Monday, October 26, 2015

Review: The Vanishing Season

Title: The Vanishing Season
Author: Jody Lynn Anderson
Release Date: July 1st 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 258 pages
Rating: 3 Cows

Goodreads Description:
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.

            As a frequent tourist of Door County, I was pretty excited to find out The Vanishing Season was set in this town.  It took me back to my weekends of camping in Door County as a kid; the nostalgia of the candy stores, quaint gift shops, and cottages scattered all over town, which Jodi Lynn Anderson seemed to capture perfectly in her writing in The Vanishing Season.
            The narration of this book was certainly unique.  Part of it is told from the perspective of a ghost, who we don’t know the identity of until close to the end of the story.  The other parts of the book are told from the POV of Maggie, a newcomer to Door County who has just moved there from the big city of Chicago.  Admittedly I was confused with the ghost bits of the book at the start of The Vanishing Season.  I didn’t understand where these pieces of dialogue fit in with the plotline until the very end of the book.  Initially I assumed the ghost was one of the killer’s past victims, who came back to avenge her death.  After all, we all know that ghosts come back for one of three reasons: “Ghosts come back for revenge, or they linger to protect someone, or they stay because of some unfinished business.”
            For a book based on murder though, I found The Vanishing Season to be pretty anticlimactic.  The majority of the focus was on the time Maggie spent with her two new friends, Liam and Pauline.  Then every so often, a new body was found and mentioned in one of the chapters, only for life in Door County to resume once more.  That is not to say that the murders didn’t shake up the citizens of this small town a little bit, but there was very little attention given to these murders or the drama going on.  I think this is why I found this book to be a tad bit slow for my liking.
            While I didn’t hate this book, I also didn’t love it.  For me, the best part was the last 50 pages of the book because the ending took me by surprise and for a book that I thought I had figured out by the first few chapters, I was mistaken big time.  The fact that the ending was better than I anticipated and not as predictable as I would have pegged it to be, improved my intending rating of this book, which would have been a 2.  That being said, I did give this book 3 cows overall. 
            One thing I am curious about after reading The Vanishing Season is whether the Door County killer in the book is based loosely off of events in real life.  I did try to look it up online but my search didn’t yield much.  Does anyone know if this murderer was real?  Considering the killer wasn’t found in the book, perhaps it’s better if we stay oblivious and don’t find out after all…


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