A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Maggie's a good student, but Liam's father asks her about European authors she's never read such as Thomas Mann and Tolstoy.
Strong messages about friendship, loyalty, dealing with life's challenges and injustices the best you can, and looking out for those you love.
Positive Role Models
Aside from the offstage serial killer, there are no really bad people here. Maggie is studious, thoughtful of her parents, and careful in planning the future; she and her friends land in ethical dilemmas but try to make the best of them (Pauline talks Maggie into saying Pauline is with her when she's sneaking off to meet Liam). Her parents also are cheerful and optimistic after years of economic trouble and give Maggie plenty of love and support.
Violence & Scariness
Despite the fact that there's a serial killer at work, there's no gory description; the survivors of failed attempts escape and tell their tales. Some characters have lost loved ones who died before the story begins, and not all of them survive.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some intense kissing but no graphic descriptions. Teen couples sleep together, swim, and take saunas together without some or all of their clothes, but they're not described as having sex.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Brief references to butts.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Various products are mentioned as part of scene-setting: Teens eat Cheetos, watch Netflix, shop at 7-Eleven, and lament the lack of a cell-phone signal. Pauline makes Maggie a Grumpy Cat collage.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Maggie's parents let her have a little alcohol on a festive occasion.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there's a serial killer on the loose in The Vanishing Season, preying on teenage girls and terrifying the townsfolk in a woodsy community on the shores of Lake Michigan. Teen couples kiss passionately, sleep in the same bed, and enjoy swims and saunas together in various states of undress, but if they have sex, it's never explicitly stated. There's no gore and little really troublesome material in this genre mash-up: part teen romance, part coming-of-age tale, part murder mystery. And -- oh, yeah -- there's a ghost, too. Popular author Jodi Lynn Anderson presents misdirection galore as the story unfolds. Some readers will be reaching for the tissues, and others will be screaming, "WHAT???"
Is It Any Good?
This won’t be every teen girl's dish, but the mix of heartfelt teen romance, ghost story, serial-killer saga, coming-of-age tale, and lurking tragedy will find an appreciative audience.
Red herrings abound, the plot threads converge uneasily at times, and the characters are often straight out of central casting. But author Jodi Lynn Anderson gives Maggie, Pauline, and Liam enough resonance with real adolescent concerns (from star-crossed love to worrying about college) to make readers care about them.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.