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The Moment Collector

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A haunting mystery, romance in the vein of The Lovely Bones by New York Times bestselling author.

"The yard of this house is a graveyard of moments and everything left behind is a clue. And I am here to dig."

There's a ghost haunting 208 Water Street. She doesn't know who she was, or why she's still here. She does know that she is drawn to Maggie, the new girl in town, and her friends - beautiful, carefree Pauline and Liam, the boy who loves her.

But the ghost isn't all that's lurking in Gill Creek... Someone is killing young girls all across the county. Can the ghost keep these three friends safe? Or does she have another purpose?

256 pages, Paperback

First published July 1, 2014

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About the author

Jodi Lynn Anderson

26 books1,667 followers
I write strange and mythical stories about young people.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 859 reviews
April 2, 2014
This is such a beautifully written book, but it is not a ghost story. This book is not for everyone. Do not expect anything creepy here.

There is a wonderfully mature main character, loveable side characters, believably flawed characters, with amazing relationships. It has the most believable, well-drawn love triangles I have ever read. I fully confess to enjoying this love triangle---and for me, that happens roughly every time Mars and Jupiter aligns.

But this is not a ghost story. It is not a mystery.

It is a contemporary romance which takes place in a small town. Nothing happens in this book. It is a book about a girl and her first foray into romance. It is a really, really well-written book.

It's just not a ghost story like I expected.

Despite the fact that there are girls going missing, getting murdered, there was absolutely nothing remotely scary about this book. If I were to estimate, I'd say that the mentions of the missing girl, the "ghost," takes up about 5% of this book. It was hardly worth mentioning, and I can't imagine why the heck the publisher chose to promote this book as a ghost story when it was so clearly not.

The Summary:
I’m part of this house, and the residents can hear me in their sleep. I rattle the dishes and creak along the floors in the dark.

The house breathes while the town is dark, but there is no one here to answer me. I’m the definition of alone.
Gill Creek is haunted by the most quiet, lonely ghost in the history of the world.

But Maggie doesn't know that. She has newly relocated here with her family, a victim of the recession. Her mother has lost her job, and they can no longer afford to live in Chicago. So the family uproots themselves to Gill Creek, to a house that's described as "rustic" but is more appropriately described as a utter wreck. It's a sad situation, but Maggie takes it in well. She has always been a good daughter, a good girl.
Her mom always said she was the world’s only teenager who never complained about anything.
The day they moved in, the newspaper headlines announced a girl's death. The first of many.
The girl had been found drowned in the lake, floating facedown with no signs of struggle, and the police were trying to figure out whether it was a suicide, an accident, or something more sinister.
Maggie meets new friends, the stunningly beautiful, genuinely nice Pauline, and her childhood friend, sweet, gentle Liam. Both Pauline and Liam are outcasts in their own way, but they invite Maggie into their duo. Maggie feels a stirring for Liam, but she knows it is a hopeless crush. Liam has been in love with Pauline since they were practically toddlers.
“What are your issues?”
“Loving an unattainable girl my entire life,” Liam said easily, without hesitation. “Who does that?” He didn’t sound embarrassed.
The "ghost" watches the teens, and the town; always an observer, never a participant.
Over the amusement park, I watch the watcher.
The cellar pulls me toward home.
I check on the teenagers on Water Street, asleep in their beds.
More girls are being killed, but it doesn't affect Liam, Pauline, or Maggie. Their parents just want them to be more careful. As the year comes to a close, the tension between the three escalate. Pauline knows Liam loves her, but she is not the type to fall in love. Maggie is falling hard for Liam, but his heart is steadfast. Will Liam be able to move on and look beyond the girl he cannot have?
"I can’t help feeling how I feel. I’m kind of a one-girl guy. I can’t help it; it’s like a curse, really. My dad was the same way, even though my mom didn’t stick around.”
Will Maggie, always the good girl, finally stand up for what she wants, to take a chance at life and love? Or will Pauline finally realize that she wants what's been there all along?
She had her hands rested on the dash, knuckle side down, palms open, as if asking for something or begging or as if something had been taken out of her hands.
Girls are still dying in Gill Creek. A shadow is always watching.

The Plot: As slow as molasses. I can tolerate that, for the beautiful writing, but the point is that nothing happens in this book. It is a romance, a coming-of-age. Nothing more than that.

The Characters: Ah, now the good. The characters and relationships are beautifully written.

Maggie: The type of main character I love. She is quiet, she is calm, she is rational. A wonderful daughter. She is so concerned about her parents, so worried about not being troublesome to them. She loves her parents, and she never wants to hurt them. She wants to take care of herself, so her parents would worry less. Maggie is the perfect daughter.
She had to do better, she knew. She had to take care of her parents just like they’d always taken care of her.
Maggie is someone who always think things through, be it romance or everything else in life. She is not nicknamed "Saint Margaret" by her old school friends without a reason.
Maggie was no saint—it was just that her friends pretended sex wasn’t complicated. Maggie wasn’t ever going to walk into anything with her eyes closed, even if all her friends were jumping in with both feet. Still, she wanted things other people wanted. She just carefully wanted them.
Maggie is a quiet fire, a fire that starts to burn when the catalyst---Liam comes into the picture.

Liam: A true gentleman.
“Do you do whatever Pauline asks you?” Maggie asked, teasing, a little touched by his devotion. It seemed old-fashioned—not like the way modern boys were.
Liam frowned thoughtfully. “I can’t help it. My dad taught me that’s what guys are supposed to do. If a girl wants something, you’re supposed to do whatever you can to give it to her."
He is a sweetheart. Completely devoted to Pauline since they were five years old. He remembers the first time he and Pauline met---he was eating baby carrots. Pauline is his life, his love, his best friend. His love for her is not a secret. And even though he is fully devoted to him, the carefree, beautiful, capricious Pauline refuses to acknowledge it.

Pauline:
Pauline, who wore everything on her sleeve, couldn’t recognize that some people had feelings that were deep and as still as glass.
In so many books, stunningly beautiful girls are portrayed as shallowly vicious bitches. I am so happy that this is not the case with Pauline. Pauline is rich, beautiful, loved by everyone. She is not a bitch in the least. She is sweet, nice, a wonderful friend. Pauline is spoiled, undoubtedly, because she is beautiful, but she is never intentionally cruel.
Maggie was used to girls like Pauline—strikingly beautiful girls—being a little aloof. Pauline was the opposite; she came across as sweet, eager, and a little lonely.
Despite her model-like appearance, Pauline has a loud, screechy laugh. Her moments of selfishness is more of childlike naiveté than anything intentionally malicious. Her relationship with Liam is incredibly complicated, and one of the things I loved most about this book.

The Romance:
“I’m not into anyone that way. I don’t know. I just, I don’t see why everyone has to pair off and fall in love and everything anyway. Why can’t we just stay the way we are?”
This is a story about learning how to love, and about growing up.

I truly loved the love triangle in this book. You guys know I hate love triangles, and it is a remarkable thing that Ms. Anderson has done to make me love the guesswork of the love triangle here. The characters are so real, their emotions so true, and I found the triangle completely understandable, and a part of their personal growth.
In the dim light from the hall, Liam walked over to the bed and laid Pauline down in it, first pulling back the covers and then bending to drape her on the bed. He pulled the blankets all the way back up to her chin, and Pauline’s eyes fluttered for a moment and then closed again. Liam touched his hand to her hair and kissed her on the forehead, and Maggie felt her heart beat faster, as if she were seeing something she shouldn’t.
The relationship, the history, the emotion behind Liam and Pauline's relationship is just remarkable. It is so complex. Her unintentionally callous dismissal and acceptance of his love, and his almost blind devotion. It is an unrequited love based on a lifetime of friendship, and seeing it from interloper Maggie's point of view makes it even more remarkable.

I love how Maggie developed through the love triangle. I love seeing how she grew, from someone almost asexual, to someone who realizes that she wants someone. Her usually calm exterior grows into something approaching fierce, into jealousy. A normally calm, gentle girl grown fierce by the fierce crush of first love.
She wondered, with building rage, if Pauline would get everything she wanted her whole life—Liam, the dress, jobs, whatever—because she was beautiful and rich. She wondered, maliciously, if Liam would even love Pauline if it weren’t for her looks. If Pauline were ugly, would Liam have left Maggie? She clung tightly and bitterly to the thought.
I truly feel like the love triangle is one of the best things about this book.

Recommended, with reservations. It is a beautiful book. It's just not a ghost story.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,921 reviews290k followers
April 14, 2014
"This is no place for anyone with a heart."

The Moment Collector, or The Vanishing Season as it is also called in an alternate edition, is one of the coldest, loneliest books I have ever read. Anderson seems to love themes about outsiders, isolation, growing up and not always getting what we'd hoped for - she's already responsible for breaking my heart with the vicious but quiet Tiger Lily, and she returns once more to tell a tale about three friends and the ghost who observes them from afar.

I said forever ago that the song Peter by Daughter perfectly fit with Anderson's Tiger Lily. Well, if that book was a song by Daughter, then this one is their entire debut album. Some of these lyrics are so perfect for the book, all cold loneliness:

Drifting apart like two sheets of ice, my love
Frozen hearts growing colder with time [...]
Oh, winter comes
Oh, winter crush all of the things that I once loved.
- Winter

Two feet standing on a principle
Two hands digging in each others wounds
Cold smoke seeping out of colder throats
Darkness falling, leaves nowhere to move.
- Still

You only look into my eyes when I've been cryin'
to see if the tears that you have made are slowly dryin'
Oh, but even if they've dried, it don't mean that I'm feelin ok 'cause I'm still sad inside.
- Your Kisses

Did she make your heart beat faster than I could?
Did she give you what you hoped for?
Oh, nights of loveless love, I hope it made you feel good,
Knowing how much I adored you.
- Love

This may also be the highest rating I've ever given to a book where virtually nothing happens. Despite what it may appear to be, or what the blurb tells you... this book is not a paranormal ghost story. Nor is it a murder mystery. There is no fast-paced plot, and any drama is used to create a portrait of a realistic set of relationships rather than being a tool to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. It is, in fact, a slow-moving and beautifully-written character study. It's a coming-of-age story about love, friendship, loss, growing up and accepting what will never be. I don't consider it a spoiler to tell you that Anderson never delivers the ending the reader wants. She delivers a hard dose of reality - her books are about the things we have to face, the loves that don't work out.

"The living always think that monsters roar and gnash their teeth. But I've seen that real monsters can be friendly, they can smile and they can say please and thank you like everyone else. Real monsters can appear to be kind. Sometimes, they can be inside us."

There is a very interesting and complex relationship dynamic happening between the three main characters in this book and I found it fascinating and really, really sad. I like how well the author blurs the line between good and bad, making it possible for characters to act in ways I don't normally like and be bitter and jealous - but I still end up caring about them all. I feel like I must stress that this is very gentle, subdued novel and it won't work for many readers. But I think if you enjoy books simply about people and relationships, then you might just love this. As the book tells us:

"It's dangerous to be young."

In so many ways.
Profile Image for Sahil Javed.
258 reviews238 followers
January 14, 2021
The Vanishing Season follows Maggie, who moves to Door County and follows her story as she meets and befriends her neighbour, Pauline. But then girls start to go missing, one by one, and nobody knows who is behind it.
“How do you know when you give too much or too little to someone else?” she asked tentatively. “Like, how do you figure out how to love people, but then, not get… you know… walked on? How do people figure that out?”

Her mom thought for a while. “I think there probably aren’t many people who have it figured out perfectly. I guess it’s just little increments, always correcting this way or the other, like a seesaw. I don’t know if there’s any perfect balance between standing up for yourself and being generous.”

One thing everyone needs to know about Jodi Lynn Anderson’s books is that they’re not about what you think they’re about. Tiger Lily was not just a Peter Pan retelling, Midnight at the Electric was not just about a girl’s trip to Mars, and The Vanishing Season is not a ghost story, nor is it a mystery about the disappearance of several girls. It’s a story about friendship and betrayal, about learning how to love and the pains of growing up. At first look, it seems like a contemporary novel about a romance between three friends, but it’s so much more than that.
“The living always think that monsters roar and gnash their teeth. But I’ve seen that real monsters can be friendly; they can smile, and they can say please and thank you like everyone else. Real monsters can appear to be kind. Sometimes they can be inside us.”

This book follows Maggie as she meets the beautiful, carefree Pauline and her childhood friend Liam, who is also in love with her. The house Maggie lives in is haunted by a ghost, but then girls start to disappear in their town. The story starts from there. The story in this book wasn’t action-packed, not a lot actually happened, but I really loved this book. Did I love it more than Tiger Lily and Midnight at the Electric? No. But was it just as good as them? Yes. The way the storyline played out really shocked me because I didn’t see it coming, especially the way the romance played out and what happened to certain characters, but I should not have been as surprised as I was. The author has a habit of ending her books in the most heartbreaking way and I swear this book was no exception. It was emotional and painful and unfair and it really made me cry ugly tears.
“Maggie thought and then steeled her courage. “Pauline, why haven't you ever… you know? Liked Liam, like that?”

Pauline looked over at her thoughtfully. She lolled her head to the side, then fiddled with the visor. “I’m not into anyone that way. I don’t know. I just, I don’t see why everyone has to pair off and fall in love and everything anyway. Why can’t we just stay the way we are?”

The characterisation was absolutely perfect and I expected nothing less from Jodi Lynn Anderson. She has such a knack for creating such complex and believable characters that you just can’t help but root for. Every single character in this book captured my heart as soon as they were introduced but then they all broke it as well. There’s a love triangle between Maggie, Pauline and Liam, which I expected, but the way it plays out is so surprising, and the way it ends makes you want to hate Pauline and Liam, but I just couldn’t. Pauline is such a flawed character and there were so many times I wanted to shake her and tell her to pull herself together. Both her and Liam betrayed Maggie in the biggest way and my heart genuinely broke for Maggie, especially with the ending she got. But then I just couldn’t hate Liam and Pauline, no matter how selfish Pauline had been. I think that’s a testament to the strength of this author’s writing in that she can make you feel so much more these characters in such a short space of time.
“I know it sounds crazy, but I think I’m different from everyone else. Most people want to move forward, but not me. I just want to come home. I just wish I was little again.”

Overall, The Vanishing Season, just like every other book I’ve read by Jodi Lynn Anderson, broke my heart. It’s books like these that make me feel so much and it's why she is one of my absolute favourite authors of all time. Whenever she writes another book, I’ll be the first in line to buy it. I can’t recommend her enough.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews838 followers
August 8, 2014
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Rating: 1 star
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

Girls started vanishing in the fall, and now winter's come to lay a white sheet over the horror. Door County, it seems, is swallowing the young, right into its very dirt. From beneath the house on Water Street, I've watched the danger swell.

The residents know me as the noises in the house at night, the creaking on the stairs. I'm the reflection behind them in the glass, the feeling of fear in the cellar. I'm tied—it seems—to this house, this street, this town.

I'm tied to Maggie and Pauline, though I don't know why. I think it's because death is coming for one of them, or both.

All I know is that the present and the past are piling up, and I am here to dig. I am looking for the things that are buried.

From bestselling author Jodi Lynn Anderson comes a friendship story bound in snow and starlight, a haunting mystery of love, betrayal, redemption, and the moments that we leave behind.

What I Liked:

The writing style is excellent, probably the redeeming quality of this book. Not enough for me to bump up the rating though. Oh no no no, this book was just AWFUL.

What I Did Not Like:

I don't even know where to start. Maybe if I narrate what I did not like, it'll make it easier for me explain everything that I hated/disliked. I feel like I'll miss something or things. But, let's see. Nothing happens. There was no plot. I was bored the entire time. I was close to not finishing this book. There is a love triangle. There is a random narration point-of-view that was unnecessary. The protagonist is spineless. The ending was horrible. The premise - about missing girls - was so anticlimactic and barely present in the story. THERE WAS NOTHING TO THIS BOOK.

Nothing happens in this book. I was so disappointed by the lack of plot, it's unreal. The premise was so interesting and promising, about missing girls and whatnot. It sounded creepy and haunting, a combination that I don't read often, but I generally enjoy. But NOTHING HAPPENS. Maggie and her parents move to somewhere remote in Wisconsin (I think it's Wisconsin?), she becomes friends with Pauline, who is totally not in love with Liam. But Liam is in love with Pauline. Then he is in love with Maggie, and Maggie is in love with him. But then Pauline comes back from her vacation in Florida (or whatever), and gets jealous, and decides that she loves Liam. Of course he dumps Maggie for her.

You must be thinking, oh, so this book is a contemporary romance type of book? That's not necessarily a bad thing, right? WRONG. I just made it sound like things happen in this book, in terms of the romance, but UGH, it takes forever for any ONE THING to happen. This book moves at a snail's pace, and even still, it feels like nothing happens.

ESPECIALLY in terms of the missing girls premise.A total of four girls disappear, then an arrest is made, but of course it's not the right guy, but no one knows that. No one except the weird narrator, who is a dead ghost, mind you. We don't know who that ghost is until the end of the story. But anyway. The missing girls thing is NOT well-explored, or brought to the forefront of the story, like I thought it would/should be. No, everything is about Pauline.

Dang, I hate Pauline so much. She is so flighty and stuck-up and snobby and self-centered. I hate people that are so privileged, they never have to make up their mind for anything, they never have to want for anything, they always get what they want, even if that means stealing and crushing someone else's desires. Pauline takes away so much from Maggie, and yet, Maggie is still friends with Pauline.

Which leads me to my next point: I HATE THE PROTAGONIST. I hate Maggie so much. She is SPINELESS, with no backbone, whatever. It's like she doesn't feel, from beginning to end. At first, I thought she was a little like me, hardworking, with her school and future career in mind. But no, she's a doormat. She lets Pauline back into her life, time after time, no matter what Pauline does to her. Pauline and Liam get together as a couple, after Liam and Maggie get together, and yet, Maggie stills forgives them and hangs out with them. Forgive them? Maybeeee. Continue being friends with them? Both of them? Either of them? Hell to the no.

That narration that I mentioned? It's a dead person, a ghost, who lives in the house that Maggie lives in, so it can see what is going on in the house and around the town. The rest of the book is told in third-person past tense, limited to Maggie's perspective. So the narrator is supposed to give us holistic perspective, I think. Whatever. I thought it was pointless and unnecessary, and I didn't really understand its purpose. Even in the end, when everything was revealed, I didn't understand.

So, yeah, I was confused while reading, and after reading. Why was the missing girls plot not fleshed out? It didn't exist! Things didn't seem eerie and haunted in this book - no, the mood was flat. Everything seemed dry and boring, and I could care less. Usually I could fly through a less-than-three-hundred-page-book in less than two hours. It took me FOREVER to read and finish this book. I was so close to not finishing, you all. I really wanted to read something more interesting.

LOVE TRIANGLE. Oh my gosh. Why why why. You already know my thoughts on love triangles in general, and you already can gauge how I feel about this one. I hate Pauline in general, but I especially hate her when she takes Liam for herself. Liam always loved Pauline, so I can't fault him as much, but he broke Maggie's heart. And Maggie - seriously?! I totally understand not fighting for him, but don't torture yourself by hanging out with the two of them, forgiving them so easily. She didn't even yell at them or show them her anger or frustration. She never talked to them. That's so stupid!

The ending is so horrible. It's like the disgusting icing on a nasty cake, or something. What's the point?! What's the point of going through this entire "story" (or lack of), to end it like that!? Ughhhh.

Would I Recommend It:

No. No no no no. I know a ton of readers are really excited about this book, because the author's debut novel, Tiger Lily, was epic and amazing and writing was beautiful and blah blah blah. I didn't read that one, but I have read this one, and it is just AWFUL. Don't hurt yourselves.

Rating:

1 star. Basically, there was nothing to this book. I'm really disappointed - I was hoping for something epic, like I've heard about Tiger Lily. Too bad!
Profile Image for gio.
1,008 reviews386 followers
March 14, 2016
2.5

The ending sucked. What was that sh*t????



I'll be cursing a lot in this review. You have been warned.
I'm fucking angry. Like, ugh why did you have to go and ruin everything with that ending? WHAT THE FUCK.

I'm not an emotional, sensible person and I don't usually judge a book by its ending. I always try to consider every single element and then rate the book as a whole. Always. Well this ending made me so angry that I completely changed my opinion in, like, five pages.

Step by step and maybe I'll manage to write the rest of this review without cussing again. Maybe.

1) I loved Tiger Lily. It is my favourite fairy tale retelling ever and I truly loved everything about it: writing, characters, plot, every single thing. So...I had high expectations for The vanishing season. And at first the book worked. There was beautiful atmosphere, an amazing main character and the writing was delicate and poetic.

2) The love triangle arrived. Dundunduuuuuun. Suprisingly it did not seem to bother me. (At first)

3) Then Pauline decided to be the worst best friend ever *I'm smiling but I really want to stab your face*

4) I cussed in the spoiler-y part, sorry. I'm probably going to it again here

First half of the book: 3.5 stars
Second half: 2 stars
Ending: FUCK NO.


Profile Image for emma.
1,788 reviews43.1k followers
June 25, 2021
this is a book i know for sure i have read twice. but not in a good way.

i spent 12+ years of my life (excluding a few in middle school during which i was too cool to read, by which i mean i was very very uncool and doing as much damage control as possible) sourcing most of my books from my local library. while strides have been made in recent years, the young adult section for most of that time was made up of books twice as old as me that no one had ever heard of with fever-dream-like names (I Am the Cheese comes to mind). this meant i was in dire straits.

so some of the less memorable but relatively youthful-looking books got picked up by both, say, a 12 year old me and a 17 year old me, with an unpleasant sense of unasked for deja vu permeating throughout.

this is one such book. wasn't memorable the first time, wasn't memorable the second, and i have nothing else to say.

except, that is, for the 6 word review 17 year old me left here for us: "everything is wrong!!!!! i'm so upset."

enough said.

once again, the project i'm doing where i review books i read a long time ago, where i spend the whole time talking about a) high school, b) the library, or c) one of my sisters. never the book.
Profile Image for Susana.
985 reviews240 followers
June 17, 2015
3.5 stars

This is a tough story to review.

First of all forget all about what you've just read in the synopsis. Dismiss the title _ at least this one, because the English edition "The Moment Collector" is way more appropriate _ and prepare yourself to read an ya coming of age romance.

This is a character driven story and the characters are extremely well done, but through most of the tale... nothing particularly relevant happens.

The drowning girls is just something that happens outside of this story sphere of influence. A little like a prop. It goes "well" with all that white background of frozen lakes and bleak atmosphere.

The ghost?

See it as another character. It appears from time to time with its beautiful, sad and atmospheric prose.

"All I know for sure is that I’m timeless: I drift in and out of the past as easily as if I were walking from one room to another. Moments reach out and pull me in. Without meaning to, I’ve visited centuries in this very same spot."


It doesn't know who he or she was.

Neither do we. The only thing we know for sure is that the ghost feels a connection with Maggie, Pauline and Liam. The three main characters of the story.

Rarely I've read a more heartbreaking relationship that the one that will be formed by these three elements. In fact I don't think I'll ever forget it. It made me rant out loud. It left me sad.

It freaking broke my heart.

Now I have to address something that normally sends me into a rage. This story has a love triangle, but it ends up being a viable love triangle. Unlike many others that I've read, it isn't there only to fill the pages. It feels real.

Were it for the very last part of the story, for the intensity it has, this would get at least a four star rating. However like I've already mentioned, through most of the tale nothing particularly relevant happens. Maybe if the apparent thriller _ a murderer on the lose _ had been an active part in the story, this would have felt more complete.

Bottom line: This is actually a good book, but I doubt it is what you're expecting to get.
Profile Image for Kristina.
254 reviews67 followers
September 23, 2022
This book was heartbreaking and beautiful all at once. Not my favorite of Jodi Lynne Anderson's books, but the writing and depth that I love so much was still found in these pages. She truly knows how to end a book and make an emotional impact.

I do think it's important to note that this book was not marketed correctly. It's not a murder mystery or ghost story in the traditional sense. It's ultimately a very character driven coming of age story that deeply examines the relationships between the characters. The pacing is slow and there isn't much of a plot. If those things don't bother you, then consider giving this book a try.
Profile Image for Lotte.
528 reviews1,101 followers
September 19, 2017
2.5/5. This was a solid 3.5 star-read for me up until the end–I liked the atmospheric writing and the paranormal element kept me interested throughout. But I hated (hated!) the twist at the end and the message it conveys, which made for a rather disappointing and ultimately, easily forgettable read overall.
Profile Image for Melissa.
1 review2 followers
May 6, 2014
I literally wanted to burn this book when I finished it. The ending is utter bullshit.
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,126 reviews2,162 followers
July 1, 2014
I should have fallen under the spell of The Vanishing Season. I love a quiet, slow, introspective novel that is primarily character-driven. Combine that with Jodi Lynn Anderson's melodic prose and the result is a miracle, the way Tiger Lily is. The Vanishing Season, however, despite containing elements that I would have usually fallen head-over-heels for, somehow managed to keep me at a distance. Its cold, unemotional stance never allowed me to fall for its story and, unfortunately, this remains one of my most disappointing reads of the year.

I didn't make it too much of a secret that I loved Tiger Lily back when it came out and, similarly, I didn't make it much of a secret that I expected to love The Vanishing Season when it released. With its synopsis promising a murder mystery, ghosts, and small town setting, I really couldn't fathom how it could possibly go wrong. Well, here's how: mismarketing. Seriously, whoever wrote the synopsis for this novel needs to buy themselves a copy of The Vanishing Season, actually read it, and then do the world a favor by resigning.

In reality, The Vanishing Season is the story of Maggie, our unassuming protagonist, who moves into a small town and befriends the beautiful Pauline and her childhood friend, Liam, who is utterly besotted with her. Maggie hears stories of girls in nearby towns who are mysteriously murdered but, make no mistake, this is not a murder mystery novel. Anderson, in no capacity, focuses on this background plot line throughout the course of her narrative and The Vanishing Season very firmly remains an intriguing character study. Admittedly, there is a ghost, but more on that later.

Now, I am all for character studies. Courtney Summers's novels are all, in my opinion, intense character studies of her multiple protagonists, just as Tiger Lily managed to be an in-depth analysis of Peter and Tiger Lily's doomed romance. The Vanishing Season looks closely at the dynamics of these three friends--Maggie who is falling for Liam who is hopelessly in love with Pauline who cares for no one. It is a love triangle, but admittedly an interesting one. I didn't quite mind exploring the changing dynamics between these three, at least not at first, but as the novel wore on and certain circumstances came to pass, I grew irritated, mainly because nothing much happens in this book with the exception of this strange love conundrum. The Vanishing Season is a slow, slooooow novel and I'm not sure I ever even fully got into it in the first place.

Every chapter finishes off with a first-person account from the ghost who resides in the home Maggie has just moved in but, nevertheless, this is not a ghost story either. Much like how Tiger Lily was narrated from Tinker Bell's perspective, parts of this novel are narrated from the ghost's perspective and she looks in on these lives. I practically skimmed these sections in the beginning, though they later became the most interesting part of the narrative. Ultimately, however, I find it difficult to summon up much feeling for any part of this story--forgive me, readers, for this apathetic review.

What I do feel quite strongly about, however, is the ending of this novel. For those of you who don't already know, I love ambiguous, unlikable, and tragic endings. Sure, a happily-ever-after gets me smiling every time but a tragedy gets me thinking long after. Where Tiger Lily concluded on a bittersweet, brooding note, however, The Vanishing Season ends in such a way that the reader is left distraught. Anderson's novel lacks true meaning. We've stuck with these characters for so long through such a meandering, tiresome plot only to have the ending reflect the cruel twist of fate when karma doesn't work out and bad things happen to good people. Thus, it isn't an ending I felt added to the meaning of the novel, of my life, or of the world as a whole.

Every book, in my eyes, should have a purpose; a goal or reason for being written. Maybe it's just written to entertain--which, trust me, this book was not written to do as its so dull--or it's written to express a theme or a belief, but the conclusion of this novel only further detracts from this story because of its inability to convey a strong, wholesome message. Perhaps there are gems of wisdom weaved into this conclusion, but I definitely missed them.

The Vanishing Season failed to inspire feeling and, for a character-driven tale, that only spells demise. Its plot disengaged, its characters failed to compel, and its conclusion left me devoid of much hope for our universe. Thus, I really can't say I recommend this one at all. In fact, I'm going to pick up my well-worn hardcover of Tiger Lily from my shelves--I seem to have forgotten why I loved Jodi Lynn Anderson so much in the first place.
Profile Image for Anastasia シ.
425 reviews105 followers
December 18, 2017
Full Review on my blog!
This was not quite what I expected. I was expecting more mystery and intrigue and less typical contemporary vibes. The only moments there is anything paranormal is during the ghost POV sections. The rest is about Maggie and her growing as a person and adjusting to a new life.

This is the first book I read by Jodi Lynn Anderson. I did liked the plot, although I didn’t connect with the main characters, so I felt that I might hadn’t enjoyed it as much as expected. I really wanted to love this book, but I honestly don’t know how I feel.

The Vanishing Season a book a thriller with a paranormal twist, about a girl who has just moved to a small town where girls are disappearing to later to be found dead floating in the lake. The book is told from two POVs,Maggie’s and a spirit that observes the trio; but it’s most in Maggie’s POV.

Maggie has moved from the bustle of Chicago to a very isolated small town called, Door Country because her mom lost her job. It’s a difficult move, but Maggie has a neighbor, Pauline, who she easily makes friends with. Pauline is a beautiful and rich girl and somewhat eccentric. Maggie also meets, Pauline’s best friend Liam. Liam also Maggie’s neighbor who is madly in love with Pauline. But Pauline doesn’t see Liam that way. Maggie finds a friendship that she didn’t expect to find and had good and funny moments with them, but they’re always aware of the disappearances.

It was well written, but not exactly my style. I just didn’t get very excited about The Vanishing Season. It felt like it took me a year to read… The murders, which were supposed to cramp their style, didn’t really seem to hold them back much. The romance was kinda predictable. I may or may not read more of this author, I’m not entirely sure yet. It was alright though.

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Profile Image for Jo.
1,097 reviews59 followers
July 12, 2014
4.5 stars
It's unfortunate that the blurb sets this book up as something it's not. Because on its own, the book is brilliantly written and will find an audience. But since it was billed as a serial killer/ghost story I feel it will alienate readers. You will not get that kind of book. Instead you will get a fantastic story and psychological insight into friendships. Anderson has a way of probing deep into the psyche of her characters, and her characters are always people that you want to know in real life. They are not cookie cutter cut-outs from a stereotype. They seem like flesh and blood people who could be your next door neighbor, your best friend and your crazy cat aunt.

I loved Maggie's love affair with literature. There are so many references in the book to other books. I thought having Maggie home schooled so she could casually drop references to books that teens her age don't typically read was brilliant. Maggie's relationship with her dad was amazing. So often you see teens either without a parent or at odds with their parents. It was nice to see a functioning and healthy relationship between Maggie and her parents.

I really loved Tiger Lily, and I had read all of the reviews for this book so I was a little nervous reading this one. I shouldn't have been. Anderson is an adept storyteller, and even though this wasn't big on plot or mystery, it was a very satisfying read.
Profile Image for Zoe.
406 reviews940 followers
February 6, 2016


Jodi Lynn Anderson’s previous book Tiger Lily earned it’s spot on my shelf of all-time favorite books quite simply because of Anderson’s poetic, eloquent prose; so I guess I can’t be entirely blamed for wanting to read her upcoming mystery / thriller novel The Vanishing Season. While I didn’t quite like The Vanishing Season as much as Tiger Lily, it was still a wonderful read nonetheless, and Anderson’s beautiful writing still takes center-stage.

Maggie and her family have just moved from Chicago to the middle of nowhere in Door County, Wisconsin; where her only neighbors are a bold, youthful Pauline and a mysterious but kind Liam. But then the murders begin. Teenage girls found dead, each without a scratch on them. Who is this cunning criminal? And can authorities catch him before he has the chance to hurt Maggie, Pauline and Liam?

What I love about Jodi Lynn’s writing is – besides her ability to so articulately string words together – is her narratives. She always picks the most fascinating and captivating POVs to write her stories from, and each time it makes her stories so interesting. The Vanishing Season is no exception.

Maggie, in my opinion, was a fascinating and complex protagonist, and I found myself really enjoying her personal journey. She’s more than your stereotypical kind, booksmart protagonist. She has flaws that make her feel so real and easy to connect to.

I think the most disappointing aspect of the novel though was the actual mystery aspect. From the moment we met him/her I knew who the murder was, so the “big reveal” at the end of the story came as no surprise to me. It would have certainly been nice if there was a few more red herrings, a few more plot twists here and there; but sadly they weren’t found.

Whether or not you'll enjoy The Vanishing Season depends on what they expect to get out of it as a novel. If you're looking for a beautifully written book about friendship and love and ghosts that ends with a completely heart-breaking ending, you’ll definitely find it here. However, those who are looking for more of a strict murder mystery or paranormal story will probably not find that hidden between the pages of The Vanishing Season.
Profile Image for These Violent Delights (Robin).
366 reviews77 followers
May 23, 2017
I published my review originally on my blog: http://wherebooksleadus.blogspot.com/...


*NOTE* I CRIED DURING THE LAST FEW CHAPTERS OF THIS BOOK, BE FOREWARNED!

This book has been deemed The Lovely Bones meets love story, and it sure does meet that expectation.

This book is basically about a girl named Maggie whose parents are going through financial problems and have to move to middle-ofno-where-like Door County Water Street. Maggie leaves behind her old life and friends to a life that seems at first unpleasant. Maggie has been for a long while, home-schooled. But, you should know that this book isn't written in Maggie's point of view, but a ghost who is stuck to Maggie's new home. Maggie and her parents slowly but surely make their fixer-upper of a house their new home. Maggie meets her new neighbors, Pauline and Liam. And Maggie begins to feel at home. But in peaceful Door County, things turn un-peaceful. A killer is rampant and everyone is afraid. Girls go missing and found dead and everyone is a suspect. Nothing is as it seems in what once was peaceful Door County. Love, heart-break, loss, and death are all key emotions that rampage throughout this beautiful story.

I haven't read a book by Jodi Lynn Anderson before, but I've wanted to for a long time (I wanted to read her book Tiger Lily), and now I finally have. I honestly went into this story barely knowing a thing, but I loved it just the same.

Maggie turns out to be a beautifully written character that the reader can easily love and cherish. She has her faults but she's easily relatable. To be honest, all the characters in this book were easily likeable.

I loved the way this story was written, somebody on the outside looking in. I've never read a story written this way before, so it was a pleasant surprise. The writing in this book was strong and hit home but simple, as to not confuse the reader. The love story was adorable and laughable (in a good way, you know that giddy feeling!). I also loved the fact of how surprising the ending was and how surprising the whole story was. This story was written to surprise the reader at every corner and keep the reader guessing, and it did through and through.

I wouldn't have picked this book up on my own, to be honest. I am a cover buyer and this cover is beautiful, but I also look at the genres of books before I buy them. I don't normally read horror/creepy books, so I wouldn't have bought this book on my own (because it sure is dark and creepy at times!). I'm so glad I recieved this ARC from the publisher HarperTeen and Goodreads First Reads.
Profile Image for Hersh.
148 reviews415 followers
September 27, 2014
The Moment Collector is a book were nothing much happens. It's not a ghost story, it does not have mystery and if you've read a lot of books, you might be able to guess where this book is going. I did. I always love to guess and most of them were right. And that was hugely disappointing.

I guess because I love to be defeated by a book. I guess because I want my guesses to not be true. That's the purpose of guessing, according to me, and this only applies to books. See, I don't hate this book. It's a well written book about contemporary romance. It's sad and lonely. It's also terribly slow and boring.

I didn't expect much from this book. I didn't expect to love it as much as I loved Anderson's Tiger Lily. I also didn't expect to get this bored while reading it. Nothing happened! Nada!

It's the story about a girl named Maggie. She moves to a new town and tries to settle there and maybe one day feel like it's home. She makes friends, falls in love, blah blah blah! That's all that happens in this book if you exclude random teenage girls found dead. Sadly, the murders didn't keep my attention for very long. Also, there's a love triangle in this book and surprisingly it didn't annoy me very much. That's one good thing, right?

I can't say this book was completely cliched but come on, girl moves to new town - doesn't like it much - wants to go home - makes friends and is quite hopeful now - teenagers found murdered - love triangle - things I can't tell you. Haven't you ever read a book that had such similar concepts? One more good thing about this book is that Maggie is nice. She's different from the other contemporary main leads. She's not annoying or complaining or too cool. She's normal and boring.

Certain parts of the book, I found myself skimming. Certain parts, I just skipped because come on, it's not going be important at all! I can't say much about this book because I'm really disappointed. This is a beautiful book. Many might love this book. I wanted to love this book but I couldn't. I would still recommend this book. Read it at your own cost. You might enjoy it or you might, like me, get bored with it.

Conclusion:


Profile Image for Sarah.
281 reviews54 followers
December 28, 2015
4.5
The living always think that monsters roar and gnash at their teeth. But i’ve seen that real monsters can be friendly; they can smile, and they can say please and thank you like everyone else. Real monsters can appear to be kind. Sometimes they can be inside us.


Probably the first time I love a book that isn't already surrounded by praise. This has an average rating of 3.45, which is alright but nothing that makes you rush to buy it. The vanishing season is not for every reader out there. It's a slow-paced story focusing on very few people with barely any plot. Why is it so good then, you ask?
In case you didn’t know, Jodi Lynn Anderson specializes in beautiful writing and creating amazing realistic characters. Then she makes them suffer and puts the reader through a lot of stress because they've grown so attached to the story. It's frustrating and sad and makes for one of the most unique writing styles and plot structures I've read.

This story follows two girls and one boy; Maggie, Pauline and Liam. It’s a very simple story that I can’t explain for the life of me. Maggie has just moved to a small town and is struggling to fit in. Just as she's starting to make new friends, girls mysteriously vanish in the fall.
That's all I'll tell you, and that's all you need to know.

Authors, take note! This is how you write a love triangle. I avoid them like the plague, but in this book it's well done for once.
Anderson writes about young love in a way that tugs at your heartstrings. It’s not pretentious, intangible or simple. There's no over dramatized problem to avoid the characters from getting together. It’s complex and feels like something much more than a connection between - in this case, three people.

I love Maggie who is a quiet artist feeling lost. I love Pauline and her over to the top energy and how she doesn’t understand how privileged she is, her naiveté and her childishness.
I love Liam, the boy in between the two, who works hard on secret projects just to see the people he loves smile when he reveals it to them. Who everyone thinks is as weird as his father.

If a love triangle happened in real life (which is pretty rare, if you ask me), maybe this is what it would look like.
It reminded me a little of the relationships in The infernal devices, two friends in love with the same person without the intense rivalry or clichés. This is better, though. No angst, just feelings and reactions that feel completely real. These three people all deeply care for each other but can't be with who they love without hurting the other friend. There's so much respect between them but they can't turn off their emotions,, and that's what got to me. To be so close and so far away at the same time. Bittersweet stories are my favorite, and this sure has its fair share of both happy moments and incredibly tragic ones.

Calling this book a mystery would be lying. There’s a murderer in town, but that is much more of a backdrop rather than the main plot.
Don’t pick it up if you’re expecting a spooky read and it’s your first time with this author. The UK title The Moment Collector suits much better, and makes more sense.
There's a paranormal element to it, but you should read this if you want a highly character-driven book with stunning prose, not a murder mystery with twists and turns, or you'll end up disappointed.

If you enjoyed Tiger Lily, I can’t see what’s stopping you from picking this up. It has the same lonely tone, same close look at a few characters who make their way into your heart and stay there.
Both these books broke my heart into a million pieces. That's how you know it's good.
I’ll definitely give Tiger Lily a reread sometime, because I went into it with such high expectations the first time and didn’t understand it was supposed to be character-driven.

P.S: Listen to Youth, Landfill or Still by Daughter and I guarantee you’ll be a mess when you finish the book. Jodi Lynn Anderson, stop breaking my heart. It takes far too long to repair and I’m not ready for that. Everytime I keep waiting for yet dreading a new book of hers, because it will inevitably affect me so much I can't think of anything else to read for a while.
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,049 reviews908 followers
September 27, 2016
Maggie moves to Door County, a small little town. Being from Chicago, this is a huge transition for her, and leaving her friends behind is also something she has to deal with. But her next door neighbour, Pauline turns out to be friendly and kind and takes her under her wing to be her best friend. Only, she already has a best friend, Liam who seems to be in love with Pauline. Then reports of dead teenagers appear around their little town, which causes her parents to worry about her well-being.

Maggie seemed like this wonderful independent girl who pretty much didn't take crap from anyone, yet when love appears, she turned into a completely different. She was pretty much a pushover and let people walk all over her. Even her parents! I don't know whether to like or dislike her because I felt sorry for her. She was an interesting enough character to read about because she was very responsible. Then there's Pauline, the beautiful waspy wealthy girl whom all the boys are in love with. Then there's her best friend Liam who is the nicest guy who builds wooden saunas by hand. I didn't want a love triangle, but it happened, and it happened quickly. This was lightning fast as it is in most cases, since they only stayed at Gill Creek for six months. I found it to be realistic in a way only because teens can jump into love rather quickly.

There was a lot of day to day descriptions, and for some reason Jodi's writing never bored me. I pretty much finished this book in one sitting. It was short, but it still told the story so you won't be left out wondering anything else. I found the little town ignorance to be wholly disheartening and it's sad that it happens in real life too. There was one quote that really made me sit up and take notice. And it was just so bad and racist. I know it's meant to be a joke, but to me it felt inappropriate.

"You'd make a really good Taliban boyfriend. You should put her in a burka."

I say skip this one, and read Tiger Lily instead. Though if you're wondering who the killer was, it wasn't the focus of the story. It was just shoved to the side and the characters and their lives were the focus.
Profile Image for Rikke.
424 reviews54 followers
October 14, 2016
3.5 stars, I think.. But I'm somewhat undecided on this one. There's definitely something to like, but also it's something entirely different from what one would expect - which can be a good thing, sure.. But still, not much is going on.. And a love triangle.. I hate those.. The characters were good, though, and the idea of the book was perfectly odd..
Profile Image for Rayne.
852 reviews288 followers
January 17, 2014
3.5 stars

Yes, that's a four star rating for a book that, so far, has an average of under 3 stars. I'm not going to white-knight my rating and dismiss the lower average one because this book is definitely not for everyone. I understand perfectly the people that have not enjoyed this book, because when it comes down to it, this book is not exactly enjoyable, but I will say that it is achingly beautiful. The Vanishing Season is a really slow book from beginning to end. It has a spark of mystery, but let me be clear, the book is not about the mystery of the murders in any sense or form. This book deals with the paranoia of a small town and the morbid excitement and curiosity, but all that is still just the background for a story that's really just about three teens and their relationship.

This book is a heartbreaking and brutal story of love, friendship and the things we are willing to for both. This book doesn't romanticize any of the relationships in it nor the characters involved, but rather paints them starkly and realistically and not always in the best light. The truly fascinating thing for me about this book is that each of the three main characters is one of those typical YA stereotypes that we love - the smart, quiet, reading girl; the manic pixie dream girl; and the sweet, mysterious, loving guy -, but in this book, they are shown with flaws, they all make mistakes, and none of them are likable all the way through the novel. They were strongly drawn characters that always felt real and authentic. That's where the novel got me, in spite of its slow progression and loose plot. This novel is about first loves and mistakes and the strength of friendships, and I think Anderson did a wonderful job at depicting them in a stark, yet heartwarming manner.

As expected from Anderson after reading Tiger Lily, one of my most recent favorite books, her storytelling is gorgeous and subtle. It sneaks up on you, and before you realize it, you are completely invested in these kids and their relationships and then she wrenches them away leaving you completely brokenhearted. All throughout the story, there's this mysterious second narrator that creates the most surreal atmosphere in the story and, although at the beginning I was confused, it ended up making the story all the more poignant.

It's strange because, although the novel is not about the mystery and only deals with it in a superficial manner, the novel keeps you wondering all the way through. You get hints about what will happen, but it still happens in a most unexpected and heartbreaking way.

This is one of those books made for very specific readers. I connected with the story, with the flawed but authentic characters, and their experiences together, and, after that, I simply couldn't help loving this book. This is a difficult one to recommend, but people who loved Tiger Lily and its tragic beauty will probably like this one too.
Profile Image for Drew.
446 reviews504 followers
April 20, 2017
“The living always think that monsters roar and gnash their teeth. But I’ve seen that real monsters can be friendly; they can smile, and they can say please and thank you like everyone else. Real monsters can appear to be kind. Sometimes they can be inside us.”

This is the second book I've read by Jodi Lynn Anderson and I must say, her writing is unlike anything I've read before. She has this whimsical, almost childish style, that gives the plot and characters a fairytale-like quality. But beneath the beauty of this book's writing, there lay an overwhelming sadness that slowly crept up on me.

First, even though everyone else is already saying it, let's just get this out of the way: Despite the sound of the synopsis, this is not a thriller. The summary sells a ghostly paranormal mystery - which is what I expected before starting it - with girls getting murdered in a small town, but this book is nothing more than a bittersweet contemporary following Maggie.

I really loved the characters. After Maggie moves to Door County, she meets Pauline and Liam and the three quickly become close friends. Meanwhile, the story is partly narrated by an unnamed ghost who seems to be following Maggie. I was brought into the intimate circle of the three main characters, of the hesitant Maggie who had feelings for shy, compassionate Liam, and the bubbly, impulsive, cheerful Pauline.

This book does focus on romance - on the complicated feelings intertwined between Maggie, Liam, and Pauline - and I think I always knew it would end sadly from the lingering, bittersweet sense that they were running out of time, that somewhere, a clock was ticking down.

“I want to help. I want to shine a giant spotlight on the boy lying in the snow and on the one running for his car.
But I’m only a ghost, a memory of a memory.
These moments are all in the past. What can anyone do about them now?”

The Vanishing Season is such a beautiful, incredibly touching, underread book. I highly recommend it, especially if you enjoyed Anderson's heart-wrenching Peter Pan retelling, Tiger Lily, or if you like good coming of age novels in general.
511 reviews209 followers
April 9, 2014
We could have set the world on fire, too, if we'd been friends. But we never were.

The Moment Collector, to be alternately published as The Vanishing Season(which I don't think is as suitable a title), is a book that entirely clashes with whatever expectations one might have. It isn't what it seems.

The Moment Collector isn't a paranormal story because the ghost is an observer, for a long while until she isn't. She has no wrongs to right, guilt to assuage, vengeance to be had. At least, far as she can remember. You wouldn't think it's her story.

The Moment Collector isn't a thriller, or a mystery, for the story passively tells as the killer kills, girls drown. There is no investigation, no engagement on the part of the characters. You wouldn't find it in this story.

The Moment Collector isn't completely a contemporary story, despite what you may expect, conclusions drawn by elimination because it hasn't the requisite angst, or enough passion, disregard, learning and everything else that wholly is the drive behind such a story. You might discover those elements along the way in this story, but in minuscule quantities.

In the end, this story is a mixture of it all, ghostly and lonely and bittersweet and anticipatory; in fact, it is much better for that. Perfect as it is, maintaining an equilibrium amongst all its components. Diving in, I must warn you, you would spend a lot of time expecting, chin up, nose poking sniffing-like, mouth parted. It's the tone of the story and the unassumingly simple story playing that gives way for anticipation and waiting. And it might not come. Whatever you're thinking, it won't be that. Best of all, I don't think that makes one lick of a difference because you'll end up immersed in this story yet sadly, by the sentence you figure out that you don't want more, it'll be too late. This book isn't even 300 pages, you see, and the font size certainly doesn't require a magnifying glass.

But there was a sense of waiting, too. There was a feeling that they were in a bubble...

In the end, it's Maggie's story- and Pauline's, and Liam's. Simple as that.

I was vacillating between three and fours stars, and decided to lean towards the latter because this book lingers on in my mind, and the snowy seasons might soon take up residence there. Why are books[see: The Snow Child and The Whole Stupid Way We Are] written in snowy fields so much more hauntingly beautiful than everything else?

Maggie, the new girl in town, is the protagonist of this story, with her delusions of grandeur and invincibility. She's a mature character, her personality sharpened by the economic conditions, but I don't think it can be entirely dismissed that she was just such a person. A person who plans down to the last detail, now a teenager trying not to show her bitterness as her parents strive to indulge, or at least provide for her.

...that didn't stop it from breaking her heart, for all the things her parents wanted to give her and couldn't.

Soon enough, she finds immediate friends in Pauline and Liam, the guy she falls for and who in turn loves Pauline, has for a long while. It's a triangle, heartbreaking, believable and one so hard to find a fault in; you don't who to root for, there's no one to despise, there's nothing banal about it. There's nothing banal about this story.

It felt like they were taking a town that was lost in the dark and lighting it up.

Pauline, for her part, is a bright, vivacious, flighty girl; inside, you can see, instead that she is lost and sad and hopeless. Despite everything, she can bring out a smile. Despite what others see, she's imperfect and so, so wrong.

Maggie smiled, thinking how Pauline only kept track of the good things.

And we have shy, silent, blushing Liam, the kind of guy who would spend his summer building a sauna for a girl; the one-girl kind of guy how will always, every time make something out of scratch, things so beyond spectacular for you.

You found a way to bring summer to January.

What I love is that these characters, we have all met and hated and been bored by them in other stories; they used to adhere to their stereotypes, matching action for every conceivable meaning that could be divulged from their laconic descriptions in which their whole personalities were fit. But these teenagers, they are all faulty, wrong, cheaters, and capable of things we deem bad and good. Because in life you can't hate someone for one action; it's the cumulative that forms a person, and even that's ever-changing.

And above all else, I loved the complexity of the relationships, so grave and deep and etched into their bones. The love triangle was one of my favorite aspects of the book, that separates The Moment Collector from majority of young adult romances. Moreover, absolutely fascinating was the development of Maggie, how everything, how one month can change someone in authentic ways. And that is part of what makes the whole book so poignant and harrowing.

Friendship and love are important themes in this novel, behind the whole facade of it-not-being-what-it-is, ans slowly, surely I was sucked into it. It's a breathtaking piece of work of all the things right and wrong and horribly in between, when it comes to life in general. Killings and small-town prejudice and hating your best-friends and the hurt constantly shoved deeper; all the things people can and will and shouldn't and must do. The strength of friendship, that can often falter.

Despite the lack of plot and slow pacing, this is a stark, bittersweet story. With emphasis on bitter. Jodi Lynn Anderson has written a tragically honest and brutal story about a girl who, in ordinary circumstances, would have been a side character to remember fondly once the story is finished. If I were someone in the story, some observer, say Elsa, Maggie wouldn't be the protagonist. But this is her story, where she believes in her own invincibility and has delusions of grandeur, in spite of that she might be infallible as, say, Erica, as every girl who ever disappeared. That is our tragedy believing in stories that started the moment we were conceived yet waiting, watching for the year when we break out, away.

Maggie wondered if this was how the real part of life started, with everything going slightly tilted and making you feel like things were rising in you, like ripples and waves.

Overlooking all the factoids and articles and missing persons.

I've read articles, I've seen it in magazines: it's dangerous to be young.

But I think that erroneous though it might be, this cloak provides for some of out best memories, relationships, happiness. And I'd personally like to go on believing I'm invincible, for a while at least, contrary to all that happens around me, and to me. A lot of things would be impossible, unachievable if we let go of that.

...to know the things we want are bigger than what we get, and as deep as outer space.

The ending is a powerful one, packing a punch. But the story doesn't hinge on the conclusion; it made me cry before eternally depressing me, and afterwards as well. However different the outcome might have been, the story would still be as lush, beautiful, provoking. But of course the ending played a great part, and it mustn't be discounted, much as I'd like to, for it ties everything together, in inexplicable, surprising, realistic ways. During that last chapter, I was fucking bawling.

Love can't be taken back once it's given.

The prose is subtle yet sublime and wonderful; ordinary words, everyday moments that speak so much. Besides Maggie's story, there's a narrative from a third person, the ghost, that builds up dread and morbidity. Anderson's storytelling flows naturally that you don't even realized how entangled you are. And a whole lotta times, it's plain beautiful, no explanations required:

Here is a moment that sparkles hard like a diamond.

There was one time, however, that I could make no sense of it. Since it was that sole paragraph, I thought it imperative to mention.

If I could show you the lives of the people below me - the colors of what they all feel heading into this chilling, late Fall - they'd be green and purple and red, leaking out through the roofs, making invisible tracks down the roads.

I can imagine this, it's lovely, but I'd like to know what the fuck the colors signify. What does purple even mean? Without context, without ay factoid about the populace and the general emotion caused by circumstances(maybe winter, maybe the killings), it's meaningless.

Strangely enough, despite the lack of pacing, The Moment Collector keeps you engaged on every level, in every element, be it the identity of the killer, the ghost or the outcome of all this heartbreak. It would be incomplete, dangling had it been lacking even one of these.

I love these humane characters, I love this story and forever more will do. There are reasons this book resonated with me, deeply, but without that, I'd love it still. There. So much love. sigh.......

I don't many people will like the kind of tragic beauty the book has to offer; many will be turned away by the slow progression, by the contrast between the tale and its misleading blurb and the way it is being projected into the masses. But others will love it. I sure do hope so.

It's a crescendo. It's tragic. Because I know what it means. It means we are - I am - a piece of the past...
This is no place for anyone with a heart.




I hate winter. Except I sincerely believe I was made for it-it's barely even summer and I'm already mutating. Plus, winter brings out the worst and best in me. Like, right fucking now because it's so cold in the room, I'm probably going to be extra kind on the brother from my own mother. He'll be surprised, so he will. :P

So there, that's all I have to say in my present state of a blubbering mess.

Thank you Hachette Children's Books!
Profile Image for Lu Madrid.
82 reviews16 followers
May 29, 2016
Es neta? Ese final es tan... decepcionante tan repentino, tan vacío... en verdad la historia era buena, los personajes eran buenos, interesantes la historia iba por buen camino pero en serio qe pedo con ese final... me siento defraudada jajaja que triste... u_u
Profile Image for Dre.
246 reviews77 followers
July 15, 2014
The Moment Collector by Jodi Lynn Anderson The Moment Collector aka The Vanishing Season was supposed to haunt my dreams. It is, after all, marketed as a ghost story. The book was actually narrated by the loneliest ghost I've ever read about. I was only spooked one time, and it was during the very first time that I realized that the ghost is narrating the story.
I'm part of this house, and the residents can hear me in their sleep. I rattle the dishes and creak along the floors in the dark. I turn the lights on downstairs, though they're sure they turned them off when they went to bed. I watch a leg crash through the ceiling into the darkness and I reach out to touch it. But I have no hands, no arms, nothing I can see. I wonder if I ever did.
This book was very well-written. I started to admire Jodi Lynn Anderson's writing ever since I've read Tiger Lily, so when I saw this book up on NetGalley, I requested for it. Her writing felt like swimming in the consciousness of the ghost while she tells us the story of the friendship between three people : Maggie, Pauline, and Liam. Her prose is incredible, and even though this book didn't wow me, I was left with a good feeling inside after I finished the book. 
 
This is definitely not a ghost story. When Maggie's family was plucked from Chicago to live in the house that they've inherited at Door County, Wisconsin, she thought that the house was basically derelict, and that her mother have a mission cut out for her. She misses her old life, and her best friend, Jacie, but she quickly became friends with her neighbor, Pauline. Maggie is mature for her age, she always thought about what's best for her and her family. She knows that they didn't have any money, so she knows not to burden her parents with her whims and wants. She was the kind of person who has yet to experience love. But there wasn't really anything compelling about her, and yet her character is very important. She made things move along in the story.
 
Pauline, Maggie found, is beautiful and child-like, and she is also wealthy. She mostly lives in the present, she is carefree, and her dreams changes weekly. She's beautiful, but is unaware of it. She says and does things that unintentionally hurt. And what I love about Pauline is the fact that she's not the pretty girl that you get to hate.
 
Then there's Liam, Pauline's childhood friend. Liam, who is desperately in love with Pauline since they were little. And the Liam that both girls loved. Yes, there is a love triangle in this book, but it's not the one that you will hate. I found him quite complicated, but he was presented as a simple gentleman. There is a part of the book that would make you want to slap him, but on the other hand, I completely understood why it had to happen.
 
The mystery that surrounded the book did feel a little bit like The Lovely Bones. Teen girls started disappearing from Door County when winter came, and the people were given a curfew as a security measure. Besides that fact, nothing really happens at Gill Creek. That was all the mystery that you can get. It almost felt like a backdrop of a coming-of-age story. It even felt like that particular element in the story could have been dropped, and the story will still go on. Pauline, Maggie, and Liam still continued with their usual activities, like canoeing, eating s'mores, and building saunas in the woods. Maggie still kept doing her every day runs. Pauline still walks with her dog, Abe. And Liam still does the household chores. What confused me the most was the fact that there were murders happening, clearly it's a serial killer, but it doesn't seem to affect the trio. Maggie believed that it couldn't happen to her. And I worried for both girls because it felt like something really bad was going to happen.
And I think something is coming for one of these girls, or both. I think I��m here to save them.
And the ending, was such a sad one. I didn't expect it, but as it slowly sank in, I felt like I've always known, I just didn't consider it.
 
We were promised a ghost story, a mystery even. But I felt like the mystery was unresolved, and the story didn't haunt me at all. The plot was aimless, really. But you will surely love the well-developed characters. You will love the delicateness of how Anderson told the story in a poignant way. I've never lived in a place where there are cold winters, but this book did make me feel so cold and chilled to the bone with the vividness of the atmosphere from the beautiful writing. I felt the isolation of the county, and the bite of icy coldness. For those who are in love with beautiful writing and tragic endings, read this book. Even though it was slow, it was definitely beautiful. Yes, I've used beautiful a lot, because JLA's writing is just that - beautiful.
Love can't be taken back once it's given.
Thank you Hachette Children's Books (Books With Bite UK) for the digital galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for TL .
1,767 reviews35 followers
June 11, 2014
I received the book for free in a giveawY through Goodreads First Reads in an exchange for an honest review.
----

Sitting here, thinking about how I feel about this book into words... it was a beautiful/sort of haunting tale with interesting characters...

The vibe reminded me of those lazy/hazy summer days, drifting along and enjoying the moment, waiting for the bookmobile or begging my mom/dad to let us get Slushies ot take us swimming at the beach... the feel of that delicious ice cream cooling you down or the the sticky sweetness of funnel cake.

I'm rambling haha, but that's the best I can put it.

The murders aren't the focus of the book, its Maggie/Pauline/Liam... their bond of friendship, the world/feel of the town around with their quirky residents.

Each one had their own distinct personality, even if they only played a minor role they didn't feel put there just for the heck of it.


The parts between with the ghost narrating flowed nicely with the story... I kept wondering who she was, if we would get her story as well (we get glimpses of it), that was the only part I was disappointed in, but I'm just being picky there :-P.

The romance/ sort-of love triangle was handled well... I felt bad for all parties involved when Pauline/Liam ended up together and I think they should behaved differently but in a way, you knew this was how they ended up.

The scenes on the lake and after Pauline woke up, had me gripping the pages... I was hoping they both would be alright. Wanted to hug Pauline when she realized what happened.

The identity of the murderer is never revealed concretely (though there is someone they arrested then let go for lack of evidence)... kind of reminded me of the Lovely Bones in a way, though Miss Anderson's ending I loved better than that one's. They both have/had that same vibe and wonderful writing.

I think most of us know a Pauline or a Maggie or were once like them in a way...

All in All, a very pleasant read with the right mix of everything for me. Would recommend! Definitely will be checking out her other work as soon as funds allow :).
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Nafiza.
Author 7 books1,189 followers
June 27, 2014


I was blown away by Anderson’s previous novel, Tiger Lily, and if you haven’t read that yet, I urge you to. Apart from the truly intriguing synopsis, The Vanishing Season had going for it my love of the author’s previous novel. So I went into it expecting great things and to an extent, I found it.

But then the ending happened and well. It took me a while to gather my thoughts properly enough to come to a conclusion I could articulate. And well, this book, while I liked parts of it, ultimately, I did not like it.

I really didn’t. I wish I hadn’t read it, that’s how much I didn’t like it.

This doesn’t mean that the book is bad or the writing atrocious. In fact, that is as far from fact as you can get. Let me pull in some theory to help me express the reasons I did not like this book.

Some scholar or the other theorizing about reader-response theory stated that when reading fiction, the author asks the reader to be a certain character, a certain person and if the reader is unable to “become” that person, he or she will have a dissatisfactory response to the book. In other words, the reader will dislike the book.

I cannot even talk about why I did not like the book without giving the story away and that is the point of a review, right? Okay, let’s just say that the justifications given by the author about the way the story unravels is not something I could accept. I get self-sacrifice and all but come on now. No. I hated what happened to the protagonist of the piece and I could not reconcile myself to the climax of the novel and yep, that’s the way things crumbled unfortunately.

However, rather than letting this discourage you from reading this novel, I feel like you, yes you, dear reader of this review, should read the book anyway because I need someone to talk to about all the feels I felt. Maybe you will like the book – it is prettily written with great atmosphere and description. The characters are individuated quite nicely too. It’s just that I disliked the story. Yep.
Profile Image for Tanja (Tanychy).
588 reviews249 followers
July 28, 2014
Review also posted at Ja čitam, a ti?

Before I start sorting out my feelings for this book I might first tell you that the blurb (the one you see here or the one for The Vanishing Season - the same book just different title) are misleading. Yes this book has ghosts, mystery and serial killer, but this book is not only about that. Instead the focus of this book is on Maggie, her moving to different town and trying to fit it, meeting Pauline and Liam and the dynamic in relationships between them.

Like I said, Maggie our main character moves into a small down, due to financial issues her family is faced with. Grill Creek is a small, everyone-know-everyone town so when murders of young girls start it causes confusion and panic among the citizens. It creates fear, one you can feel while turning the pages of this book, but at the same time you can see that Maggie won't be burden by it. The story turn into a tale about friendship and growing up and trying to belong.

If I'm to describe Ms. Anderson's writing I'd say it hits all the right notes and created the symphony my ears what to hear. It's something I rarely experience but when I do I cherish it. Not only writing but characters are built so that they are real, Maggie was me and I was Maggie so many times. Both Pauline and Liam were there, and while I do not approve of some of their actions they were believable and something, when you think about it, you could expect. Then there is that ending, the one that I didn't see coming and the one that shook me to the core.

While reading and reviewing mostly, I come to realize that the degree of feelings you have for a book depend on how far you're ready to go to understand the story. How willing are you to think it through. Somehow I could find explanation for each and every decision in this book and that is also why not everyone will love this book as much as I did.
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