lily. 

I have mixed feelings about The Vanishing Season mostly because I feel that the synopsis is a bit misleading (especially the one posted on Goodreads). I was given the impression that this would be a murder mystery. In addition to that, a ghost enters the story after just a few chapters. So I'm thinking that I've come across something that will be a little dark and intense with at least a few scary moments. It was none of that. Don't get me wrong, there is mention of a serial killer in Door County murdering young girls and there are small parts of the story told from what seems to be a ghost's point of view. My problem is that these two things could have been completely removed and the story would essentially be the same. 

The Vanishing Season is about young love, new friendships, betrayal, and broken hearts. It follows a teenage girl named Maggie who has moved into a run-down house her parents have inherited in a new town that is much smaller than the one she is previously from. She helps with home repairs, finds a new job, and befriends her two neighbors, Liam and Pauline. 

The relationship that develops between Maggie, Pauline, and Liam was very well written. There is no question that Anderson is a talented writer. Her characters were realistic and it was easy to become emotionally invested in the outcome of the story. She created a likable protagonist who was easy to relate to and placed her into complicated situations with secondary characters who were complex and unpredictable. This made for a great coming-of-age story. 

The Vanishing Season has no mystery, no action, and no scenes that will frighten you. This isn't a bad thing as long as you know what to expect. If you're just looking for a young contemporary romance, then I would highly recommend reading this story.


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