Sunday, May 03, 2015

Book Review: Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver delivers a gripping story about two sisters inexorably altered by a terrible accident.

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it's too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

"Alarming and uplifting, a rare psychological thriller that has a kind heart at its center. Read it with all the lights on." -- E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars.

Overall rate: ★★☆☆☆ (2.5 out of 5)

Book cover: 3/5

Story plot: 2.5/5

Characters: 2.5/5

Language: 3.5/5

Favourite excerpt from the book: 

Weird how you can confuse two feelings so different. Cold and hot.

Pain and love.

But I guess that's the whole point, isn't it? Maybe that's why I kept thinking about that time with the lighter. Here's what nobody tells you: 90 percent of the time, when you fall in love, somebody gets burned.

I actually had to read this book two times: first, without knowing the real plot, and second, after knowing the ending and the whole plot. To be honest, I'm pretty much disappointed with this story, even though I read it twice. I don't understand why the title is Vanishing Girls, because no one actually vanished—or even disappeared. 

He, I'd like to emphasise my dis-likeness over stories that go bank and forth from present to past events. They always confuse me, and makes my reading pace slower. I couldn't relax while reading them, it's harder for me to really appreciate the story. And Vanishing Girls is no exception. To make it worse, the point of view came from two characters; Nick and Dara, which made this issue worse. 

When I first got hold of this book, I imagined a story about a very close-relationship between two sisters. I have two sisters of my own, and we're closer than anyone that I know of, so I had a really high expectation for this story. But alas, disappointment is what I got. Sure, Nick and Dara used to be extremely close, before Dara started flirting with Parker (Nick's best friend), and somehow Ariana came. Nick and Dara's relationship may seem close on the surface, but deep down, it's obvious they have different thoughts. Dara constantly hated Nick's supposedly nice and good behaviour, while Nik hated that Dara always leave a lot of mess wherever Dara went and had to clean up after Dara. That's not a close relationship, that's pretending to have a close relationship. Inseparable? As if.

Nick. I have a little problem liking her. Sure, she's the good sister, but if she knew she's good, what's the point constantly comparing her good self to her wreck of a sister. She often complained—not sure if she told her friends or not—how she had to clean up Dara's mess. If she really love Dara, she would have tried to help Dara instead of keeping everything silent, as if she respected Dara's opinions or behaviour. No, she read Dara's diary anyway. Okay, fine, maybe Dara was stubborn enough that there's nothing for her to do, but to the point letting her friend say bad things about Dara, which almost labeled Dara as a slut, that's just too much. You don't let anyone say bad things about your own sister. I would have slapped anyone who talked rubbish about my sisters. But Nick didn't, even though Dara heard it. She merely pretended Dara wasn't there. What kind of a good sister is she?

Dara. I actually pitied Dara. I always pitied problematic teenagers, they don't have enough consciousness to realise that partying, getting drunk, sleeping with anyone they possibly could, drugs and other things that they do were useless and would only make everything worse. And in Dara's case, she also had to deal with a perfect sister in the family. I know that feel, having to cope with a perfect older sister that is loved a lot by the parents. But instead of hating Nick and protesting how she's forced to become the bad sister every time, wouldn't it be better to use Nick as a guide to become a better person? 

Parker. This is probably one of the rare occasions where I dislike the male character. I often found myself swooning over the male characters, because they're almost perfect and unlikely real in a good way. But not Parker. Totally not Parker. The first time he appeared in the story, when he saw "Dara", instead of coming out of his car and greet her properly like the best friend he supposed to be, he didn't. He just said holy shit to her when he saw her. That's just plain rude, you don't say that to a girl, no matter how supposedly close you are with her. I don't mind him having a relationship with Dara, but it's just too much that he kept giving her hope when he never even loved her more than just like a sister! And he didn't even explain to Dara first, but just went to Nick and confessed his feelings and kissed her when he's still somehow having a relationship with Dara. It doesn't matter if their relationship is over, Nick is Dara's sister, for goodness sake. How stupid can you be to pretend to like one when you actually know you're in love with the other one? 

I don't want to talk about the whole story since they're just disappointment. I read this, expecting a sudden twist in the end, and yes, I did get a twist at the end. But in a very bad way. It turned out that Dara died in the car crash, and the whole story is about Nick having a DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) or previously known as multiple personality disorder. Because of the accident itself, and the fact that she couldn't accept Dara's death, her mind started alternating between being herself and being her sister the next moment. It would have been okay, but nowadays, there's a huge load of stories telling about people suffering DID, it's just not that good of a plot any more. And Madeline Snow wasn't even kidnapped. (Which confirms my thought that Vanishing Girls is not at all a suitable title for this story.)

The fact that Nick and Dara's fight before they got involved in the accident was about Parker, and Nick ends up getting Parker anyway are just too much. Nick caused the accident and gets Parker. Well, congrats Nick. You could say that the accident was bound to happen and it was not all Nick's fault, but not having the guilt to be with Parker after everything happened?

I'll leave the opinion to you.

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

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