Vanishing Girls (Review)

A good book, sure. But kind of a disappointment based on the expectations I had going in. Just think “the off brand version of We Were Liars“.


This is a spoiler free review!


New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver delivers a gripping story about two sisters inexorably altered by a terrible accident.

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it’s too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

“Alarming and uplifting, a rare psychological thriller that has a kind heart at its center. Read it with all the lights on.” — E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars.

First off, I do not understand why anyone would call this book a “thriller”. The pacing was sooooo slow at the beginning, and it didn’t really feel even close to a thriller until the very end. Most of the book just felt like buildup to the very last few pages, instead of a story of its own. It was more like a reaaaaally long prologue than a story. I went in expecting and edge of your seat, heart racing, maybe a little creepy kind of book. But that’s not what it was. And I feel like that’s what causes a lot of my disappointment about this one. It was made out to be something that it’s not.


The plot twist at the end was really confusing, too. It’s hard to discuss without spoiling it, so I’m just going to stick with saying that it didn’t makes sense. Over the several pages during which it was explained, I was totally lost and had no idea what was going on.  It totally erased what happened over the last several hundred pages- even more so than We Were Liars did- and didn’t accomplish much aside from leaving me feeling confused and lost.Really

But on to the things that I did like.

I really enjoyed the little letters, news articles, and stuff. I love epistolary novels!! Diaries, letters, websites, I don’t care. Just give me more epistolary novels. And, while Vanishing Girls wasn’t exactly an epistolary novel, it did have some epistolary bits that I really enjoyed.


The relationship between Dara and Nick was also really cool. They were so different, but also so alike, and I really enjoyed that. They were really well fleshed out. The secondary characters left quite a bit to be desired (I want to know more about their mom!) but Dara and Nick at least were interesting, flawed characters. They were both far from perfect, but I still felt really sympathetic for them- and I can say from experience that writing characters like that is definitely not easy! The two of them felt like such cliches at first- Dara was the bad girl and Nick was the good girl. But there was really so much more to it than that.


So, I mean, in the end, I feel like I would have liked this book waaaay better if I had just expected something different. Read this book. It’s good- not amazing, but good. It has its problems, and the ending is kind of weird when compared to the rest of the story. So don’t go in looking for an “alarming and uplifting psychological thriller”. Look for a slow moving story about two sisters and their journey to forgive each other.


Three stars out of five. Read it before you read We Were Liars and you’ll enjoy it a lot more.


9 thoughts on “Vanishing Girls (Review)

    • Thank you! You really should. It’s a really good book. The problem is just that We Were Liars is a little better and very similar, so it’s kind of hard to enjoy this book when you start to compare the two of them.

  1. I read this first and then a little while later, We Were Liars.

    I actually really enjoyed Vanishing Girls. I liked who it was mostly character-driven until that giant plot twist at the end. O.O But I think I did enjoy We Were Liars a little more. Vanishing Girls was a little longer than We Were Liars, and I think that it could have been shorter. Also, We Were Liars’ plot twist just made more sense in my mind.

    Since you liked this and We Were Liars, you might want to read All Fall Down by Ally Carter. It is a thriller and really amazing, with a cool plot twist that reminded me of the two aforementioned books. 🙂

    • Yeah, I probably should’ve done that 😛 I went into this one expecting something between We Were Liars and thriller type action, and so when it wasn’t that, I was disappointed. But I did like it… just not as much as I would have if I had read it before We Were Liars. And yeah, I agree- We Were Liars made more sense to me.

      And thanks! I’ll definitely add that to my list 😀 I need some more stuff to read over the summer.

  2. I have this one out the library right now! Whilst I enjoyed We Were Liar (sort of? It left me pretty shocked) it was rather nice to keep it short. I think I’ll still give this one a shot, though. 🙂 (The cover reminds me a little of We Were Liars too. Hmm. But with a different colour scheme.)

    • Yeah, my opinion on We Were Liars is like that too. Like, I liked it a lot, but I also didn’t like it? I dunno. It’s kinda hard to put my opinion of it into words. And you definitely should give it a shot! It’s very good, just not a thriller like I had expected. And yeah, I agree; I think it’s the blurry-pictures-of-people thing.

  3. Pingback: Monthly Wrap Up: June 2015 | Stay and Watch the Stars

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