Vanishing Girls - Lauren Oliver

This is a story of two sisters who find themselves at odds with each other after a car accident. Nick wants to mend fences but Dara, scarred and angry, refuses to speak to her. We hear about a child who has gone missing, and when Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick is convinced the girl's disappearances are related. Nick is determined to discover what happened and rescue her sister.

The story jumps back and forth between, before the accident and after. Some of Dara's diary entrees are also woven into the story as well as news articles about the missing girl. I found myself flipping back to check if I was reading before or after the accident. I didn't want to get confused and miss something important.

In the first half we learn a lot about the sister's relationship which was filled with love, competition, jealousy and some sweet moments. I didn't care for the love triangle between Nick, the boy next door and Dara. Dara is the younger sister who grew up a little too fast. She always has to be the center of attention and it seemed that hooking up with Parker was just a way for Dara to compete with Nick. I can't imagine wanting to be with someone that my sibling already dated. It's just a little too weird for me.

I like mysteries and thrillers but I haven't read many lately, so I wasn't overburdened by the feeling that I've read this all before. I suspected what the twist might be but I can't say I had it all figured out. I think I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if it hadn't been quite so slow in building up to the disappearance and if I had felt like Dara was in serious danger.

 

Initially it seems like Dara hops on a bus and leaves the night of her birthday dinner in a desperate plea for attention. I was well past the middle of the book before I even started worrying that Dara actually was in trouble. Overall, I do love Oliver's writing style and I felt she did a nice job keeping me guessing throughout the book.

 

-SW