The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Rating: 1 star
Source: eARC from Edelweiss
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
What I Liked:
The writing style is excellent, probably the redeeming quality of this book. Not enough for me to bump up the rating though. Oh no no no, this book was just AWFUL.
What I Did Not Like:
I don't even know where to start. Maybe if I narrate what I did not like, it'll make it easier for me explain everything that I hated/disliked. I feel like I'll miss something or things. But, let's see. Nothing happens. There was no plot. I was bored the entire time. I was close to not finishing this book. There is a love triangle. There is a random narration point-of-view that was unnecessary. The protagonist is spineless. The ending was horrible. The premise - about missing girls - was so anticlimactic and barely present in the story. THERE WAS NOTHING TO THIS BOOK.
Nothing happens in this book. I was so disappointed by the lack of plot, it's unreal. The premise was so interesting and promising, about missing girls and whatnot. It sounded creepy and haunting, a combination that I don't read often, but I generally enjoy. But NOTHING HAPPENS. Maggie and her parents move to somewhere remote in Wisconsin (I think it's Wisconsin?), she becomes friends with Pauline, who is totally not in love with Liam. But Liam is in love with Pauline. Then he is in love with Maggie, and Maggie is in love with him. But then Pauline comes back from her vacation in Florida (or whatever), and gets jealous, and decides that she loves Liam. Of course he dumps Maggie for her.
You must be thinking, oh, so this book is a contemporary romance type of book? That's not necessarily a bad thing, right? WRONG. I just made it sound like things happen in this book, in terms of the romance, but UGH, it takes forever for any ONE THING to happen. This book moves at a snail's pace, and even still, it feels like nothing happens.
ESPECIALLY in terms of the missing girls premise.A total of four girls disappear, then an arrest is made, but of course it's not the right guy, but no one knows that. No one except the weird narrator, who is a dead ghost, mind you. We don't know who that ghost is until the end of the story. But anyway. The missing girls thing is NOT well-explored, or brought to the forefront of the story, like I thought it would/should be. No, everything is about Pauline.
Dang, I hate Pauline so much. She is so flighty and stuck-up and snobby and self-centered. I hate people that are so privileged, they never have to make up their mind for anything, they never have to want for anything, they always get what they want, even if that means stealing and crushing someone else's desires. Pauline takes away so much from Maggie, and yet, Maggie is still friends with Pauline.
Which leads me to my next point: I HATE THE PROTAGONIST. I hate Maggie so much. She is SPINELESS, with no backbone, whatever. It's like she doesn't feel, from beginning to end. At first, I thought she was a little like me, hardworking, with her school and future career in mind. But no, she's a doormat. She lets Pauline back into her life, time after time, no matter what Pauline does to her. Pauline and Liam get together as a couple, after Liam and Maggie get together, and yet, Maggie stills forgives them and hangs out with them. Forgive them? Maybeeee. Continue being friends with them? Both of them? Either of them? Hell to the no.
That narration that I mentioned? It's a dead person, a ghost, who lives in the house that Maggie lives in, so it can see what is going on in the house and around the town. The rest of the book is told in third-person past tense, limited to Maggie's perspective. So the narrator is supposed to give us holistic perspective, I think. Whatever. I thought it was pointless and unnecessary, and I didn't really understand its purpose. Even in the end, when everything was revealed, I didn't understand.
So, yeah, I was confused while reading, and after reading. Why was the missing girls plot not fleshed out? It didn't exist! Things didn't seem eerie and haunted in this book - no, the mood was flat. Everything seemed dry and boring, and I could care less. Usually I could fly through a less-than-three-hundred-page-book in less than two hours. It took me FOREVER to read and finish this book. I was so close to not finishing, you all. I really wanted to read something more interesting.
LOVE TRIANGLE. Oh my gosh. Why why why. You already know my thoughts on love triangles in general, and you already can gauge how I feel about this one. I hate Pauline in general, but I especially hate her when she takes Liam for herself. Liam always loved Pauline, so I can't fault him as much, but he broke Maggie's heart. And Maggie - seriously?! I totally understand not fighting for him, but don't torture yourself by hanging out with the two of them, forgiving them so easily. She didn't even yell at them or show them her anger or frustration. She never talked to them. That's so stupid!
The ending is so horrible. It's like the disgusting icing on a nasty cake, or something. What's the point?! What's the point of going through this entire "story" (or lack of), to end it like that!? Ughhhh.
Would I Recommend It:
No. No no no no. I know a ton of readers are really excited about this book, because the author's debut novel, Tiger Lily, was epic and amazing and writing was beautiful and blah blah blah. I didn't read that one, but I have read this one, and it is just AWFUL. Don't hurt yourselves.
1 star. Basically, there was nothing to this book. I'm really disappointed - I was hoping for something epic, like I've heard about Tiger Lily. Too bad!
Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!
Ugh!!! What a freaking bummer! And yours is not the first not good review I've read about this one!ReplyDelete
And love triangle? Hell to the no... if only for that I'd probably be avoiding this one, but after your review... yeah no!
Thanks for your very honest review, Alyssa!
I was on Goodreads and saw that a lot of the reviews were like, three stars or lower :o The love triangle got to me too! It was really ridiculous -.-Delete
You're welcome! Thank YOU, Pili!
I hadn't heard anything about this book before- and I haven't read Tiger Lily either- but yeah. This sounds....no. Just no. Thanks for suffering through it and giving us fair warning! :)ReplyDelete
Definitely happy to help, Kel! It wasn't pretty D:Delete
I'm sad about this, but at the same time not? I was interested but not super interested, and now I don't have to read it. This missing girls and the ghost narration sound good, but it's not worth it to read a book about people I'm going to hate. So, thanks for the warning Alyssa! If I read one of her books, it'll be Tiger Lily. :)ReplyDelete
Glad to help you narrow things down! It really isn't worth the time. Tiger Lily still appeals to me, so I might read it as well. You're welcome, Rachel! ^_^Delete
It's got a different name in the UK. It's called The Moment Collector... but unfortunately it's exactly the same story! I got bored with it half way through and the character's were just dull and annoying. Written well just not very interesting.ReplyDelete
Yup, I saw that, the international editions have a different title! But yeah,t he content is the same :\ I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy it as well! I hope you read something better, Mily :)Delete
Ugh. That really sucks. I got this in the mail yesterday (won on Goodreads), and was not sure (I have also seen some not-so-good reviews), but now I am extra bummed. I feel bad not reading it so I probably will at some point, but it is NOT going to be at the top of my pile after reading this! Maybe I will stash it in my car or something, and use it in an emergency "I have nothing to read" situation. Thanks for the heads-up!ReplyDelete
At least you didn't buy it though! Perhaps you'll love it - you never know. However, if any of my review points resonated with you, then maybe not? Emergency read, sounds good.Delete
You're welcome - thank you so much for commenting!
I started this one last week, and I have read maybe 30 pages. Every time I start, I read maybe 3 or 4 pages and then I can't.... I just have to put it down. Very disappointing, with such a good premise. I will finish it (eventually) because it is an ARC, but man it sounds like it will just get even more painful to read.ReplyDelete
I know how you feel, Jaime. The beginning, middle, and end were all disappointingly not great. It's great that you want to finish it! But I wouldn't hurt yourself ;) Thank you for the comment!Delete
Aw :( I'm so sorry sweetie. That this book was awful. Ack. I am getting the UK ARC from the publisher.. and I have the US one via Edelweiss :p So I must read it. Sigh. But now I wonder if I will like it at all. Hmm. Maybe :D Thank you for sharing and being honest sweetie. <3ReplyDelete
I hope you enjoy it more than I did! You should definitely read it, especially if you're getting both types of review copies.Delete
You're welcome, Carina!
Oh, such a bummer you didn't like this one! I know this author is well known for her other books, which is why I thought i'd give it a try, but now maybe not so much... Thanks for the honest review, Alyssa!!ReplyDelete
It's unfortunate, because I really wanted to like this one! Perhaps you'll like it more than me. You're very welcome! <3Delete
It's always a bummer when you don't connect with a book. I knew when I read this one that it was going to be polarizing. I did end up liking it. But I could also envision a different time when I wouldn't have been in the mood for this one.ReplyDelete
I'm glad you enjoyed this book, Vivien! That is awesome, compared to my very different opinion :D Thank you for sure!Delete