Review: RULES FOR VANISHING by Kate Alice Marshall (2019)

Rating: 5/5 stars
Genre: Young Adult Horror
Year Release: 2019
Source: Library audiobook

Listened to the audiobook
Content warnings: Missing teens, some gore, family violence, mention of suicide

A few of my friends had read this book and since it’s officially spooky season, I am so excited to have this be my first read of October. Sara’s adopted sister Becca disappears and a year later, Sara and her groups of friends receive a text invite to “play the game” which involves going down haunted roads and solving puzzles. What comes next are the terrors of the woods, sordid history, and questioning the bonds that keep us together.

I really liked the focus on reliability as it relates to friendship in this novel. There were many blood-curdling scares and many moments where neither the reader nor the characters know exactly what reality has morphed into. Adherence to rules matters, but what really determines survival is trust. And with Sara having withdrawn from her friends due to her sister’s disappearance, that trust is fragmented from the start, which dials up the tension.

In addition to the storyline of the quest to find Becca by finding Lucy Gallows, there are segments which take place later. These are told in multi-media, which gives this novel a very Blair Witch Project feel. I found effective, especially when it throws a wrench in the reader’s understanding of the relationships and situations in the linear timeline. The ending is absolutely harrowing and makes phenomenal use of photo descriptions, texts, and other supplemental materials.

No one had told me before reading, but Sara is bisexual and one of her friends is a lesbian. The character development in general is great. The characters are complicated, and it was hard to predict who would be next to fall.

It’s Silent Hill meets The Blair Witch Project in this queer YA horror that had me genuinely spooked.

October 2020 TBR

Doing something a little different this month: posting about books I recently acquired or have some kind of deadline on reading.

As far as blog posts go, later this month, I’ll be posting about my second bout of burn-out. Riveting.

Continue reading

June 2020 TBR

I read most of May’s TBR. Check out this month’s reading list, trying to crunch through my ARCs and things that are in progress according to Goodreads. Things with a * are from last month’s TBR.

Hard Copies

  • Bent Heavens by Daniel Kraus*
  • The Deep by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes
  • The Never-Tilting World by Rin Chupeco*
  • Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke (ARC)*

Kindle

  • The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant (ARC)*
  • Flotsam (Peridot Shift #1) by R.J. Theodore*
    • In progress
  • The Glass Magician by Caroline Stevermer (ARC)*
  • Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (ARC)*
  • Ring Shout by P. Djeli Clark (ARC)
  • Seasons of the Storm by Elle Cosimano (ARC)
  • Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story by Ursula K. Le Guin*
  • A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown (ARC)

Audiobooks

  • Highfire by Eoin Colfer*
  • The Name of All Things (A Chorus of Dragons #2) by Jenn Lyons
  • Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall*
  • The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
  • Walk Among Us by Genevieve Gornichec, Cassandra Khaw, Caitlin Starling
  • White Tears by Hari Kunzru

In terms of other reads, I have a novel and a short story to beta read. My own work will continue marinating in the back of my head as I prepare for the rewrite.