ARC Review: Vanished

VanishedVanished by E.E. Cooper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Friendship. Obsession. Deception. Love.

Kalah knows better than to fall for Beth Taylor . . . but that doesn’t stop her from falling hard and falling fast, heart first into a sea of complications.

Then Beth vanishes. She skips town on her eighteenth birthday, leaving behind a flurry of rumors and a string of broken hearts. Not even Beth’s best friend, Britney, knows where she went. Beth didn’t even tell Kalah good-bye.

One of the rumors links Beth to Britney’s boyfriend, and Kalah doesn’t want to believe the betrayal. But Brit clearly believes it—and before Kalah can sort out the truth, Britney is dead.

When Beth finally reaches out to Kalah in the wake of Brit’s suicide, Kalah wants to trust what Beth tells her. But she’s swiftly realizing that nothing here is as it seems. Kalah’s caught in the middle of a deadly psychological game, and only she can untangle the deceptions and lies to reveal the unthinkable truth.

Vanished is a wonderfully crafted mystery that keeps pulling you in and on your toes throughout. The story starts out simple -three best friends, and our protagonist, Kalah, was the third one to add to the dynamic duo. She is younger than the two other girls – Beth and Brit, and while she feels a bit left out from much of their shared history, she is also secure in the knowledge that they both like her enough despite it. This story revolves around the dynamics of their friendship and the idea that perception, not the truth, determines reality.

While the mystery is definitely the selling point of the book, we have a great narrative being set up by virtue of our protagonist Kalah. She has a past history of mental illness; anxiety is her enemy but is also what is making her see beyond. Not to romanticize it, but she has a sharp mind that worries even when not needed. Her relationship with Zach and Beth pull at her; she loves them both, but strongly for the latter, and so feels guilty over the way she is treating the former. She is bisexual but there is no gay panic over it; it is treated normally like how you would treat a person cheating on one with another. Hiding behind her lie means she can’t really come out with her suspicions immediately, and that’s how involved the character design is in the plot progression. I really don’t want to give the details of the actual mystery away, so all I’ll say is that the ending was a teensy bit out of the normal, because I don’t see the police not investigating that! Nevertheless, the story, and the book overall, make for a very engaging read.

Received a free galley from Katherine Tegen Books via Edelweiss.

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