Coming Attractions: The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Coming Attractions is inspired by The Perpetual Page Turner's Save The Date. Coming Attractions showcases a book that is not released for a while that I've read, and gives you a sneak peek (like a pre-review) as to what I thought about the book, since I can't post the review until closer to the release date.

The Vanishing Season
by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Series: Standalone
Released on: July 1st, 2014
Published by: HarperTeen
Rating: 4 stars
Word rating: BRB crying because Jodi Lynn Anderson
Reviewed by: Ellis

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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.

Oh man, I really hope Jodi Lynn Anderson decides to only publish one book every two or three years, because if her last two are any indication, that's probably how much time I'm going to need to recover from her work. As always, the writing was beautiful and while at first I thought The Vanishing Season wouldn't hurt as much as Tiger Lily, it turned out I was wrong. So, so wrong.

This didn't work for me:

It took me a while to get into the story. The pacing is a bit uneven, so there are some slow spots. Pauline's attitude to life and the people around her. And that's it. I loved it for the rest, even though I'm still terribly upset about that ending (in a good way, though). 

This might not work for everyone:

I would describe this as a moody novel. The story tends to meander and it's very introspective and character-focused, which makes that there isn't a whole lot of plot. It's not your typical ghost story, in that there are no haunting shenanigans. The ghost watching over Maggie and Pauline considers itself a guardian angel of sorts. There are some flashbacks and flashforwards and sometimes the characters seem to hold out on information for no apparent reason. This also isn't your typical kidnapping story. It's eerie rather than straight-up horror or thriller. The characters are a bit of an acquired taste and there is a love triangle. More about that last part in a bit.

This absolutely worked for me:

I love moody books. At first I couldn't pinpoint which direction this book was going to take. For the most part, we get third-person POV, usually through Maggie's eyes, with a few scenes in first-person POV every once in a while. The first person POV claims to be a ghost, but this is left somewhat ambiguous, especially in the beginning. (Keep in mind that I didn't reread the synopsis before I started and only remembered something about kidnapped girls. I should teach How to Read classes. Not.) 

All you know is that "I" is watching Maggie and Pauline, so for a while I actually thought we were getting a look inside the head of the kidnapper. I like how it's initially left somewhat in the middle whether this has a supernatural dimension to it or not. I figured out the ghost's identity a few chapters before it was revealed, but I was really hoping I was wrong. I flopped a little on my bed and stared at the ceiling for half an hour when I realised I wasn't. 

I honestly didn't care that there wasn't that much plot to go around, and while I didn't expect it, I ended up caring about these characters way too much for my own good. The general atmosphere of this book is this subdued, subtle kind of creepy. With every interaction, I constantly had the feeling that something wasn't quite right here or that something seriously tragic was going to happen. I was not wrong. And it destroyed me. The façade of regular, normal life is kept up for a long time, but as the ghost POV increases towards the end, you know some serious shit is going to go down. Cue the bed-flopping and ceiling-staring.

I actually really liked this love triangle. Considering it's one between a guy and two girls, you could say that most of the story is actually told in through the eyes of one of the love interests. Not that I could ever reduce any of them to merely the function of "love interest". The characters are too fleshed out for that. What's more, Liam, Maggie and Pauline are all friends, which makes that the love interests have a relationship with each other as well, one that is, arguably, even stronger than the one either of them has with Liam. It's all a big mess of feelings and all three hurt each other without wanting and/or meaning to, but I feel like this is a very thoughtful and realistic exploration of all the thoughts, feelings and actions that come with mathematical shapes of love. 

Also, pain. There is something strangely magical about this town that seems to be so isolated from the rest of the world and almost frozen in time. Then there are Maggie, Pauline and Liam, all of whom are pretty tragic characters. Pauline, and her habit of just coasting through life without making any (long-term) commitments, in particular just screams tragedy. She's the character I personally had the most issues with. There might have been moments when I was actively screaming at her and her socially inept behaviour. Overall, this is a wonderful, eerie, and intimate story, and I loved almost every minute of it. Even the ending. Which ruined me. Aka why I loved it. Shhh. This is completely normal behaviour. 


  1. Man, I really need to read something by this author. People always rave about Tiger Lily, and it sounds like this one is similarly feels inducing. And it's not too often that you see a love triangle with two girls and one guy!
    A lot of my GR friends have given this book three stars, so I was thinking of giving it a pass, but your review has convinced me to give it another chance ;)

  2. I was thrown off by the mention of a love triangle, but it's intriguing to hear that it's with one boy and two girls. You don't see that too often!

  3. I LOVED Tiger Lily. It broke my heart, but it was such a beautiful read. I'm super excited about this one, though I do have to admit that I'm disappointed that there is a love triangle - they just never, ever seem to work for me. I can't wait to give this a try soon though. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! :)

  4. Anderson can write a story, and I am really looking forward to this one. I was so-so on Tiger Lily, but I did enjoy her writing!!

  5. Even if you told me this was the worst book you've ever read I would still HAVE to read it because Tiger Lily is one of my favorite books ever. But it makes it that much sweeter knowing you enjoyed this so much. I am going to have to mentally prepare myself for the ending. And maybe i'll read a fluff book afterwards :)

    Nicole @ The Quiet Concert


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