Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Lauren Oliver's Latest

Vanishing Girls, Lauren Oliver
So, this came out today.  And while I've had it waiting here for over a week, I hadn't got to it yet (I was in something else I wanted to finish).  But when I did pick it up, I read it in a single day.  It was compelling, okay?  Also:
  • Authentic.  I felt like it portrayed the teen years well, but...
  • ...for older readers.  I wouldn't encourage an actually young, young adult to read this book at. all.   So it's is all good for it to be authentic, so we can remember those times, as adults reading this book.  
  • Should be rated M / R16.  Experimentation with alcohol, drugs and sex during these years is painted as commonplace.  There are many references to all of these things.  Thankfully, Oliver doesn't suggest this is the only possible route through adolescence.  There are also heavy themes and serious cussing now and then (I wish the latter could be left out, I really do).
  • Reads better when you know less.  I deliberately avoided reading the synopsis with the press release so I could have a cold start and guess from the get-go.   Doing that is my jam.  Then, sometime during reading, I caught a phrase on the back-cover blurb, which GUYS, reveals something that happens AFTER THE MID-WAY POINT of the book.  I mean, if you jab your finger into the pages at half-way, there is something that happens after where you finger is, and the jacket tells you this is going to happen.  I kindaaaaaa can imagine the editing decision, but I think if you only know it is called "Vanishing Girls," and is a thriller about sisters who are trying to rebuild their friendship after an accident, you will enjoy the novel even more.  Don't read more on GoodReads, OR THE BOOK'S BACK COVER.  Seriously, I'm still shaking my head over this.  Who wants to wait more than half a book for something blurbish to happen?  Hitchcock, maybe.  Point noted.  But still, guys.
  • Reminiscent of a mixture of Looking for Alaska and Lost Boys, or a more poetic Christopher Pike novel -- if you devoured those in a rebellious splurge once too (I totally did).  It has the grittiness of teenagehood and some nice tension waiting for the terrible thing to happen that's super-foreshadowed to happen (there's the Hitchcock.  I get it.  But I still think it would roll better with less spelled out as a teaser). There is some classic string-tidy-up that also made me roll my eyes, but I forgave.  It had been entertaining.
  • Good for discussion.  If you read this, I wish to discuss this with you.
Overall: Entertaining, not one for the conservative members of our number, and overall, better than I thought it was going to be, going in.

Review copy supplied by Hachette.

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