The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Title: The Vanishing Season
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Pages: 256
Source: ALA MW

Summary from Goodreads:
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.


I found The Vanishing Season to have a certain dream-like quality to it. The story is a delicate one and didn't feel quite grounded in reality. The characters had a storybook way to them - a little young and a lot peculiar. That, and Jodi Lynn Anderson's writing was beautiful, seamless and floating, and wistful too. I feel like this will either work for readers or it won't. For me, I found that I liked this.

I can understand the criticism though too. The synopsis is deceiving. The perspective from which it is told is a small part of the story you will read. An important part, especially as the end nears, but small nonetheless.I wish it had been given more prominence because I loved this part of the story. On the surface, this book is really about a young girl who moved from the big city to the small town of Door County. She's adjusting to her new life and growing closer to her two neighbors, the fragile, childlike Pauline, and the quiet, steady Liam. Meanwhile, young girls are being murdered in a mysterious way and the people of Door County grow more fearful and distant by the day. But this isn't really a mystery, or a horror story. Actually, in reflection, the vanishing girls have very little to do with the story at all except to contribute to the mood.

The Vanishing Season is no Tiger Lily but it had its moments and its good qualities. It wasn't always so engaging but it had me curious and I read it easily. But sadly, I don't think it lived up to its promise. That said, I think this one may be better suited for a younger audience or fans of simple seeming stories with an understated elegance to them.

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