By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Book review: 'Vanishing Girls' teaches about unbreakable family bonds
b6b174a592efb13823127c63c80ae20efb75bc63a6dbc6f3baeb781d1ecd1ef6.JPG
"Vanishing Girls" is by Lauren Oliver. - photo by Maddie Swensen
Author Lauren Olivers new young adult novel, "Vanishing Girls" (Harper, $18.99, ages 16 and up), is a psychological thriller that shares the importance of family.

Seventeen-year-old Nick is a practical, protective big sister, and Dara is a care-free, fun-loving 16-year-old. Once upon a time, the sisters were joined at the hip.

At least, they were before the accident.

Through a series of flashbacks, journal entries, news articles and firsthand accounts, Oliver pieces together the mystery that surrounds the sisters and their broken relationship.

With 'Vanishing Girls,' I wrote 85 percent of it chronologically, Oliver said in an interview with the Deseret News. Then I realized that there were things in the past that needed to be emphasized or referenced, so I would layer in more sections.

Torn apart by the car crash that leaves the sisters scarred, Nick is determined to use her summer break to salvage their broken relationship.

In an attempt to resume normal life, Nick heads to work at a run-down amusement park called FanLand. There, she reconnects with her former best friend, Parker, and tries to maneuver through her feelings for him, all while trying to patch up her relationship with Dara.

I loved creating FanLand. Its something that Im increasingly interested in, the specificity of the world that I create, Oliver said. I really, really loved thinking about the amusement park and the characters there, the rides and how it looked.

Oliver said that she had never written a book in a setting like this, and she enjoyed trying something new.

When a 9-year-old girl goes missing, the city residents devote practically everything to getting her back. After Dara also disappears on her birthday, and after finding hidden notes and pictures that were never meant to be seen, Nick is sure the two disappearances are connected and sets out to save her sister.

Im a very character-driven writer, and I think that kind of stuff really comes from my own experiences, Oliver said. The emotional content I draw mostly from my own life and also my observations about how people behave.

Most of the events in "Vanishing Girls" came from personal experiences or the experiences of those close to her, Oliver said. Once she had the general idea for the story, the plot evolved from those experiences.

"Vanishing Girls" is a spine-tingling story with unpredictable twists and turns that will leave readers stunned. It has a great balance of heart-racing and heart-wrenching moments about the importance of family and the great lengths taken to protect the girls.

Oliver is the author of the Delirium trilogy, "Panic" and "Before I Fall," all of which are young adult fiction novels. She has also written a number of books for adult and middle grade readers.

Oliver is working on a number of projects, including the screenplay for "Panic," which is being made into a movie produced by Universal Studios. She is also working on more novels for middle grade and adult readers, as well as a new teen novel slated for release in spring 2016.

"Vanishing Girls" has frequent swearing and crude language; many sexual references, though not greatly detailed; and some teenage drug and alcohol use. There is also one scene with some described violence.