The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson is not what I expected. At first, I thought it was going to be a mystery/thriller because teenage girls are vanishing in Door County in Wisconsin and then turning up days later, dead in the water. Then I thought it was going to be a ghost story, and maybe in a really abstract way it is. But really, it was the most haunting and devastating YA contemporary I have ever read.
Released: July 2014
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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.
The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson is an atmospheric novel. It is a cold, quiet, and introspective novel. It’s a slow but intentional novel. It’s not something that will appeal to everyone. You need patience to read it, but at the same time, I read it in a single sitting. I couldn’t put the book down because it was one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read.
The Vanishing Season is a character-driven novel. It is a novel about friendship. It is a novel about betrayal. It is a novel about isolation and death and lost memories. It is a novel about unrequited love. It’s always the stories about unrequited love that make me cry. I knew it was coming, but I cried anyway.
The Vanishing Season has one of the most upsetting endings I have ever read. I didn’t expect it, and it feels like the suffocating weight of melancholy. I wanted to love Maggie’s new friends, Pauline and Liam. But, I knew…I knew they were going to be toxic. I get so angry just thinking about them because it’s not fair. It’s not fair!
The Vanishing Season is one of the best books I have read this year. It’s probably one of the best books I’ve read since launching Books & Tea five years ago. It’s so rare that a book moves me to tears or emotionally destroys me to the point where I’m fumbling to find words for a review. I need to read this book again. I think maybe that’s a bit masochistic, but I really do need to read this book again. I’ll wait for wintertime though. I think that’s when this book is meant to be read.