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Monday, February 13, 2012

eARC Review: The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers

TITLE: The Vanishing Game    AUTHOR: Kate Kae Myers
PUB DATE: 2/14/12                  PUB: Bloomsbury
FORMAT: eARC                         SOURCE: NetGalley

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

THREE WORDS: Chilling, Surprising, Up-and-Down

MY REVIEW: Kate Kae Myers’ The Vanishing Game is a riveting read with a wicked dose of creepy and a mystery that is both compelling and a bit of a letdown.

Seventeen year old Jocelyn has just lost her twin brother and best friend Jack. Growing up, the two siblings relied on one another when dealing with a neglectful mother and abusive foster homes. Three weeks after Jack’s death, Jocelyn receives a letter from her brother and must return to Watertown and the Seale House, their former foster home that holds dark, haunting memories; and she must team up with her old friend Noah to uncover the mystery surrounding Jack’s maybe-not-death. The two soon find themselves surrounded by ghosts of their pasts, in more ways than one.

I was initially attracted to The Vanishing Game because of its intriguing and mysterious synopsis, and Myers definitely doesn’t skimp on the mystery or the intrigue throughout this book. I was definitely riveted from beginning to end.

The first few chapters are a bit disorienting and confusing, simply because we are placed right into the immediate action and mystery without any real backstory. Instead, Myers weaves the backstory throughout the present story through flashbacks. A technique that overall, works cohesively. And after the first three chapters or so, the storyline starts to come together and make sense.

The pacing is pretty balanced throughout, never moving too slow or too fast. The overall focus seems to shift however, creating a very up and down tone. And by that I mean the mystery and action elements and the romantic and emotional elements never really seem to balance each other out. While I enjoyed all these elements separately, I just don't think they harmonized well together.

The actual idea behind Jack’s mysterious death/disappearance, the clues left for Jocelyn and Noah to solve, and the darkness surrounding the Seale House and its former inhabitants is very original and smart. Myers has created a very complex and well thought-out storyline.

Our two main characters, Jocelyn and Noah, are likable and interesting, both as individuals and as a team. They are well-developed and have a great deal of depth. There are several important minor characters that add wonderful layers to the story, and I found them as equally fascinating as the two MC’s.

I really enjoyed the many genuine creepy and chilling moments, especially concerning the Seale House. Myers does a fantastic job of creating some spine-tingling scenes that will have you leaving the lights on.

There were quite a few twists and surprise revelations, especially the ending which, as the synopsis promises, is quite shocking. Yet, I was disappointed by this “shocking twist”. On the one hand this twist was unique and interesting, but on the other hand it almost felt too easy, even in its complexness. It just felt as if this revelation was chosen simply because of its shock value and not because it made a satisfying solution to the overall mystery. 

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Although I didn’t love the ending of this book, I greatly enjoyed the ride to get there. The Vanishing Game is an exciting story that will appeal to those readers who love an intelligent and chilling mystery.

3/5 Cupcakes

Find the author: Website / Goodreads / Facebook
Kate Kae Myers lives with her family in Boise, Idaho where she works for a local school district as a sign language interpreter. She invites you to visit her website where you can find her full bio, read a sample chapter from The Vanishing Game, follow her blog, and download Jack's

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