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Rules for Vanishing (2019)

by Kate Alice Marshall

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1457144,797 (3.86)None
In the faux-documentary style of The Blair Witch Project comes the campfire story of a missing girl, a vengeful ghost, and the girl who is determined to find her sister--at all costs. Once a year, a road appears in the forest. And at the end of it, the ghost of Lucy Gallows beckons. Lucy's game isn't for the faint of heart. If you win, you escape with your life. But if you lose.... Sara's sister disappeared one year ago--and only Sara knows where she is. Becca went to find the ghost of Lucy Gallows and is trapped on the road that leads to her. In the sleepy town of Briar Glen, Lucy's road is nothing more than local lore. But Sara knows it's real, and she's going to find it. When Sara and her skeptical friends meet in the forest to search for Becca, the mysterious road unfurls before them. All they have to do is walk down it. But the path to Lucy is not of this world, and it has its own rules. Every mistake summons new horrors. Vengeful spirits and broken, angry creatures are waiting for them to slip, and no one is guaranteed safe passage. The only certainty is this: the road has a toll and it will be paid. Sara knows that if she steps onto the road, she might not come back. But Becca needs her. And Lucy is waiting.… (more)
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Rules for Vanishing was one of the best YA books I've read, managing to avoid most YA tropes and telling a unique horror tale with true to life characters and some truly frightening scenes. I found myself anxious and jumpy as I read, primarily because Kate Alice Marshall is very adept at building tension as she creates her world and everything in it. It is by turns heartwrenching and heartwarming, as this group of kids, each with his or her own issues, tries to navigate this nightmare landscape to bring a missing girl back home. They're forced to confront forces they never could have imagined and must learn to trust and rely on each other again. There are times it's impossible to tell who to trust, what is real, what is part of "the game"...but somehow, everything makes sense in time and makes for a very enjoyable read. ( )
  kiaweathersby | Sep 16, 2020 |
If I had to describe this book in one sentence it would be - A Demented Wizard of Oz -

The characters were a little underdeveloped but I didn't mind because this book is more plot driven than character driven. I loved the mystery and lore of the Road, along with the local legend of the missing girl, Lucy. It is creepy and gory in a way that books labeled 'YA' usually aren't. It was refreshing actually.
This could have been an adult novel if the main characters ages were changed, but I don't think it would have worked as well. Being teenagers, I felt that the characters had a better ability to just kinda roll with the fantastical things that were happening to them. If they were adults there would have been a whole lotta "This can't be happening!!1!" and the book is already long enough without all that extra stuff, although the format is probably the cause for the length. There are text conversations and interview transcripts interspersed with regular narration.
Initially, after finishing, I thought that I would have liked a little more clarity from the ending, but now I think the ending is a perfect mix of "Where are they now?" and mystery. ( )
  LynnK. | Aug 4, 2020 |
I've been developing a spot in my heart for horror that is bent to YA. It's not that difficult. Most of the horror movies I watched as a kid were all full of kids getting eaten, slashed, or otherwise completely f***ed up. You might say I always thought horror stories were MADE for kids. Just look at campfire ghost stores, man, and you'll know what I mean.

So what about this? It's high school and all the kids here are ripe for the picking. In a lot of ways, it's great for the older kids with kids in high school because they can vicariously watch all the little s**ts get eaten and if you're the same age, you feel EXACTLY the same way.

So what makes this book different?

It reads like an awesome and equally f**d-up adaptation of Silent Hill. Movie or game, it doesn't matter. It's freaking weird and deeply involved and horribly convoluted and awesomely deadly. Me? When I first watched Silent Hill, I freaked and fell deeply in love. The same thing happened with me on this book.

So why the 4 stars rather than 5? Because of the ending. With all that awesome going on in the middle of the book, far surpassing the solid opening, I wanted something THOROUGHLY ambiguous and thought-provoking. Something that fit the premise and execution of the rest.

Please don't dumb down an otherwise smart book. Please? PLEASE. It's like a fantastic runner pushed all her limits to the very edge of human endurance, only to ask for a wheelchair nearly at the end of the race when there was clearly no need.

TRUST YOUR READERS. Awesome is awesome. Let them have the full meal. Sheesh.

Otherwise, this was a fantastic book. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Rules for Vanishing was one of my most anticipated books of the year. I have such a love for the spooky season and, as soon as I first heard about it, I knew this release would be the perfect first read for the fall season. As soon as I began, I could not stop. It was like my own mind disappeared when the book began, and I just completely forget about everything else unrelated to it. When I went to lecture hall a college, I had become so addicted that I had it tucked behind my textbook so the professor wouldn’t see I could not care less about what he was talking about. I had essentially given my mind over to the narrative of Kate Alice Marshall from page one until the last. I think it’s something everyone will enjoy as it never gets too scary, but still maintains a chilling and suspenseful nature. If you like those types of books, or are just looking a little spooky something for the Halloween season, I cannot recommend this enough!!! ( )
  spellbindingstories | May 3, 2020 |
I liked this book but, I didn’t really understand the point of it. For me, I felt like this wasn’t a really satisfying ending. I was really excited to read it after I read the first look of it on Bookishfirst. Later, when the book came out, I put a hold on it from the library but, the wait for this book didn’t really match up. Yet, I did like when the actually story of the group of teenagers on the road came up but I felt like this book really dragged on. I think that this book was deeply, deeply average for me. I didn’t love it but I didn’t despise it either. But, I felt like this read wasn’t really meaningful or worth it. But, I did extremely love the cover, it seemed really mysterious but once again, this book wasn’t really the best. ( )
  Noorpreet | Dec 7, 2019 |
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In the faux-documentary style of The Blair Witch Project comes the campfire story of a missing girl, a vengeful ghost, and the girl who is determined to find her sister--at all costs. Once a year, a road appears in the forest. And at the end of it, the ghost of Lucy Gallows beckons. Lucy's game isn't for the faint of heart. If you win, you escape with your life. But if you lose.... Sara's sister disappeared one year ago--and only Sara knows where she is. Becca went to find the ghost of Lucy Gallows and is trapped on the road that leads to her. In the sleepy town of Briar Glen, Lucy's road is nothing more than local lore. But Sara knows it's real, and she's going to find it. When Sara and her skeptical friends meet in the forest to search for Becca, the mysterious road unfurls before them. All they have to do is walk down it. But the path to Lucy is not of this world, and it has its own rules. Every mistake summons new horrors. Vengeful spirits and broken, angry creatures are waiting for them to slip, and no one is guaranteed safe passage. The only certainty is this: the road has a toll and it will be paid. Sara knows that if she steps onto the road, she might not come back. But Becca needs her. And Lucy is waiting.

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