Oct 7, 2019

Review--Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall

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, the path appears in the forest and Lucy Gallows beckons. Who is brave enough to find her--and who won't make it out of the woods?

It's been exactly one year since Sara's sister, Becca, disappeared, and high school life has far from settled back to normal. With her sister gone, Sara doesn't know whether her former friends no longer like her...or are scared of her, and the days of eating alone at lunch have started to blend together. When a mysterious text message invites Sara and her estranged friends to "play the game" and find local ghost legend Lucy Gallows, Sara is sure this is the only way to find Becca--before she's lost forever. And even though she's hardly spoken with them for a year, Sara finds herself deep in the darkness of the forest, her friends--and their cameras--following her down the path. Together, they will have to draw on all of their strengths to survive. The road is rarely forgiving, and no one will be the same on the other side.

Kate Alice Marshall's Rules for Vanishing was one of my most anticipated reads for fall because GHOST STORY! I love a good ghost story and Rules for Vanishing is definitely a ghost story--the nice twisted and insanely creepy kind!

There's a local ghost story in Briar Glen, about a young girl named Lucy who ran into the woods one day and was never seen again. Sara's sister, Becca, believed in that legend so much that she ran away one day to find Lucy and was never seen again. One year later and it seems Sara is the only one who cares she's missing. She's detached from herself from her friends and immersed herself in studying the legends that surround Lucy.

After a mysterious text goes out to the whole school, Sara and her long ago friends join together once more to find Becca. Sara finds Becca's notebook filled with strange nites and clues that she believes can guide them to her. So the nine of them set out to journey into a haunted realm of darkness and horror set in the middle of the forest...at midnight!!

This book...wow. Just wow! Firstly, this book is told after the events have happened. It's told as a testimony of sorts interspersed with interview documents and video recording details. It definitely makes for a unique reading experience. It kind of goes back and forth with "this is what happened in the scary world" and then it cuts to interview transcripts.

The characters were an excellent sort too. A good variety of jock, nerd, believers, non-believers. They were sort of like a motley Breakfast Club gang! There were a few moments of romance, kisses here and there, but nothing too much to detract from the horrors surrounding them,

Time was another weird issue of this book. Every seemed to happen within the scope of an hour or so! It was so weird and trippy! I mean, when we're reading the testimonial part, we don't know exactly how much time passes, but then when we read video transcripts everything happens in the hour of midnight! It was bizarre because you'd think more time has passed after everything these teens go through, but time definitely moves differently in this place!

I will say this--there is no way you'll be able to see what's coming! This book is utterly so twisted and you could almost say maniacal in the best possible way! I did catch one thing when reading that had me going uh? I've heard authors mention how little bloppers get by them sometimes and I was wondering if this was one of them. Well...the answer came eventually and holy freaking cow!! This book was pretty terrifying at times. This scary world the teens enter is truly the works of a horror mastermind because omg it was freaky!

You never really knew what to believe. What to trust. As a reader this is something that's hard to conceive because you can't really get visual clues unless specifically given. This makes it hard to predict and you sometimes have to go back and see if you missed something. And yet, I utterly loved that about this book! I loved that I doubted things. That I questioned everything. It was slightly confusing in the sense that you don't "really" know what happened here of there, but I think the mystery of not knowing makes it more terrifying!

The ending was a little chaotic. A little muddled. Things were revealed that left me with more questions than answers and while that's mildly aggravating I feel like it truly fits with the story. It was a most horrifying, thrilling, and shocking kind of read and I kind of loved it despite some confusing moments and what not. Rules for Vanishing is a read that's perfect for this time of year. Just, maybe don't read it after dark, because you never know...

Overall Rating 5/5 stars


  1. Great review! I'm looking forward to reading this!

  2. Wow, this sounds like a good read. You did a nice job with this review.

  3. So happy this one was right up your alley! I love ghost stories but this is one that I found to be done exceptionally well. I wonder if there will be a sequel since the ending was...kind of everywhere.


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