The Vanishing Season

The Vanishing Season

The Vanishing Season

by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Genre: YA Contemporary, YA Mystery, YA Paranormal
Published: July 1st, 2014
by HarperTeen




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.


Jodi Lynn Anderson’s previous book Tiger Lily earned it’s spot on my shelf of all-time favorite books quite simply because of Anderson’s poetic, eloquent prose; so I guess I can’t be entirely blamed for wanting to read her upcoming mystery / thriller novel The Vanishing Season. While I didn’t quite like The Vanishing Season as much as Tiger Lily, it was still a wonderful read nonetheless, and Anderson’s beautiful writing still takes center-stage.

Maggie and her family have just moved from Chicago to the middle of nowhere in Door County, Wisconsin; where her only neighbors are a bold, youthful Pauline and a mysterious but kind Liam. But then the murders begin. Teenage girls found dead, each without a scratch on them. Who is this cunning criminal? And can authorities catch him before he has the chance to hurt Maggie, Pauline and Liam?

What I love about Jodi Lynn’s writing is – besides her ability to so articulately string words together – is her narratives. She always picks the most fascinating and captivating POVs to write her stories from, and each time it makes her stories so interesting. The Vanishing Season is no exception.

Maggie, in my opinion, was a fascinating and complex protagonist, and I found myself really enjoying her personal journey. She’s more than your stereotypical kind, booksmart protagonist. She has flaws that make her feel so real and easy to connect to.

I think the most disappointing aspect of the novel though was the actual mystery aspect. From the moment we met him/her I knew who the murder was, so the “big reveal” at the end of the story came as no surprise to me. It would have certainly been nice if there was a few more red herrings, a few more plot twists here and there; but sadly they weren’t found.

Whether or not you’ll enjoy The Vanishing Season depends on what they expect to get out of it as a novel. If you’re looking for a beautifully written book about friendship and love and ghosts that ends with a completely heart-breaking ending, you’ll definitely find it here. However, those who are looking for more of a strict murder mystery or paranormal story will probably not find that hidden between the pages of The Vanishing Season.


41 thoughts on “The Vanishing Season

  1. All I saw was heartbreaking ending D: Oh no! I hate heartbreaking anythings! But it sounds like this one is a pretty great novel! I downloaded it from Edelweiss a few months ago, which is pretty exciting! The cover is absolutely gorgeous and the synopsis is super interesting. The characters sound intriguing, and even though the mystery is a bit blah, I’m excited to see what it’s all about. I’m generally disappointed by mystery novels anyway lol.

    Excellent review, Zoe!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. Me too! This particular author always has such sad endings though! It’s definitely a pretty solid read overall though! That’s awesome that you got a copy from EW! I’ll definitely be on the lookout for your review within the next few months! The characters and writing are definitely the book’s strong suits, but, yeah, like you said, the mystery was kind of “meh.”

      Thanks Alyssa! Looking forward to seeing what you think! 😀

  2. This sounds like the kind of read where you just have to sit and take a moment to let it all sink in after you’ve read the final page. I love it when an author’s writing really shines! Great review.

    1. Definitely! 😀 It’s always great to find an author who really goes above and beyond in their craft! Thanks Carmel! <3

  3. I can tell just from the synopsis that the author has beautiful writing. Reading it felt like reading a poem, it was so beautiful haha. And that was just the beginning!

    I love realistic characters, and these characters sound brilliant. Flaws really make such a huge difference in character development, and I’m so glad the author’s not someone that creates Mary-Sues.

    Sorry that the mystery wasn’t great though. It does seem odd that there’s not really any closure. But at least you enjoyed it overall!

    Brilliant review Zoe! xx

    1. Haha! Her writing is definitely similar to a poem! I’m so glad you find flaws in characters make them that much more realistic! It’s always refreshing to connect to a character when they make wrong choices because it makes you look at things from a new, nonjudgmental perspective.

      Yeah…the mystery was a bit of a let-down, but the rest of the book makes up for it!

      Thanks Joy! <3

  4. I wanted to read this…and then I forgot I wanted to. BUT NOW I REALLY WANT TO. (See how eloquent I am? Really, really eloquent.) This does sounds really nice and, though, I confess, I still haven’t read Tiger Lily but it’s eyeballing me. Maybe I’ll just throw my reading plans for this week and read it right now. But I do kind of love murder mysteries (forget how warped that sounds), soooo, I’m keen for this one!

    1. Shame on you for not reading Tiger Lily yet! 🙁 But, yes, it is a rather nice read! You should definitely pick both of Jodi’s books up ASAP! Murder mysteries are a rather creepy kind of fun, eh? 😉

  5. Sounds like an interesting book with the mystery and beautiful writing, it’s just a shame the ending was kind of open ended. I have read books like this where the murderer really isn’t justified or explained, and I think I’d rather stay away from these types of books because they leave me with a bad feeling. Great review as always though, Zoe!

    1. Beautiful writing indeed! Yeah…the ending was heart-breakingly sad, but the mystery never got fully resolved. We learn who committed the murders, but we never learn their motives, so that was definitely a let-down. Those types of books always leave me with a bad feeling as well! Thanks so much Jeann! <3

    1. Yeah! 😀 😀 😀 Hope you enjoy them both Missy! Tiger Lily is one of my all-time favorites, and this one is definitely worth the read as well (although it’s not quite up there with Tiger Lily).

  6. I do like a good mystery so being left with a lot of questions would be a bit of a disappointment. However, reading a review like this prepares me for what is to come in some ways, so I think I’d still like this.

    1. Yeah…the thing I love most about mysteries is trying to figure out who did it, why they did it, and the big reveal. Hopefully you end up enjoy this one Lauren! Let me know if you decide to read it!

  7. Annddd I’m sold on Jodi Lynn Anderson. I’ve had Tiger Lily for who knows how long, but . . . you know where I’m going with that. I did, however, just download it to the Kindle on which I actually read things, so I’ll definitely read it before getting to The Vanishing Season (b/c it’s right there, how can I not?), but this one is going on the wishlist for sure. I don’t read many mysteries, mostly b/c I hate knowing whodunit the whole time (and in the mysteries I have read, that is usually the case), but if the writing is as beautiful as you say it is, it would be worth it. Maggie and Liam both sound wonderful, and Pauline too, even if she is a bit underdeveloped. Forewarned is forearmed. Great review, Zoe!

    1. *claps wildly* YEAHHH! You need some Jodi Lynn in your life Jessica! 😉 Let me know when you read it…I can’t wait to see what you think!

      Yeah…I’m not a huge fan of mysteries where it’s so easy to guess the culprit early on into the story. The writing definitely made up for it though! The characters are excellent, so I hope you enjoy them as well!

      Thanks Jessica! <3

  8. Hah, in a way, Tiger Lily had a open ending (ish), too, right? So I’m not surprised that she would have another one here. Mysteries are one of the best genres for me to read, so I’m not sure what to feel about the questions that are left unanswered, unless they are and you need to read between the lines to get it (which is usually not my thing because when I read mystery, I read it for entertainment, not to get my brain nerves and wires all worked up and alert! haha). Anyway, at least the main characters are awesome. Awesome review, hun!

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

    1. Hmm…in a way, yes, it definitely did; but this one didn’t have an open ending; just an open mystery.LOL..yeah, that’s probably the case! 😉 The characters are definitely awesome (well, it’s Jodi Lynn, right? 😉 )

      Thanks Faye! <3

  9. This is a gorgeous review Zoe, I read a copy of Tiger Lily recently and although I didn’t enjoy it as much as a lot of my blogger friends did, I’m glad that Anderson ends up giving you another beautiful read in this book. I have to admit that I had overlooked this book when I first heard about it, but being a huge fan of heartbreaking reads I think I will have to give this book a go soon!

    1. Aww…thank you Jasprit! <3

      Sorry you didn't enjoy Tiger Lily as much as I did, but this one is certainly both beautiful and heartbreaking, so if you’re in the mood for a book like that, definitely check this one out!

      Let me know if you decide to read it! 😀

  10. I haven’t read any of her books before… Though I want to read Tiger Lily, because I hear so many awesome things about it and I just want want want. The stacks of books (actual stacks of books in my room) are piling up and gosh I just need more shelves and MORE TIME to read them all.

    Where are holidays when you need them? and where are the relaxing I-don’t-have-homework-or-anything-else-to-do-days?! Why can’t I just read *bursts out in tears*

    Another wonderful review Zoe! *stamps an A+ mark on this review*

    1. Tsk tsk Iris! You’re missing out! Just kidding…but really…Jodi is awesome! If I recommend you one book, it would definitely – without a doubt – be Tiger Lily.

      And I know! Can’t it just be summer so we can just all relax and read? I miss those days too! *Cries with you*

      Aww…thanks Iris! <3 *blushes*

  11. Holy wow, dude! I’ve actually never read one of Jodi Lynn Anderson’s books *hides*. But, JESUS, apparently I’ve been missing out. The way you described her writing, just makes it sound so lyrical and mesmerizing.

    The book may begin a little slow, but if the writing is as gorgeous as you say, I think this is a book that deserves a read 😀

    1. Holy wow is right! Jodi’s awesome! I hope you take heed and read one of her books ASAP because they are truly something else!

      Yeah, the minor flaws this book had were definitely slightly overlooked by the gorgeous writing! Let me know if you decide to read it!

  12. I LOVED Tiger Lily and have a copy of The Vanishing Season begging me to pick it up, so I’m glad to see you adored the latter book despite some disappointments. I agree that Jodi’s writing is phenomenal and that it’s not just her lyricism that makes it so. Her characters are so tangible and her settings are so lush that I felt like I was being ripped away from a real place when I finished reading Tiger Lily. Thanks for the lovely review – now I know what to expect from this book and am even more excited to read it myself. 🙂

    1. Oh wow Emily! You described her writing so perfectly!

      “It’s not just her lyricism that makes it so. Her characters are so tangible and her settings are so lush that I felt like I was being ripped away from a real place when I finished reading Tiger Lily!”

      Definitely let me know if you decide to pick this one up! 😀

    1. It’s awesome! And yes…the cover’s so beautiful, isn’t it?!

      Glad it sounds appealing Michelle! Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Yes! It’s always definitely a bit of a sour moment!
    Gah…you’re going to love this author Melliane! She’s one of my favorites!

  14. I’m really curious about this one. I never read Tiger Lily but I heard how amazing the author was and this one sounds right up my alley. I love the sounds of the writing especially!

    1. Oooh…Giselle, you’re going to LOVE Tiger Lily! I have a feeling you’re really going to like this author – I can just feel it! Her writing is just made of awesomesauce! 😉 Although this one wasn’t quite as good as Tiger Lily, it was still a pretty good read! Definitely looking forward to seeing what you think!

  15. I haven’t read Tiger Lily yet, but it is definitely sitting patiently on my bookshelf waiting for my to finally pick it up. I’ve heard all of the fabulous things about Jodi Lynn Anderson though, so I’m excited to read it. I cannot help but be attracted to books with beautiful writing style and great characters, although I’m not too big on mysteries.

    However, you definitely made The Vanishing Season sound interesting and I have a strange urge to buy it when it comes out. So I think this warrants a great review and even if I don’t end up reading this one, I’ll certainly try Tiger Lily!

    1. Kaede! Tsk, tsk…Tiger Lily is the best! You have to read it! Haha…just kidding…but you’re really missing out! Even if you’re not too keen on mysteries, this definitely has something for everyone! And the mystery is hardly the main focus of the story, so there’s that too.

      Yeah! 😀 😀

  16. A super review as usual. I do love a murder mystery story so I will put this book on my reading list. It sounds like this author is truly an A+ in your eyes and you are a great judge of writers. Thanks for all your beautiful feed back on good reading material, very helpful.

  17. I love Tiger Lily too! After that, Jodi Lynn Anderson has basically risen to the position of a god in my mind. Well, that might be a little too exaggerating, but I’m definitely not missing out on her new book. First of all, I LOVE this cover!! Secondly, mystery is the BEST. It’s like my dream come true when an author I already love trying out the genre I’m getting addicted to. Ahhhh, sooooo jealous you got to read it early!!

    1. YES! Fellow Tiger Lily fan! *high-fives* Haha…I know what you mean! 😉 And yes! That cover! <3 So gorgeous, right? I love when authors step out of their normal genres, so that was definitely whipped cream on top of the ice cream.

      Haha...thanks Angel! <3

  18. I’m so confused about the ending. Did Maggie die of the cold? How’s the toddler connected to Maggie’s parents? Did Pauline and Liam end up together or did he die too? When did Maggie and Liam go to the lake?? I need answers lol!

    1. I agree – the ending was definitely a bit confusing and it was definitely open to interpretation. I read this a few years ago, but from what I remember [spoiler]Maggie did die, but Liam didn’t. Pauline and Liam did end up together. I can’t remember about the toddler though.[/spoiler] Hope this helps! 🙂

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