Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... The Vanishing Game AND Hunger Games Trivia 5

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... The Vanishing Game AND Hunger Games Trivia 5

The Vanishing Game
By Kate Kae Myers
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
February 14, 2012

Source: library

Mature content: non-graphic depictions of child abuse

My summary: Jocelyn and her twin brother Jack survived a tough upbringing in a foster home called Seale House. Now a young adult, Jocelyn is getting her life back on track when Jack is killed. Reeling from her loss, Jocelyn is shocked and shaken when she gets a cryptic letter that seems to be from her dead brother. She immediately goes to visit Noah, another former resident of Seale House and now a co-worker of Jack's, to ask for his help. The situation becomes "curiouser and curiouser" as Jack leads Jocelyn and Noah on a merry chase with coded notes. But things aren't at all what they seem...

My thoughts: If you've heard about this book, you've probably heard about The Big Twist. Yes. I knew it was coming, but I didn't figure it out.

I often have mixed feelings about stories that rely heavily on The Twist, because the first 95% of the story can feel like set-up. Banking on The Twist can also be risky. Once the secret gets out (and it usually does) the effect is similar to attending a surprise party when the guest of honor isn't surprised: *cue sound of air leaking out of a balloon.*

That said, I did enjoy this book and I do recommend it to those who love codes, puzzles, and things that go bump in the night.  The author juggles a bunch of balls in the air, plot-wise. There are the mysterious notes from Jocelyn's brother, the flashbacks of the children's horrible past in Seale House, and a sub-plot about computer espionage. There are parts that made me wonder if Jocelyn is victim or villain, plus a tepid romance. But when I got to the end, I realized that most of these crosscutting subplots and flashbacks were needed to pull off The Twist.

I LOVE codes and cryptography and secret agent stuff. So that part of the book made me happy. Unfortunately, the codes in the book are meant for the characters; they don't allow much of a chance for the reader to match wits with Jack, Jocelyn and Noah.

In the end, I admire what Kate Kae Myers was able to pull off. I always root for an author who takes a risk, rather than relying on safe and familiar tropes, and The Vanishing Game is a refreshingly different addition to the YA genre.  If you love to be surprised, you should definitely add The Vanishing Game to your TBR -- but beware of spoilers!

Now ...  Hunger Games Trivia 5

If you haven't heard, my blogging friend Shanan the Book Addict and I are co-hosting a Hunger Games trivia and giveaway in honor of the film's March 23 release.  Our giveaways run from March 3-March 16. Answering a question -- right or wrong -- gives you a chance to win some great Hunger Games themed prizes. Here's today's question:

After the gong sounds and the Games begin, the tributes run to grab supplies from the Cornucopia. Which of these items does Katniss grab and then drop after a tussle with another tribute?


a) a water bottle
b) a sheet of plastic
c) a loaf of bread
d) a backpack

To enter your answer, remember that today's question is number 5, then go here:

To enter Shanan's giveaway, click here.

17 comments:

  1. Great review! I really want to read this book. It sounds just like my type of read. I have heard awesome things about it. I'm lucky I have not come across any spoilers.

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    1. I'm so glad! That's what I try to do with my reviews: help you decide whether the book is for you. In the end, it really doesn't matter if I like a book or not.
      The twist is pretty cool. Now I'm like, duh, how did I not pick up on that??

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  2. I've had my eye on this book, and I haven't heard any spoilers yet!

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    1. Good! Keep your eyes and ears covered until you read it!

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  3. I've been wanting to read this ever since I saw it on Goodreads last year. It sounds so good! Luckily I haven't been spoiled yet - and I'm pretty careful to make sure I'm not spoiled with anything - I like to go into a book almost completely blind. So thanks so much for the spoiler-free review!

    And I love codes and stuff like that, but it is kind of disappointing that the readers can't really figure out the codes themselves. Darn!

    Great review (as always!), and I'm ready to read this one! (Oh, and I LOLed when you said "*cue sound of air leaking out of a balloon.*") ;)

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    1. Let me know your thoughts after you read it!!

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  4. I've wanted to read this book since I first saw the cover. I've had it for awhile but haven't gotten to it yet, but maybe I should read it soon because I hate when I find out what happens before I read a book.

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    1. I haven't seen any reviews with spoilers yet!

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  5. This is a hard question! The cover of the book The Vanishing Game looks creepy!

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  6. This definitely sounds like a unique book to read. Like a spooky scavenger hunt with the codes and notes from a dead brother. The cover alone adds a whole level of creepiness, in an awesome way. Definitely putting this into my TBR list.

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    1. Love scavenger hunts (they're right up there with trivia for me). I've designed them for parties. Ooh -- new blogging idea.

      Yes, definitely put this on your list!

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  7. I love the cover of this book but I didn't enjoy the book as much as I had hoped for :\ and I scare really really easily!

    I loved the chasing part but I felt like The Big Twist ruined the ending :\

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