Review: How to Disappear by Ann Redisch Stampler
Author: Ann Redisch Stampler
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: June 14, 2016
Format/Source: eARC/From publisher via Edelweiss
Age Group/Genre: Young Adult/Mystery, Thriller
This electric cross-country thriller follows the game of cat and mouse between a girl on the run from a murder she witnessed—or committed?—and the boy who’s sent to kill her.
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. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way for this review.
I’ve been really into mysteries and thrillers lately, so overall I really enjoyed How to Disappear. I was confused a lot, but maybe that’s just because it was a mystery and little pieces of information were given here and there, so that things I previously thought I knew ended up not being correct.
I was pleasantly surprised that certain things happened quicker than I thought they would, which meant that the rest of the story was, excuse the pun, a mystery to me. I love that! I mean, I am the kind of person who has tons of theories while reading, and I love having those theories, whether they come true or not, but I also like it when I expect a book to do one thing and it does something else. Unless, of course, the “something else” is a cliche or something expected or just uncool. But that wasn’t the case with How to Disappear. There were a few theories I had that I thought would make the book even cooler, but they didn’t happen and that’s okay, because some pretty cool things ended up happening that I hadn’t thought of. And now I’m not making any sense.
There were some other times where I was confused. Not just with the mystery aspect, but with the writing. Sometimes I couldn’t tell whether the characters were being literal or not, which was pretty confusing at times. I did read the ARC, though, so there’s a possibility this was cleared up in the finalized version. But I liked the mystery, and there were some pretty good twists. And I thought that Stampler did a good job with the dual narrators, giving them each their own unique voice.
A note for parents who might want to know if this book is okay for their younger children: there’s a pretty explicit sex scene (at least, there was in the ARC).
Ann Redisch Stampler gets some of my Bonus Points for the following reasons:
- A Star Wars reference (50,000 points)
- Mentioning a praying mantis (50,000 points)
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