The Vanishing Girl, by Laura Thalassa

This book has been on my Kindle awhile, and I’ve finally gotten around to reading it. I was intrigued by the premise—about a girl who teleports in the middle of the night and a government agency who wants to exploit her ability and those of teens like her. Oh, and then there was the added bonus of finally having a title that started with the letter V on the review list of my blog.

The book’s narrator is Ember Pierce. Her family has moved from place to place throughout her life, and after reaching puberty, she gains the ability to teleport every night for ten minutes, and then she returns to her bed. She never knows where she’s going to end up, and it only happens once a night when she’s asleep. She eventually learn that she was part of a government project of genetically advanced babies that were placed in the care of adoptive parents that would foster necessary skills to become—in essence—a spy.

She is eventually brought to a secret facility where there are other teens with the same ability. They go to school there, but they also learn combat and espionage strategies and techniques. There she is partnered with the handsome and cocky Caden Hawthorne. The teleporters work in pairs, always one male and one female unless one of them dies in a simulation, on a mission, or during a teleport gone bad.

I like Ember as a character. Her headspace was easy to occupy as she navigated the unfortunate scenario she found herself in. Her motives are always pretty clear, and I felt her reactions to teleporting to the different places were believable. Her character arc through the story is also well-handled; as she learns more about the nefarious side of the project (of course there’s a nefarious side), she wants to escape. After all, she was pretty much uprooted from her life and family, so I can’t really blame her.

And I like the general plot. I’m intrigued by the teleportation ability, though I will nitpick some of the mechanics of it. When Ember, Caden, and the others teleport somewhere, they often do so in clothes they weren’t wearing beforehand, yet they always return naked. I’m willing to suspend my disbelief with the teleportation, but this detail is harder for me to reconcile. It’s admittedly a little thing, but it irked me.

I was also put off by the amount of sex in the book and the description of it. The book was listed as Young Adult where I purchased it. I acknowledge that young adults have sex, and I have read YA books where the characters have sex, but it is usually implied with a fade to black. Maybe the beginning and afterward scenes are there, but usually not the climactic ones. I think it would be better marketed as NA (New Adult), where such scenes are more commonplace.

And on the subject of the climax of the book, I was disappointed. I know this is the first part of a series, so I went in expecting some things to go unresolved for later installments. For example, I don’t have a problem with the mystery subplot concerning Adrian—a person Ember encounters on several teleports, first with a note to kill him and later with his claim he’s going to help her—as these were some of the most interesting parts of the book. But I expect some closure within each part of a series—some self-contained character or story arc that does get wrapped up with hints, teases, or questions for the overall plot. Here, I didn’t get that. The cliffhanger is the climax of this part’s character arc. It’s a heck of a cliffhanger, I’ll tell you that, but there’s a little too much left hanging without giving enough answers.

So while I appreciate the craft that went into this book and the story it’s trying to tell, the elements that I didn’t like caused some of the rating I’ll give it to vanish. Thus, I give The Vanishing Girl THREE AND A HALF STARS.

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The Vanishing Girl is available at Amazon.

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