Review: The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen 
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 258 (ARC)
Source: Gifted
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.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

This book was not what I wanted it to be. Really, the only aspect that I liked about it was the writing. It was haunting and beautiful. Really, this was perhaps the loneliest book I have ever read. Every character, even those who are in love, is lonely. Well, everyone but Maggie's parents, that is. They're entirely in love and just weirdly out of place in comparison to the rest of the cast. The haunting writing style really made this book worth the read, as did the potential awesomness of the tale. Upon completion, I realized how unique this plot was supposed to be...

...but the issue is that this book has no real plot. The execution was just bad. I don't know how else to describe it. In the grand scheme of things there is a lot going on. There's a girl moving to a new town. There's a ton of mysterious disappearances and murders of girls. There's the discovery of friendship, first love, and back-stabbing. There's a small love triangle. There's near death experiences and exploring nature. There is a ghost. However, nothing happens. This is a book where the plot is utterly nonexistent. This is perhaps the best rating a book without a plot can ever get from me.

I found all of the characters to be the literary equivalent of cardboard. Our main character, in the end, had a very large heart, but she was just bland. I didn't really feel for her aside from one moment where her world is temporarily shattered. Otherwise, I was just coasting along admiring the writing and shaking my head that such beauty was wasted. Our main character is obsessed with Pauline. A girl who knows she is very pretty, but goes out of her way to not be pretty. Pauline is selfish and annoying. Dealing with her as a character was rough enough, but having to hear about her all the time through our main character was frustrating. It's like the book was about Pauline when it's not! And then there's Liam. I liked a part of him for a little, and then I realized he's a bad friend and sucky person too. This book should just be named the sucky persons club.

There's so many romantic matches. This guy is dating this girl even though the town things another girl and that guy should be together. Eventually, that guy does date the girl the town wants him with, but the new girl had to break another guys heart to get there. In other words, there's a lot of romantic nonsense. There's also a really boring love triangle with a supposedly good-looking, rich, and accomplished guy who is utterly obsessed with said girl and then takes it to extremes. Just no. Not okay. And, of course, the icing on top of the cake...there's insta-love for every single love match possible.

The ghost POV is dispersed throughout the book and, really, it was confusing more than anything else. It only ever served any importance at the very end when you actually figure out the identity of the ghost, but even then you're sitting there wondering why this ghost event exists. But that's not the only loose end. We never get to learn the identity of the murderer or the motive. That plot line that was once so integral to the story is just dropped. We never get to revisit characters unless they were related to Pauline. Abe, the dog and the only character that I liked throughout the entire book, was lost at one point and then he miraculously reappeared. We were never told where he went or how he showed back up. We were left hanging with so much, but I suppose that's what you expect from a book without a plot.

Read this book if you want something unique with pretty words. Don't read this book if you're looking for something that makes sense that leaves you with a happy feeling upon completion. More then anything, I wanted to chuck this book at the wall out of frustration.

1.5 stars



  1. Aww, I'm sorry to hear that this one just didn't pan out. It definitely sounds like it could be good, but I think I'll pass on it. I'm not really sure I like the sound of a plotless, relationship tangle. Thanks for the review Lili!

  2. Sooo big waste of time. Good to know. Blah.

    Amber Elise @Du Livre