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Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown
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Watch Me Disappear

by Janelle Brown

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Billie Flanagan is a beautiful, charismatic wife and mother. One day while hiking alone in a place called Desolation Wilderness Billie vanishes. It's coming up on the one year anniversary since the incident and her body has still never been found. But her teenage daughter Olive begins seeing her. She takes this as a sign that her mother is still alive and that she wants her to find her. Jonathan is worried about his daughter but as he uncovers secrets about Billie's past he thinks that just maybe Billie is alive out there somewhere. And they're going to find out once and for all what happened.

This book was really good! It has lots of layers - the characters are complex, Billie especially - she was a completely different person before she met Jonathan and she only allows him to have a glimpse of who she was and who she is even well into their marriage. The story flowed well. There was never a dull moment. We'd be trying to figure out what happened to Billie and then we'd be hit with secrets of hers that I did not see coming. I couldn't stand not knowing if she was dead or alive. I thought I had the ending figured out but I was wrong. I loved it!

Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group for a copy of this book. ( )
  jenn88 | Jun 25, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I had a terrible time getting into this book at first, I even came here to see if I was the only one....and I was. I am glad I trudged through the rest of the chapter, because I fell hard after that. Billie is a self centered person, a person that doesn't do anything without a reason. Billie jumps from life to life to feel in charge and free but really how she gets there is being cared by someone else.

The entire book is a question of her final escape from the lives of her loved ones, but how did she escape is the true question. In the end for them it truly is about acceptance, accepting her life as she was and lived it, good and bad. I didn't like Billie anymore in the end than the intro. Nothing in the book was a true surprise BUT it was put together well. I loved reading it after I finally was able to get into it, I am even looking up this authors other works after this. I know this review was hard on Billie but I have to add I despised Harmony the most in the entire book....called that snake, she is a Billie without the charm and self esteem. Great book, and nothing left to question. ( )
  jjnaaucoin | Jun 19, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
If you want to understand the thought process of a terrorist escaping responsibility, this is your book. This was an Early Reviewer pick and I enjoyed it. ( )
  dddale | Jun 2, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Watch Me Disappear opens on the Flanagan family having what appears to be a perfect family afternoon with a trip to the beach and the butterfly garden. We soon learn that it has been a year since Billie Flanagan, wife and mother, has disappeared on a solo hiking trip in Desolation Wilderness. Billie has seemingly vanished. Leaving behind only a hiking boot, the police have come to the conclusion that she died in the woods despite having found no body.

One year later, Jonathan Flanagan finds himself barely getting by with maintaining the household, paying the bills, and attempting to live a normal life with his daughter, Olive. Jonathan has quit his job, something Billie always wanted him to do, and is attempting to write a novel about his relationship with his wife. Olive, their sixteen year old daughter, is precariously balancing teenage life and fitting in at an overpriced private Berkeley prep school, when she begins having visions of her mother.

Jonathan and Olive embark on a journey to uncover the truth about what happened to Billie and along the way unravel a past that makes Jonathan begin to question if he ever really knew his wife at all. Excerpts of Jonathan’s love story novel capture his changing opinions and mood toward his wife. With each new revelation Jonathan begins to resent the life and relationship he thought he had with Billie, all the while push his daughter away from him. Olive is engrossed in the search for her mother and will stop at nothing to discover the truth.

Are some things better left in the past? Do we ever really know the ones we love? How far would you go to find out the truth?

These are all questions that Janelle Brown makes the reader ponder throughout the course of the novel. She weaves a story that creates well-formed characters, who you can’t help wanting to know more about. Brown has the ability to draw the reader in and feel as though you’re standing right alongside Jonathan and Olive as they work to uncover the mystery that is Billie Flanagan.

The novel alternates between moments of fast-paced suspense where the reader can’t wait to know what will happen next and moments of what some readers may feel are the reveal of unnecessary details. I found myself rapidly turning the pages of this book in an attempt to find the truth. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for an intriguing story that makes you question how well you truly know the people around you.

Thank you to Random House and Janelle Brown for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this novel. ( )
  jess_reads_books | May 26, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I fell in love with this book during the Prologue when the family of three visits a preserve for monarch butterflies during the start of the monarch migration to the eucalyptus trees of Northern California. I knew the family was one that would grab my interest and hold it. This was a lovely family moment, but one of their last because the mother is soon missing and presumed dead after a solo hiking trip from which she never returned.

Then it is a year later and the father Jonathan and daughter Olive are still in a tailspin over the death, and barely coping. When Olive thinks she is having visions of her mother, Billie, Olive thinks her mom is trying to tell her that she is not really dead and in fact is in need of rescue. Jonathan, a writer working on a memoir of grief over the loss of Billie, discovers some incongruities of his own and begins to wonder the same thing. Only he really needs Billie's life insurance policy to pay out so, what to do? He decides to do what's best for Olive, but there are many twists in the story to come, many secrets that Billie held close.

This is one of those books where you won't want to read ahead because there are so many surprises. The last sentence -- well, just wait!

I was happy to have been an ebook copy from the publisher through NetGalley, and an ARC from LibraryThings. ( )
  kdabra4 | May 25, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812989465, Hardcover)

A mother with a troubled past vanishes while hiking, leaving her family to piece together her secrets, in this keenly observed novel from the bestselling author of All We Ever Wanted Was Everything.

“Tantalizing and twisty . . . a spider’s web of a thriller. You won’t be able to put it down.”—Megan Abbott

It’s been a year since Billie Flanagan—a beautiful, charismatic Berkeley mom with an enviable life—went on a solo hike in Desolation Wilderness and vanished from the trail. No body—only a hiking boot—has ever been found. Billie’s husband and teenage daughter cope with her death the best they can: Jonathan drinks, Olive grows remote.

But then Olive starts having waking dreams—or are they hallucinations?—that her mother is still alive. Jonathan worries about Olive’s emotional stability, until he starts unearthing secrets from Billie’s past that bring into question everything he thought he knew about his wife. Together, Olive and Jonathan embark on a quest for the truth—about Billie, their family, and the stories we tell ourselves about the people we love.

Praise for Watch Me Disappear

“A riveting, seductive read about the secret, protected places within even the most intimate relationships . . . Janelle Brown has written a novel that provokes thought as her story twists and turns. I loved it.”—Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants

Watch Me Disappear is at once a riveting page-turner and a thoughtful meditation on what it means to know other people—and ourselves. Be careful: Once you start Janelle Brown’s expertly crafted and wonderfully mysterious novel, you won’t be able to stop.”—Edan Lepucki, New York Times bestselling author of Woman No. 17 and California

“I devoured Watch Me Disappear in one sitting. In this poignant and captivating story of a missing woman and the family she left behind, Brown deftly peels away the layers of a loving marriage to reveal a haunting mystery and a devastating truth: that no matter how much you love someone, you can never truly know them.”—Laura McHugh, author of The Weight of Blood and Arrowood

“The plot is gripping enough: A woman’s disappearance leaves a daughter and husband in a limbo that moves rapidly into true mystery, with ever-widening gaps between acceptance and doubt, memory and history, truth and lies—all very slippery and treacherous and thrilling. But the real magic of Watch Me Disappear is Brown’s gift for evoking familial love in all its mad permutations—and the more intensely for the high stakes of what has been taken, and what is yet to be found. This is a story you simply don’t want to end—but then, lord, what an ending!”—Tim Johnston, author of Descent

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 12 Apr 2017 10:35:48 -0400)

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