Monday, September 8, 2014

Short and Haunted: The Vanishing Season

The Vanishing SeasonAuthor: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Series: Standalone
Published: July 1st 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Lenght: 256 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

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.
As a reader, I have this overwhelming need to connect deeply with the characters I’m reading about. Even when I’m dealing with anti-heroes, there’s always something (usually humor, regardless of how non-PC it might be) that keeps us firmly linked. No matter how hard I tried, forming that or any other kind of connection with Anderson’s three characters proved to be impossible for me, and so did finishing this book.

It was all intentional, of course. The overall coldness and detachment wasn’t an accident at all. If anything, it was proof that Anderson is a very skilled writer, one capable of creating the exact atmosphere she desires. Based on the few reviews I’ve read, the distance between the reader and the characters is not without its purpose – it’s simply a deal breaker for me personally.

I gathered from those same few reviews that the story doesn’t end on a positive note. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m a closet romantic at heart. I like my stories to have hopeful endings, perhaps to make up for the fact that I don’t really believe in HEA in real life. Being denied both the emotional connection and a reason to smile in the end seemed like as good a reason as any to give up on this book and find something else to read.

I’m not telling you not to read this book. I’ve seen plenty of enthusiastic reviews so I’m pretty sure some of you will absolutely love it. Perhaps just read a sample first to see if this type of prose works for you.


A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. I definitely want a reason to smile at the end of a story! There are enough unhappy endings in real life so I don't choose them in my entertainment. I'm also with you on the need to connect with the main characters. It really impacts my enjoyment of the story. Sorry this didn't work out for you, Maja, but I can totally understand why you'd quit it and move onto something more fulfilling. Great honest review! :)

  2. I feel the same way about all the books I read Maja and honestly, I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting any of it. I think I will avoid this one, I really don't have the time to read things that just aren't going to give me what I crave. ;)

    Lovely post!!

  3. I do not need oh we got married and won a million bucks, But I at least need a smile at the end

  4. I'm with you. I always need to feel an emotional connection with the characters and if that doesn't happen, I know I'm pretty much doomed. I've been hearing similar things from everyone about this book and if it doesn't have an HEA, I most definitely will not be reading it.
    Great review, Maja!

  5. In order for a book to get a positive review from me, I really need to be able to form an emotional connection with the characters too. It's too bad this one doesn't have that, which is one of the reasons I haven't gotten around to reading it. Hope your next read is better, Maja!

  6. Too bad this one didn't work for you. I'm very similar, I need a strong connection with my characters.

  7. I have to connect with my characters as well, and will probably avoid this one

  8. Bummer. I was hoping you'd like this one, Maja. I absolutely loved Tiger Lilly and was really looking forward to reading Anderson's latest one. I'm still curious about it so I'm going to take your advice and read the sample before reading the whole book.

  9. I guess I never really had an urge to read this one because Tiger Lily didn't really work for me. Her style doesn't seem like one that works well for me but I'm always willing to consider trying an author again. It sounds like one that wouldn't work for me though either. Sorry it was a DNF for you.

  10. Oh I didn't know this one I confess but I'm sorry it wasn't for you. I think I'll pass as well.

  11. The one way I can deal with disconnect from characters is if it is intentional with purpose. However, I at least need an HEA (same reasons as you!) if I'm not going to connect. Give me something! :) I think I would agree with you on this one. Darn. Still might try her other books.

  12. I ended up not reading my copy after all the dismal reviews and you just confirmed my good decision. Such a disappointment as I really liked Tiger Lily.

  13. If it would have been at another time of my life I would have probably given this one a chance after all, even with the emotional distance but emotionally I can't deal with unhappy endings too much...
    Thank you for your very honest reviews!

  14. Awww, Maja. I loved Tiger Lily more but I loved this one as well. I am sad but I have long since accepted that The Vanishing Season/The Moment Collector won't appeal to everyone. I was surprised myself because I've read this expecting to be disappointed since I've read quite a number of negative reviews. I definitely understand how not feeling any connections with any characters would be problematic though. Thanks for the honesty, Maja! :)

  15. See? I'm the same way. I have to feel connected to the characters and if I don't it makes it SOO much harder to read it and FINISH IT! I totally get that! Thanks for the heads up!

  16. I've seen some enthusiastic reviews for this, too, but I've only made it about 1/4 of the way through...not sure if I want to pick it back up and finish it!

  17. Oy. I can't. I need an HEA. As much as sad endings desensitized our hearts to heartaches, stories like those are still cruel. :(


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