What we have here is some pretty classic YA for some pretty aggressive female YA readers. And at the same, we don’t.
Pretty confusing, isn’t it? So is this book.
Ember Pierce is a teen girl who has an unusual ability. She can teleport herself to anywhere in the world. The only catch is that she only has ten minutes in her new location before she is automatically brought back to where she left from. She’s tried to keep it a secret, but somehow someone has found her out and now she’s being brought, by force, to a government facility in the middle of nowhere to train her. It seems she’s not alone with this ability and now she’s being paired with another young student. This other person is Caden Hawthorne and he’s the person who caught Ember and brought her to the facility, by force, against her will.
Caden, being Ember’s “pair” (a term that is very specific here), is responsible for getting her up to speed on what the facility is doing, and he will walk in on her while she’s sleeping, naked, and just stare and leer at her body. Ember also later learns a dark secret about the teleporting program – the Pairs are intentionally male/female with the hope that they will become physical and produce babies with teleporting power. This sets Ember off and she becomes even more determined to get away from this madhouse. But of course Caden is darn handsome and despite her despising everything about him, Ember falls madly in love with the cocky pervert, ultimately losing her virginity to him and trusting him even when everything inside her screams that she shouldn’t.
What can I say about this? The presentation of a determined girl (great!) who gives in to a creeping asshole just because he looks good naked is a HORRIBLE message to be sending. It might be okay if things fall apart and there’s a lesson to be learned from this mistake, but that’s not the case here in book one!
The basic concept … the teleporting, the government conspiracy, training of teens to become agents, blah blah blah, is all pretty standard but well conceived and Thalassa’s writing is smooth and easy to get into.
I just absoluting don’t understand how Ember – who is portrayed so well, so determined and talented, succumbs to raw sex with someone who is never portrayed as anything other than a jerk. Seriously. There are no redeeming qualities about Caden. Anytime he’s about to be portrayed as kind-hearted or caring, Thalassa quickly reminds us that he’s not that at all.
I wanted to like this based on the concept, but the character motivation and behavior absolutely dashed my hopes.
Looking for a good book? The Vanishing Girl by Laura Thalassa is a YA book that may appeal to teen girls with self-destructive behavior, but it’s not something to encourage.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Vanishing Girl
author: Laura Thalassa
series: The Vanishing Girl #1
publisher: Lavabrook Publishing Group
paperback, 338 pages