I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Published by Harper Collins on July 1st 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Social Issues, Friendship, Death & Dying, Fantasy & Magic, Girls & Women, General
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From New York Times bestselling author Jodi Lynn Anderson comes The Vanishing Season, at once haunting and lovely, with a gut-wrenching final twist that will keep readers on their toes. It's perfect for fans of Gayle Forman, Lauren Myracle, and Laurie Halse Anderson.
Girls started vanishing in the fall.
For Maggie Larsen, the town of Gill Creek is only a stopgap before college and freedom. Until she meets Pauline and Liam. What starts as an uneventful year suddenly changes. Someone is killing teenage 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.
I feel a tiny bit like a sinner writing this review because I have met a Jodi Lynn Anderson book that I just do not love and that is super hard for me to write and makes me feel a bit wrong. This stated, you all know that honesty is the best policy and so, I will be honest. I did not love The Vanishing Season. I read it in spite of not so great reviews. Sometimes I see bad reviews of books by authors I love and am all, well I am just going to read this for myself because probably those people are wrong. Unfortunately, this is a case where those people are right. FYI I loved Tiger Lily and you can see my review here.
The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson is a story that is both contemporary and paranormal. Pieces of it are third person close narrated about this girl named Maggie who has moved to Door County from Chicago with her parents because her mom has been laid off from a high power finance job. Next door there is the beautiful and flighty Pauline who is best friends with a boy named Liam who has always been in love with Pauline. There are a rash of murders of young girls in Door County. Yet, this book is really an exploration of the friendship and the jealousy between Maggie and Pauline.
Then we have the paranormal element. After each chapter there is a portion of the book written in italics. This part is narrated by a ghost who doesn’t quite know why she is showing up and also why she is so attached to Maggie and Pauline and Liam. She also isn’t quite sure who she is. I’ll admit, I just was not that into this part of The Vanishing Season.
The protagonist of Anderson’s book, Maggie, is quite straight laced. She is very responsible and not at all flighty like Pauline. Maggie has a future plan that involves going to college for finance and making all kinds of money. Maggie works to save money for college. In addition, she is homeschooled and loves reading. I thought that Maggie’s character seemed relatable in that we cannot all be that bright and shining flighty manic pixie dream person like Pauline.
The main thrust behind Jodi Lynn Anderson’s The Vanishing Season seems to be friendship. We see two different sides of friendship – the one between Maggie and Pauline and then the one between Maggie and Jacie, her friend back home in Chicago. The friendship between Maggie and Jacie is filled with jabs and not genuine support or happiness for each other, yet there’s still this element of loyalty. It’s sort of one of those friendships where girls compete against each other and get ahead by subtly tearing each other down instead of building each other up.
This is in contrast with Maggie’s friendship with Pauline. Maggie and Pauline have fun with each other and do not really tear each other down. They go places when it gets boring and seem to accept each other for who each other is. However, this does not mean that their friendship is perfect. Not by a long shot. Maggie’s jealousy of Pauline plagues the friendship. Pauline comes from a lot of wealth. She has means that Maggie does not. Especially now that Maggie’s parents do not have the great jobs that they used to. So, naturally Maggie is jealous of Pauline who seems to get everything she wants.
This jealousy between Maggie and Pauline sort of erupts over a boy, over Liam. You see, Pauline’s mother sends her away while the murders go on so that Pauline is safe. In this time, Maggie gets together with Liam and the two begin to date. Maggie falls in love with Liam and he loves her back in a sense. Then, however, Pauline comes back. And there is no denying the feelings between Pauline and Liam.
Because Maggie is the main character in The Vanishing Season, there are definite strong feelings at least on my part as a reader, towards this whole love triangle and how it plays out. This bit completely affected my experience reading The Vanishing Season. I was very unsatisfied with how the book plays out.
Now, as for the way it plays out, the ending is a disappointment. I felt the book spent a lot of time just plodding along and meandering. When we get to the resolution and the why of the ghost, it is a disappointment. I will admit, there are beautiful lines and scenes within The Vanishing Season but nothing where I wanted to underline and dog ear every single page. I think that there just wasn’t ENOUGH feelings for me to truly love this book. I just was kind of meh and blase about the whole entire thing.