Saturday 14 February 2015

VANISHING GIRLS by Lauren Oliver

Dara and Nicola used to be inseparable, but that was before - before Dara kissed Parker, before Nicola lost him as her best friend, before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred. Now the two sisters, who used to be so close, aren't speaking. In an instant, Nick lost everything and is determined to use the summer to get it all back.

But Dara has other plans. When she vanishes on her birthday, Nicola thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl has vanished, too - nine-year-old Elizabeth Snow - and as Nicola pursues her sister, she becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances may be linked.

I  was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book--thank you Hachette!--and couldn't wait to read it because the premise sounded so intriguing. I knew that the story of these two sisters would be twisted in some way, and I wasn't wrong.

Nick and Dara have always been close. Two sisters who did everything together. Along with their neighbour, Parker, the two girls enjoyed many childhood adventures together. But they haven't been on such good terms lately.

Dara is a problem child always sneaking out and getting into trouble. While Nick is the good girl, who spends a lot of time covering for her sister.

When Nick  returns home from her father's place, shortly after a horrible car accident that caused some pretty serious injuries to Dara, her younger sister doesn't exactly welcome her home with open arms. But Nick is determined to reconnect. 

The truth is, things haven't been the same between them for a while. Even before the accident, a boy managed to come between them.

The sisters might now be under the same roof, but Dara keeps avoiding Nick. But that's okay because Nick is busy working at a local amusement park and reconnecting with Parker. Besides, Dara's birthday is coming up and she won't be able to avoid their annual family birthday dinner.

But then Dara doesn't turn up to dinner, and Nick becomes convinced that the disappearance of a little girl is somehow linked to her sister and goes on a wild goose chase. What she didn't realise was that she would find a deep secret Dara was concealing from everyone. 

Or that Nick's life isn't as straightforward as she thought.

This is an amazing story with several twists. I have to admit that I worked out one, but it didn't ruin anything for me. The story is told in the alternating POVs of Nick and Dara. It's also told in different times, jumping from Before and After (the accident), which is done so well the technique enhances the story. And sometimes, I felt like the reader was supposed to be a few steps ahead of Nick and Dara.

But I can't say too much more. This is one of those books where you're better off not knowing much about it. And spoilers are too easily revealed if I say any more. So I won't. ;)

Vanishing Girls is an addictive, surreal, tense story that hooked me in so deeply I wanted to follow Nick every step of the way, until she got all the answers. Lauren Oliver's writing style is lovely, and her stories compelling. I also liked how the events unfolded naturally.

I loved every minute of this book. It's awesome. Actually, it's hard to express just how awesome without giving anything away.

Vanishing Girls, March 2015, ISBN 9781444786804, Hodder & Stoughton

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