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.
Hardcover, 353 pages
Published February 14th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Four Stars: An exciting, thrilling page turning mystery that will keep you guessing until the final pages.
Jocelyn is still reeling from the death of her twin brother,Jack. Two weeks earlier, he perished in a car crash. Jocelyn is slowly trying to pick up the pieces, until an unexpected letter arrives in the mail. The letter is signed Jack December. An alias, her brother used as a kid when he left her clues for treasure hunts. Jocelyn drops everything and grabs onto the slim hope that somehow Jack is still alive. She quickly finds herself plunged into a exciting and dangerous hunt to solve the puzzle that hopefully leads to Jack. Unfortunately, the trail of clues starts at the one place she vowed never to return, Seale House. Seale House is her former foster care home, where she and Jack lived for a brief time when they were twelve. For the most part, her time there was horrible. She has blocked out her memories of many of the events that occurred while living under that dark roof. Now, she finds that in order to unravel the clues and find Jack, she must sort through her memories of the past. Her first step is to contact Noah, another former inhabitant of Seale House, who was once Jocelyn's and Jack's best friend. Will Noah help her after their unfortunate parting? Can she unravel the clues in time to find Jack?
What I Liked:
- If you are looking for a thrilling mystery novel that will keep you riveted, then I highly recommend you pick up The Vanishing Game. This book is an exciting page turner, filled with plenty of mystery, intrigue, twists and a bit of creepiness. The story will keep you engaged and guessing on the final outcome to the very last pages. Hang on for the ending, it packs a big surprising punch!
- I thoroughly enjoyed chasing down all the clues with Jocelyn and Noah. I was amazed at the creativity and ingenuity of many of the pieces of the puzzles, solving this mystery was not an easy feat for Jocelyn and Noah.
- I liked uncovering and understanding the keys to Jocelyn's past, especially when you get to the end and see how all the pieces fit.
- I appreciated the creepy aspects of the book. I wasn't sure if there were ghosts or some other kind of paranormal element. There are definitely some scenes in this book that are a bit scary, which adds to the overall mysterious theme of the book.
- This book is full of surprises. There are so many plot twists. This book is a page turner. You will keep reading just because you can't wait to see what happens next!
- I admired the characters of Jocelyn and Noah. Both of them showed remarkable courage and fortitude, in spite of the difficult burdens of their pasts. I liked watching the two rediscover and rekindle their old friendship.
- The ending. Wow! It certainly will surprise you. It has a bit of an Alfred Hitchcock type feel to it. Hold onto your butt! Those final pages will blow you away!
And The Not So Much:
- Following the trail of clues was definitely one of the highlights of the novel, but there were a couple of times I have to admit that they were a little far fetched. No matter, it was still lots of fun.
- This book employs flash backs to explain some of the occurrences in Jocelyn's past and how they connect to the puzzle. I liked the use of this technique but there were occasions when the insertion broke up the flow of the story.
- While I was astounded at the final revelations and the solving of the mystery, I can't say that I completely bought into the final explanations, such as the bite marks. It definitely stretched beyond believability. It was still a great twist though.
The Vanishing Game, is a terrific debut novel. If you are looking for a book that is exciting, thrilling and engaging, then you will love this one. Set aside some time to read it, because once you immerse into the mystery, you will find yourself reading fast and furiously to solve the mystery. Hang on for an astonishing finish, that may leave you scratching your head. Kate Kae Myers is an author to watch. I can't wait to see what else she has up her sleeve.
"Life is a series of shallow breaths. And in any breath, everything can change."
"Since then, everywhere I went the pain of losing him went with me. It wore me like a backpack, slapping a rhythm of heartache against my soul with each step."
"Shadows began to glide in and out of the windows like dark, filmy bats."
"The flames etched his face with flickering tattoos."
"During the last few years I'd tried to forget what it had been like when life took a group of frightened children through the looking-glass, into a world of lunacy."
"Hey, Captain Solo, I'm a big girl now and can handle myself outside the Millennium Falcon."
"Light-hearted, I began falling down the deep well of love. I hoped with all my heart that nothing happened to ruin it."
A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Bloomsbury USA Childrens via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.