Published 2011 by Harper Teen
Vanish had just the right combination of readable writing style, zero plot, and hate-able characters to be incredible entertaining to rant about. If you're going to read it, make a friend read it with you so you can vent your frustration together.
In order to write this review, I had to translate my definitely-not-appropriate-for-a-review comments from reading Vanish with some friends into coherent and (semi-)professional statements. And it was not easy. Much as I wanted to like this book, because the draki are quite an interesting and original concept and Sophie Jordan's writing style makes for a quick and easy read, my utter contempt for every one of the characters ruined any chance this book had for success.
Jacinda, our incredibly selfish main character, drove me insane. She was whiny, wishy-washy, useless, needy, and every other unfortunate trait of YA heroines without any of the good qualities that might make up for it. She spent the entire book (and the last one too) wanting to be somewhere she wasn't or have something she didn't, and as soon as she got what she wanted, she started complaining again about how she wanted to be back where she was before! Somehow she just sort of stumbled into decisions and then convinced herself that they were the right choices. Then, later, she tripped into the opposite decisions and rationalized those choices. And on top of that, she treated both of the boys who loved her like crap on the bottom of her shoe. She had no sympathy or compassion or anything for Cassian no matter what he did, except, oh, when she randomly decided to make out with him.
Poor Cassian. Not that I actually liked him, but it just doesn't seem necessary for him to be so hurt by the obligatory YA paranormal love triangle. I don't like love triangles, and I especially don't like them when the heroine seems determined to be as cruel as possible to everyone involved and then act like it's not her fault. Will, Jacinda's actual True Love For Ever And Ever, was barely present in this book (which, as I alluded to earlier, meant that Jacinda moaned approximately every other page about how she wished Will were there, only she couldn't have him, only she just had to be with him, only...etc.).
Unfortunately, Jacinda wasn't the only awful character. Her mom, who was not exactly a favorite in Firelight, suddenly experienced a complete transformation into a distracted alcoholic, which was neither necessary nor helpful in any way. Tamra, who actually had the potential to be interesting, was noticeable mainly in her absence.
On top of all that, there was very little actual plot in this novel, as it served almost entirely as a bridge to cross from book 1 to book 3, which only meant more emphasis on Jacinda's whining and vacillation. The lack of real story meant that every little problem Jacinda ran into was blown way out of proportion and the blame unconvincingly laid at anyone else's feet. The plot of this book could have been mercifully fit into a much shorter story, but instead we got stuck with Vanish.
So after all that, you probably think I hated this book. Well, okay, I kind of did, but it's a fun hate. Have you ever watched a really awful movie just to make fun of how ridiculous it is? Reading Vanish was a little bit like that. I don't regret reading this book at all because I had so much fun ranting about it on GR with my friends, several of whom shared my opinion. If you read this book, I definitely recommend an outlet for the occasional frustrated rant. If you don't have an outlet, I don't think I'd recommend it, though. There's just too much irritation here to be contained by one person.
Rating: Love to hate it. Yes, I made it up just for this book.
Vanish is similar to:
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand