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Review: How To Disappear

Ann Redisch Stampler -  How To Disappear
Expected publication: June 14, 2016 by Simon Pulse
Pages: 416
Genres: Contemporary, Thriller, Young Adult
Find on: Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads
Rating: 2/5

This electric cross-country thriller follows the game of cat and mouse between a girl on the run from a murder she witnessed—or committed? —and the boy who's sent to kill her.

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, this tightly plotted mystery and tense love story challenges our assumptions about right and wrong, guilt and innocence, truth and lies.

Someone find me a fantastic thriller, so we can talk.

But doesn't that cover seriously remind y'all of Amy Dunne from Gone Girl???

I couldn't. I mean, I could not. It's been too long time since I've read a fantastic mystery and How To Disappear couldn't fit that bill, which I genuinely hate to say.

After a dead girl is found in the woods near Nicolette's house, she decides to take on the pseudonym, Cat, and go on the run. Jack, who is soon convinced by his incarnated cousins, that she murdered the poor girl, decides to chase after her and bring her to justice, so he stalks her through her friends' social media accounts and Google.

It always dumbfounds me in these murder-getaway YAs when teens have murdered someone and/or convinced they have, they ironically have enough cash for everything. Nicolette had wigs and hair-dye, could easily grab a candy bar off a shelf, and would be able to score a few jobs without the need of an ID.

So after an incident at a children's park, Nicolette and Jack run into each other. However, they offer their alias to one another, though Jack manages to see through her fake exterior and is soon figuring out a way to haul her ass to a police station. Meanwhile, Nicolette/Cat is stuck between infatuation and wanting to casually shade him.

The finest form of instalove occurs. Though I was initially fond of Jack, he evolved into a real fucking creep. He became physically abusive with Nicolette. He was a stalker, a slutshamer. Complete with the overuse of an obnoxious endearment.

I was tempted to DNF at 75%-ish(?). The second Nicolette confessed her (fake) virginity, they were already going at it and having a perfect, magical experience. Please. Get over yourself. 

Everything after is rushed. The ending was confusing and disappointing and I seriously cannot even. The only person I liked - though we saw very little of her - was Nicolette's best friend, Olivia. She was so sweet and sisterly. Otherwise, I couldn't connect and the behavior from the MCs was nauseating. Unfortunately, not a recommend from me.



  1. I really haven't found a YA thriller/suspense that had wowed me. Sounds like this doesn't do it either! Sorry it wasn't better for you!

    1. Me neither! It's been so long since I've found one that's honestly had that shock-factor. (The last was Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver, I think.) Thanks!


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