Thursday, July 12, 2012
The Vanishing Game
14 February 2012, Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Jocelyn is reeling from the death of her twin brother, Jack, in a car accident. After years of abuse at the hands of their promiscuous mother and her boyfriends, and then in an evil foster home, they were finally happy and pursuing activities that they both enjoyed. When Jocelyn gets a cryptic letter that she believes is from her brother, she assumes he is alive and goes back to Seale House to try to find him. She encounters Noah, who was also in the abusive foster home with her and was best friends with Jack, and also worked with him on computer programming for a security company. Jocelyn has no luck at all-- her car is stolen with all her paperwork, she is attacked when she goes back to Seale House, and she is dealing with both the demons of her past and someone in the present who doesn't want her to find out what is going on. With Noah's help, she manages to revisit many sites from her childhood and start to come to terms with Jack's death, as well as her feelings for Noah. Just when everything seems to be coming to a conclusion, however, a shocking twist makes us question everything we have learned.
Strengths: Good creepy cover, nice romance with Noah, and oddly, the scenes of child abuse will make this a good choice in February, for 7th grade girls who all suddenly want to read depressing books.
Weaknesses: A few mentions of sex and misconduct by the mother; nothing awful. The twist at the end was effective but one which I don't care for (similar to Alphin's Picture Perfect or Springer's Possessing Jesse.) This feels more like a Young Adult book, but since I got a hard cover copy at a book look, I'll probably go ahead and put it in the library and see if it circulates.