Nick (short for Nicole), her younger sister Dara, and their neighbor Parker are best friends, as thick as thieves through their growing up years. They have secret hideouts, secret messages, and enough memories to fill up a book. But when Nick and Dara’s parents are separated and divorced, everything starts to fall apart. Dara begins to date Parker, and starts getting into trouble--sneaking out, staying out late, drinking, experimenting with drugs. Nick does her best to keep Dara out of serious trouble with her parents, and her friendship with Parker is strained as Dara and Parker are on a cycle of break-ups and make-ups. But everything takes a turn for the worse when Nick and Dara are in a devastating car accident. Dara gives Nick the silent treatment, and Nick begins to suspect that Dara has gotten involved in something even worse than the typical teenage rebellion, which might involve a young girl that has gone missing in town. Will things ever be “normal” again?
Vanishing Girls, by Lauren Oliver (Delirium; Before I Fall; Panic), is a riveting book about friendship and family. Although it seems like a run-of-the-mill sister story, as pieces of the past are revealed through diary entries, blog posts and comments, and newspaper articles, the story draws you in deeper and deeper, until an intriguing twist at the end. Readers who like realistic fiction with a touch of suspense will definitely enjoy Vanishing Girls.