ARC Review: How to Disappear

How to Disappear
How to Disappear by Ann Redisch Stampler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Release date: June 14, 2016

Nicolette Holland is the girl everyone likes. Up for adventure. Loyal to a fault. And she’s pretty sure she can get away with anything…until a young woman is brutally murdered in the woods near Nicolette’s house. Which is why she has to disappear.

Jack Manx has always been the stand-up guy with the killer last name. But straight A’s and athletic trophies can’t make people forget that his father was a hit man and his brother is doing time for armed assault. Just when Jack is about to graduate from his Las Vegas high school and head east for college, his brother pulls him into the family business with inescapable instructions: find this ruthless Nicolette Holland and get rid of her. Or else Jack and everyone he loves will pay the price.

As Nicolette and Jack race to outsmart each other, tensions—and attractions—run high. Told in alternating voices, this tightly plotted mystery and tense love story challenges our assumptions about right and wrong, guilt and innocence, truth and lies.

A girl who is on the run and the guy sent to hunt her down – you can see where this is going. They are going to meet, fall in love and that big thing about him being sent to hunt her down will be the obstacle in their relationship. He will try to save her instead, but she feels betrayed – cue the angst. Yes, it hit some of my expected tropes, but it was also an entertaining read, made so by Nicolle, who is an enigmatic and effervescent protagonist. She seems like she is all fire and impulse, but the girl is smart – she figures out how to hide, how to evade and only lets her guard down when approached by a hot guy in a seemingly innocuous situation.

Despite being on the run and knowing she will be a fugitive for the foreseeable part of the future, she lets herself have something with him. All this while, she has been crossing over any moral lines she had for herself – stealing, breaking, and cheating to stay alive but when he enters her life, she is ready to feel something other than plain survival. For his part, Jack is doing it so save his family, and he has been told that she is a murderer who has to be dealt with quietly. He doesn’t count on finding a hot-headed, but good-hearted girl. There is still that shadow of doubt, but when he decides that he doesn’t want to be his father, that’s where the pace of the story changes. Now, they team up and plan out their next step, and not to spoil anything, but Nicollete is devious. I mean, that last chapter was unexpected, even for me, and explained so much of the inconsistencies I felt was lurking in the first half of the plot. It is a fast-paced read, and it takes a bit of time to get used to the Nicollete’s voice, as it is filled with details and you have to re-read sentences to not miss the subtext. Overall, a little cliche, but an entertaining contemporary with little surprises sprinkled throughout.

Received a free galley from Simon Pulse, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.

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