Tuesday, June 14, 2016

How to Disappear ~ Ann Redisch Stampler (earc) review [@AnnStampler @simonteen]

How to Disappear
Simon Pulse
June 14, 2016
416 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

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.

How to Disappear was a tricky one for me to decide how I felt about it. The premise sounded great to me - I like novels when characters have to disappear when they go against who they're trying to be, and when there's attraction between two characters that shouldn't have it. It didn't quite work for me this time, though.

I really liked that Nicolette and Jack's character's were such great mirrors images of each other. He is the guy everyone expects to be bad, dangerous and immoral but is trying to prove to everyone (including himself) that he can be a good guy, that he can get the good grades, do the team sports, go to college. That he's not his dad. Nicolette is the girl with the dad trying to do it all right for her, but she's not the good daughter that maybe should lead to.

I had trouble reconciling Nicoleete's character with all that we learn and hear about her. She's the girl everyone likes, her dad thinks she's a good girl, but she loves to party (enough that a friend's older sister would know what she usually wears out). Once we get to the end, I did understand who she was, but during the book I didn't.

I thought things when Nicolette was on the run were too easy for her. She seemed to have an odd knowledge of what to do, how to get away (again, part of why I couldn't get a handle on her character). She was able to get work without an ID, had enough money, got burner phones, changed her look, etc. It didn't fit with who she's been in  Ohio.

The romance itself was awkward and kind of uncomfortable to read about. Some of it was how quickly the two were completely enamored with each other and how strong their bond was supposed to be. It was absolutely all built on lies. They lied about their names, their pasts, their families, why they were even in that town. Then they had some sexual encounters that were also uncomfortable (between Jack's actions and Nicolette's thoughts). Altogether, it didn't spell lasting relationship to me - though it was supposed to.

At the same time that I felt all of that, I can see that How to Disappear is a book that will work, probably very much so for other people. I do recommend that you give it a try if the book description interests you.

received, from publisher, for review via NetGalley

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