How to Disappear by Ann Redisch Stampler
About the Book
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.
I have been blessed to be part of such a vibrant community of YA readers and bloggers that I often get to hear about and read titles early – and sometimes I am lucky enough to get access to read them before they are published. Such was the case with How to Disappear. I am a sucker for a good thriller and the description above got my attention so I volunteered to read it and write an honest review as a part of this blog tour. (Thank you, Simon and Schuster!)
I’m embarrassed to say that my first thought when I opened the package containing my ARC was WHOA…416 pages! That’s going to take a while… It was about two weeks before the end of the school year when we had so much going on and I actually was worried about whether I could finish it in time.
I shouldn’t have worried.
I managed to read it all in two days.
When we are first introduced to Nicolette, there is no question that this girl is running from something and that there has been some kind of violence behind her reason to run. She’s smart about getting away and finding work and ways to make herself less recognizable. Her greatest downfall is the need to talk to her best friend. (Note to self: if you need to not be found, don’t call the people others would expect you to call…) I found myself wondering the whole way through the book if her character was who they said she was – a cold-hearted killer. Nicolette is far from perfect, but she’s doing what she can to stay alive.
Jack, on the other hand, had me wondering if he would actually be able to do what he was being told to do: kill Nicolette as his first hit in order to save his own family from harm. Something about his personality felt as though he wouldn’t hunt animals let alone humans – even pretty girls accused of bloody murder.
So if I wasn’t sure she was guilty as charged and he was incapable of murder.
I knew they would cross paths and I wasn’t surprised that there would be some attraction brewing between them to further complicate the conflict.What surprised me was that the attraction wasn’t what kept me reading; it was the desire to find out more information about Nicolette and what had happened to cause her to run. Was she guilty? Why did the people who wanted her dead actually want her dead? Revenge seems like a good reason until you consider why they put this task on a teenage boy who has had no history of violence despite his father’s career as a hit man. I kept thinking about Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” and the idea of revenge: the narrator explains atthe beginning that one “must not only punish but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.”
I’m not one for exacting revenge, but something about having someone contracted out to commit revenge felt off and I knew there had to be more – much more to Jack’s end of the story as well.
And this is why the pages continued to turn quickly.
All 416 of them.
I will admit that right up until the last few pages, I was still coming up with more questions than answers. But it felt satisfying (even though the conclusion gave me shivers) as an ending.
Ultimately I see myself handing this book off to my students who prefer thrillers, who like crime shows, and like romance that isn’t the main focus of the story.
Enter to win a signed copy of HOW TO DISAPPEAR by Ann Redisch Stampler, as well as a special swag bag of stuff! (Sorry, not everything is in the photo–the book and a special surprise item are not pictured.)
US only, giveaway ends June 11, 2016. No purchase is necessary. Void where prohibited. One set of entries per household. The blogs/author/publisher are not responsible for items lost or damaged in the mail. If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian’s permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address. One winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner. If you have any questions, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pre-Release Blog Tour Schedule
May 30 – The Consummate Reader
May 31 – Fiktshun
June 1 – What a Nerd Girl Says
June 2 – Movies, Shows, ‘n’ Books
June 3 – Kid Lit Frenzy
June 5 – Charting by the Stars
June 6 – Recently Acquired Obsessions
June 7 – Read Now Sleep Later
June 8 – Once Upon a Twilight