Book Review: The Vanishing Game

11873007Title: The Vanishing Game
Author: Kate Kae Meyers
Genre: Thriller, YA, Supernatural
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: February 14th 2012
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Review copy provided by the publisher through Netgalley.

Seventeen-year-old Jocelyn follows clues apparently from her dead twin, Jack, in and around Seale House, the terrifying foster home where they once lived. With help from childhood friend Noah she begins to uncover the truth about Jack’s death and the company that employed him and Noah.

Jocelyn’s twin brother Jack was the only family she had growing up in a world of foster homes-and now he’s dead, and she has nothing. Then she gets a cryptic letter from “Jason December”-the code name her brother used to use when they were children at Seale House, a terrifying foster home that they believed had dark powers. Only one other person knows about Jason December: Noah, Jocelyn’s childhood crush and their only real friend among the troubled children at Seale House.

But when Jocelyn returns to Seale House and the city where she last saw Noah, she gets more than she bargained for. Turns out the house’s powers weren’t just a figment of a childish imagination. And someone is following Jocelyn. Is Jack still alive? And if he is, what kind of trouble is he in? The answer is revealed in a shocking twist that turns this story on its head and will send readers straight back to page 1 to read the book in a whole new light.

The Vanishing Game left me with mixed feelings. I enjoyed the premise of the story, and for most parts the writing and characterization were all right as well, but the book lost me halfway through. The pace was too slow, the writing a bit too erratic and the characters lacked depth and mystery. The mystery, which is the main part of this book, wasn’t that mysterious to me at all. The author does an admirable job waving in mystery with the other elements of the book, but the clues left were a bit too straightforward for my liking, and sometimes I hit myself over the head when the main characters, Jocelyn and Noah, couldn’t find it out.

The book has a few twists and turns, and some supernatural elements, but nothing too out of the ordinary. I thought it was very clever how the author had waved together the action and the background story. It never felt like info dump, not even when the characters revisited their past and talked about it. Jocelyn was an interesting character, but the one who truly shone was Noah. I liked him a lot, and wished more of the story had been told from his POV as opposed to Jocelyn’s.

I thought The Vanishing Game would be creepier than it actually was. There were some scary scenes, but nothing bad enough to make me bite my nails and curl under my blanket to cry.

I’m normally all for supernatural/paranormal, but in this case, it just doesn’t work. It had a good start at the beginning, but halfway through the book lost all its footings. I think this book would’ve been better off without the supernatural elements, and without the creepiness that didn’t deliver. The story of Jocey and Noah following Jack’s clue was intriguing enough. Sometimes I also felt like explenations were thrown out at random, and they left me going ‘whaaaaat’. But I can forgive those. The story was decent enough, and the characters interesting enough. Recommended if you want a quick mystery read, but don’t expect the next big thing.

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