- Character Development
While Lauren Oliver’s most famous works, The Delirium trilogy, are dystopian novels with a touch of sci-fi elements, her contemporary novels certainly do not disappoint. With last year’s gripping novel Panic packed with adventures and suspense, it is clear why readers are and should be pumped for the newest release Vanishing Girls.
Vanishing Girls is a contemporary thriller that again deals with suspense and mystery that fans of Lauren Oliver have slowly grown to love in Panic. However, while Panic is about conquering fear, it is nonetheless just a harmless light-hearted novel. On the other hand, Vanishing Girls is a brilliant attempt to portray the importance of family in a teenager’s life and also the heavy subject of the fragility of life.
Vanishing Girls follows the lives of sisters Nick and Dara before and after an accident that not only caused physical injuries, but also caused emotional scars. Through the journey that Lauren Oliver has carefully planned for the two protagonists, readers get to witness how the relationship between the two plays out and how the accident damages their family.
The most unique element of this book is definitely the fact that Lauren Oliver has shaped the story through Dara and Nick’s perspectives, both from before the accident and after it. While dual POV is nothing new, the before vs. after narrative is rather uncommon in today Young Adult fictional world. This works perfectly with the nature of the story as the accident has such an impact that the events just do not continue to flow but are discrete. This does not disrupt the flow of the story; in fact, helps build up the background in pieces gradually. As a result, the suspense is built fantastically.
Regarding the character development, the different POVs help shape the two characters as individuals. However, the back and forth timeline makes it slightly difficult to solidify the characters. On one hand, readers get to know the characters from multiple perspectives. On the other hand, the multiple perspectives can sometimes blur together in readers’ minds, especially due to the fast-paced storyline, and thus be a tad bit confusing to differentiate between the two characters.
The suspense has been built up perfectly such that whilst the truth is not revealed till the very end, readers have just enough to get by. The ending is very compelling and believable and you will find yourself wanting to re-read it just to examine the clues yourself.
Overall, Vanishing Girls is definitely a book that should be added to your TBR-pile. It is very different from what teen readers are usually reading nowadays and it is certainly a read that will freshen up your mind from the corrupted governments and the high fantasy elements. Not only will Lauren Oliver’s fans adore the writing style that is so intriguing, Young Adult readers or even adult readers will come to love the gripping storyline and the captivating execution of the story.
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