Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Published: July 1st, 2014
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 272
Copy: From Publisher, thank you
Summary: 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.

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

One thing I have to make clear from the start - The Vanishing Season (aka The Moment Collector)  is not a creepy, supernatural ghost story. Not at all.  But it is a beautifully written, hauntingly sad ghost's story.  I read it very quickly, in just over 3 hours actually, and I loved every minute of it.  

I have not read anything else by Ms Anderson, so I had no preconceived notions going in, and I was just able to enjoy the tale.  It starts slowly, telling us about the lives and loves of three teenagers in a small town on Lake Michigan.  There is not a lot of action going on, but we do find out how Maggie, Pauline and Liam are affected by a series of murders that have taken place near their homes.  As the story moves towards the end, there is a building sense of urgency that made me feel slightly unsettled.  I knew what was going to happen, but I wasn't sure to whom, and I wanted to stop it - what's that old expression?  "If wishes were horses...'!

 It was somewhat refreshing to be reading about 3 teenagers who are not desperately trying to be something they are not, and who are reasonably happy within their own skins. Their parents were real, one a little strange, one a little damaged and Maggie's full of love and concern.  Their story was sad and somewhat bittersweet, but I loved it.  I've read several reviews that mention the lack of action as a negative, but for me I was able to just enjoy the language and the setting.  I was able to picture the lake and the woods.  Feel the heat of the sun and the cold of the snow.  Feel Maggie's disappointment and appreciation when she gets the wrong gift from her father, for all the right reasons. Remember what it was like to fall in love for the first time and to feel the loss of love for the first time.

     "This is what I think the world is showing me.  We are souls at a common cause.  We are only here to love.  That was my great story all along.  We are here to take chances, and fail, and keep trying."  (page 167 in my ecopy)

Thank you so much to Gina, at Harper Collins, for persevering and finally getting me a downloadable copy.  (My hardcover copy still hasn't arrived.)  I probably would not have picked The Vanishing Season up on my own, but I am very glad to have read it and will happily be recommending this beautiful story wherever I can.

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