September 24, 2019

Review: Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall

Rules for Vanishing
Author: Kate Alice Marshall
Genre: YA Thriller/Horror
Release Date: September 24, 2019 
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers


In the faux-documentary style of The Blair Witch Project comes the campfire story of a missing girl, a vengeful ghost, and the girl who is determined to find her sister--at all costs.

Once a year, the path appears in the forest and Lucy Gallows beckons. Who is brave enough to find her--and who won't make it out of the woods?

It's been exactly one year since Sara's sister, Becca, disappeared, and high school life has far from settled back to normal. With her sister gone, Sara doesn't know whether her former friends no longer like her...or are scared of her, and the days of eating alone at lunch have started to blend together. When a mysterious text message invites Sara and her estranged friends to "play the game" and find local ghost legend Lucy Gallows, Sara is sure this is the only way to find Becca--before she's lost forever. And even though she's hardly spoken with them for a year, Sara finds herself deep in the darkness of the forest, her friends--and their cameras--following her down the path. Together, they will have to draw on all of their strengths to survive. The road is rarely forgiving, and no one will be the same on the other side.

Rules for Vanishing has been one of my most anticipated titles for this year. Ever since I read the description for it - which seems like forever ago - I knew that I had to get my hands on it. There isn't nearly enough YA Horror out there, which happens to be one of my favorite genres - and I'm so glad that the author chose to go that route with this book. Honestly, I loved every single thing about this novel from characters to urban legends about Lucy to setting and the plot. There's nothing I would change, which is rarely something I can say. One of the huge positives for me was that the book was written in the epistolary form. When the description said it was done in a "faux-documentary style" like The Blair Witch Project, I honestly had no idea what to expect. When I started reading and discovered it was basically a story told in epistolary form, I got ridiculously excited. An epistolary is a book that contains other documents to create the story like letters, texts, interviews, phone conversations, interrogations, official reports, etc. This is probably one of my favorite writing styles and I don't think there are nearly enough of them out there (YA or adult). So I was incredibly excited when I saw how the book was written.
I don't do spoilers in my reviews, so I basically can't tell you anything more about the plot than the description did without giving something away. It's a crazy story with lots of freaky stuff and lots of twists and turns you don't see coming. In short - it was absolutely amazing and I loved every second of it. We have a whole cast of major characters with one main character, Sara. Sara's incredibly realistic and I connected with her right from the beginning. She believes that her sister, Becca, played "the game" and was taken by Lucy. She basically obsesses over what happened, how she could've stopped it, and what she can do to find Becca and bring her back home. She's become depressed and closed off from everyone including her family and her friends. She has some great qualities that we get to see. She's brave, smart, strong, loving, loyal, tenacious and highly determined. The secondary characters are made up mostly of Sara's friends (who were Becca's friends too). They're all well rounded with distinctive personalities and flaws to make them seem realistic. Each plays their part in the story and like the saying goes - you need all of them to play.
I'm so happy to say that this book turned out to be even better than I had hoped. Everything was perfect and I don't think I would change a single thing (except somehow making it longer). This is definitely one of my favorite books I've read this year and I can't recommend it strongly enough. Definitely for fans of YA, horror, thriller, mystery, paranormal, and contemporary. 

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