HOW TO DISAPPEAR
By: Ann Redisch Stampler
Published By: Simon Pulse
Release Date: June 14, 2016
Reading Level: Young Adult
Buy the Book: Amazon
Goodreads Summary: 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.
First Thought After Finishing: Wow. It all makes sense, but wow.
Nicolette Holland—aka Cat—is on the run from the police, determined to make Nicolette disappear. Jack Manx, son of infamous Arthur Manx, is sent to eliminate her. They aren’t used to their new life, but they know that not succeeding could have dire consequences. Every action, reckless or calculated, passionate or desperate, is driven by the need to survive and take care of loved ones. The characters bring us into their world, one most of us will hopefully never live in, and it’s a whirlwind.
There’s a running joke that authors’ Google search history could get them in trouble. That could definitely be the case with How to Disappear. The details of how Cat kept herself hidden were fascinating and made me impressed with her resourcefulness. Jack, on the other hand, is a character that you can’t help but want to put your arms around. He’s trying to move past his past and his family’s reputation, but at times it seems impossible. These are two strong characters who make an impression.
When I started reading How to Disappear, I expected an exciting cat-and-mouse game that spanned the country. I kept turning pages to see what would happen next, wondering the whole time what Jack would do if he found Cat. After a while, however, the book shifted to focus more on the characters’ inner battles. Getting glimpses into Cat and Jack’s minds were intriguing. Even though the book slowed down (and admittedly I missed the fast-paced adventure), I was still curious enough to know how things ended for Cat and Jack. It’s almost impossible to stop reading because there would be so many questions left unanswered. And the answers are definitely necessary.
Most Memorable Aspect: The details in this book made what could have been a glossed-over adventure turn into a vivid survival story. It was almost like a guide about escaping an old life and finding a new identity.