Friday, May 8, 2015

Book Review: Vanished

Title: Vanished
Author: E.E Cooper
Genre: Mystery // Young Adult
Publisher: Katherine Tegen  Books
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher // Edelweiss

Friendship. Obsession. Deception. Love. 

Kalah knows better than to fall for Beth Taylor . . . but that doesn't stop her from falling hard and falling fast, heart first into a sea of complications.

Then Beth vanishes. She skips town on her eighteenth birthday, leaving behind a flurry of rumors and a string of broken hearts. Not even Beth's best friend, Britney, knows where she went. Beth didn't even tell Kalah good-bye.

One of the rumors links Beth to Britney's boyfriend, and Kalah doesn't want to believe the betrayal. But Brit clearly believes it—and before Kalah can sort out the truth, Britney is dead.

When Beth finally reaches out to Kalah in the wake of Brit's suicide, Kalah wants to trust what Beth tells her. But she's swiftly realizing that nothing here is as it seems. Kalah's caught in the middle of a deadly psychological game, and only she can untangle the deceptions and lies to reveal the unthinkable truth (goodreads).

While Vanished wasn't everything that I had hoped for, it was still an enjoyable mystery. 

Plot: The day before Beth's 18th birthday, Britney and Beth have an argument which has Britney stomping out of the house in anger. As this is the norm of their relationship, Kalah doesn't think much of it until Beth skips town and Britney commits suicide. Clearly there is something afoot. The mystery is simple, and it was something that I figured out with ease on my own. The premise sets this mystery to be bigger than it actually is, which is the biggest letdown of this mystery. Twists and turns? No, there is maybe one turn and half of a twist. Everything else is pretty straight forward. 

Characters: We are first introduced to Kalah and her two new best friends in Kalah's room where Britney is trying on Kalah's sari and Beth is chatising her for treating it as a costume. One, OMG A PERSON OF COLOR IS A MAIN CHARACTER, Those always win two points in my book. And two, DOUBLE POINTS for the author making a comment on people who choose formal wear from other cultures as Halloween costumes. Now let's examine the relationships. 

Beth and Britney are always at each other's throats, but they love each other the only way best friends can. In true cool kid fashion, they set their sights on Kalah and make her apart of their group, which has her feeling both anxious and uncomfortable with the new status. I would have enjoyed Vanished a lot more if there was more depth to Beth and Britney. We get small snippets of their lives through flashbacks, but I never felt like I knew them, and so it was hard for me to really care when bad things happened to them. 

The synopsis claims that Kalah is in love with Beth which  I disagree with. First because Kalah has a boyfriend and Kalah and Beth's relationship is never established. They're not a couple afraid to bring their love to the public, instead Beth is the token "easy girl" who likes to sneak kisses with Kalah in dark corners. Kalah, to me, just seems like the naive girl who reads too much into situations. Despite that, I liked Kalah for her quirks and insecurities. 

World Building: The world building was a bit shallow, but I did like how the author incorporated social media and chat rooms into the story telling. 

While that was interesting, the storytelling still suffered. Books like Gone Girl and Pretty Little Liars are popular because they have a specific tone. With Vanished, it didn't feel like I was in the middle of mystery, There was no sense or urgency or fear....just words on paper. 

Short N Sweet: Vanished is a typical mystery with not so typical characters, and while the storytelling isn't perfect, the ending wins a few points with me. 


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