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[Book Review] - The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Title: The Vanishing Season
   Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
   Format: Hardcover
   Release Date: July 1st, 2014
   My Rating: 3.5 out of 5.0

     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.

My Review:

   The Vanishing Season was one of those books that I was confused on the rating. I wasn't sure if it was a 4 or a 3 and settling on a 3.5 just didn't seem right at first. However when I get down to it, there was some bit of the book that I didn't quite understand. I haven't read a whole lot by Anderson, and I was looking for something bright and cheery; while this book wasn't entirely, it was a good quick read. However I'm not sure exactly where to put my finger on how I feel on it afterwards. It wasn't the book I thought it was going to be, but it was a surprising new take.

     Door County is just your local rural no-name town in the middle of nowhere on the lake. While the book focuses on the three main characters, Maggie, Pauline and Liam, there is a third ghost or abaration that kind of foreshadows the ending and it's done so well. The town is very small, almost nothing in it besides maybe a few vacation local spots and the salvage/junk store that the show American Pickers could be aired at. But the story picks up when girls start disappearing and "dying" in nearby towns.

     First of all the book is not a paranormal book at all, it has a sort of narrative from a ghost or something of the sort. Further there is no love triangle in this book, there is a bit of drama with the friends, but it tends to work its way out. And finally there is no mystery, there is nothing to solve. However, this book is pure entire character growth and a good study of what makes a character who they are. I love how Anderson just makes them all realistic, and relatable.

     So to dive in Maggie is the main focus in this novel and she comes from Chicago in the wake of the recession. I love how her family works with the small income and turning a rugged, almost condemned house into something worthy of calling a home. She was easy to understand, however, I wonder why it almost seems like she never goes to school. Maggie is the perfect daughter, she almost never gets in trouble and chooses who she loves and falls for carefully.

    Pauline and Liam enter as the high school sweethearts and long time friends. However the relationship is slightly different, Pauline views it as a friendship and Liam is begging for something more. While their relationship doesn't strain too hard, they differ on where they stand. At one point they split apart, and Liam turns his eyes on the Maggie. The drama lasts shortly, but in the end Liam and Pauline ends up back together which did get me a bit in a bind. If you knew you had feelings for the one girl, why did you end up expressing it with another?

     I never got the feeling that Liam had any deep feelings for Maggie, which hurt my representation of Liam. He's supposed to be this great gentleman, and he is. Until it comes to the mixed feelings on the two girls. It's not hard to tell that he repurposes the ideas and what he wanted to give Pauline, to just do the same with Maggie. I found it contradictory of his character design.

     Overall the story is rather short and nothing dramatic happens. However, there is some great character growth in this novel and is by far some of the best I've read thus far. I wanted something more to happen, maybe with the murders or something, or the "ghost." It just needed an extra flair to the book to bump it up, because the plot was rather boring and slow. The characters and their interaction is the main key point in the whole ordeal. So if you are looking for something quick and character focused, this is your novel.
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