Saturday, February 18, 2012

Review-The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers

The Vanishing Game
by Kate Kae Myers
Available Now

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.

This is the only book I've ever read that actually terrified me and sent chills up my spine.  It only had one part that did that to me, but it was sufficiently creepy to have me pull the covers up and wish my husband wasn't on a business trip while I was reading it!  It happens in Seale House, the foster home that Jocelyn grew up in when she was younger. But it's been burnt down partially. It' not known by whom, but it's still accessible because Jocelyn is in the cellar of this creepy house when this part happens.  Personally after the descriptions of what went on in that house and the cellar and how afraid she still is of it, I wouldn't set foot anywhere near there, but she's looking for a message from her brother and she's desperate to find it.
So desperate, that she goes in there at dusk when some goth kids are in the house lighting a fire on the floor and sitting on some of the ancient furniture that wasn't  totally burnt down.

Jocelyn and Jack were twins and sent to live at Seale House when they ran away from home. Their mother was a lousy excuse for a human being much less a mother.  From the outside Seale House looks like salvation. From the inside, it's pure hell.  But Jocelyn and Jack learn how to navigate it with Noah's help.
All of the foster kids look out for one another, except for one, Corner Kid. That's all I'll say about him, but Myers has a way of writing, creepy, broken characters like no one I've read before and I have read about a lot of broken characters.  These kids are messed up from families that have abandoned or abused them and Seale house is not going to heal them. So, Noah, taking charge of everything, kind of runs the house and Jack and Jocelyn help, Jocelyn mothering when needed, the three standing up to and straightening out those kids that don't know the rules of foster kids.

The story is told through Jocelyn's sense of desperation about finding her brother. She's only 17 and has been told 2 weeks ago that her brother died. She's gotten a letter from "Jason December" and  only three people knew that name. Her brother, her and Noah. So she goes back to where Seale house is and finds Noah. There are flashbacks to the time the three were at Seale House together and then it goes back to present day.  The present day telling of the story is laced with danger as someone is out to kill either Noah or Jocelyn or both of them.  And they are searching all over the town for clues to what Jack, Jocelyn's brother is trying to tell them.

It's a pretty good story. I definitely did not see the last quarter of the story coming. Not at all. I didn't understand the weirdness that always seemed to follow Jocelyn. That was well written. But some of the explanations didn't add up. Like how Jack knew what was about to happen.  Maybe I'm not smart enough to figure all that out. And how Jocelyn got better at the end without help. People like that need help. Lots.
I think it belittled people who have that "situation," to make it sound so easy to get over.

The story dragged in places. I was actually bored with bits of it, but I never could put it down, because that thing that terrified me, kept making me read and I just had to find out what it was. In the end, I was a bit disappointed with the explanation. But it still scared me. Still does.

Myer writes a good mystery with lots of clues and good descriptions. Some of them were used more than once which made me notice, the sky was cloaked in gray clouds like a shawl, something to that effect but the shawl metaphor was used more than once. It was good that's why I noticed.  I got as tired as the characters of running around looking for clues, but just when I thought "Come on" something dramatic happened that piqued my interest again. And always, there was that monster that I had to get resolved so I could sleep. 

The ending is not tied up in a nice little bow. I guess the negatives would be that it dragged a little and was maybe a little too long. 

It's a clean read, maybe a bit of language but nothing other than that.

Heather

3 comments:

  1. I recently read a super rave review of this one and before that I hadn't really been that interested. The creep factor worries me but I guess if I do read it I'll be sure to NOT read it before bed.
    That's too bad it dragged a bit in parts. I've found I have zero patience with books so that's definitely not good. This is one I'm not rushing out to get but if I happen to stumble across it at the library I may pick it up.

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  2. I read a rave review somewhere too, but I just couldn't rave when the only thing making me keep going was to resolve the issue of what scared the bejeebees out of me. And you pretty much have to read all the way to the end. I just found myself getting frustrated and feeling like geez can't this just be over with. I don't usually feel like that about books I love. I wish GoodReads, Amazon and B&N would let you give a 3 1/2 b/c that's what I'd really rate this one.

    Heather

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sad that it dragged on, I hate that feeling. I do love when a book successfully creeps me out though!
    - Jessica @ Book Sake

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