Title: When We Vanished
Author: Alanna Peterson
Date of publication: June 2nd, 2020
Publisher: Rootcity Press
Print length: Paperback, 332 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Fiction
Edition: ebook (ARC)
You can buy this book from Amazon
Writing Quality 6/5, Character Development 6/5, ‘Couldn’t put it down’ – ness 6/5, Intellectual Depth 6/5, Originality 6/5, Overall 6/5.
One of my biggest flaws is that I always judge a book by the cover. I have been doing it for years now, and I simply can’t stop. I rarely read a book with a cover that does not appeal to me (maybe that is why I am not the biggest fan of the full-on romances). When We Vanished was one of my victims. I saw it on NetGalley a couple of months ago and fell in love. I liked the contrast between the colours, the font, all that. I dove in it without even thinking about what it could be about, and I have to say, it took me by surprise.
“Even on this clear day, the base of the mountain was obscured by wispy white clouds, giving the illusion that it was not anchored to the earth, but floating above it.”
The story follows Andi and her journey to save her father when he left to join a secret research project at a well-known food company. As the weeks passed, she heard less and less from him and soon realised something wasn’t right. With help from her neighbours: Cyrus, Naveen, and little Roya, she tried to dig and find what is happening. Their investigation leads them to a confidential research facility. They were looking for Andi’s father, but they never expected to find how dark and complicated the truth was.
But there was something about Andi, he had to admit. She had hidden superpowers, for one thing. She was smart, too, and thoughtful.
The story is being told from four perspectives, each of them being different. All the stories were well developed, and they all brought something to the action, but I liked Roya’s perspective the most. She is an 8-year-old kid, who was caught in this mess by mistake. Because she was a kid, her way of thinking was more playful from the average, and I liked that. On top, she is very smart for her age. At first, Cyrus can be unlikeable, but as you keep reading, he starts to grow on you. Naveen’s chapters were a bit confusing by the end, but it somehow kept me plugged in.
He felt like he’d let in something enormous: maybe there were shadows everywhere, and the had come for him too. Maybe they came for everyone, eventually.
What you will see different from other teens & YA are the themes. This book deals with clean eating, addictive substances in food, animal welfare, etc. I have never seen anything like this before, and I was bewildered. It can be seen from afar that there was a lot of research put in this book and that Alanna Peterson spent a lot of time writing. Throughout the novel, some little details will change completely the reading experience. In the end, everything you have read about connects, and the story becomes more complex. For example, Roya’s flute. In the first few chapters, we learn that Naveen loves craving, and that he made a gift for Roya using his talent. Until later in the book, we learn that the gift was Roya’s favourite flute.
Breathing shouldn’t be this hard. It shouldn’t hurt this much.
Even if the book deals with complicated subjects such as clean eating and substance addiction, it was very clear and extremely well written. The action was simple, yet complicated at the same time. The ending was a kind of closure, but not all the details were revealed. This could be a stand-alone, but a sequel is welcomed.
But she was trapped in this cage, and she couldn’t stay awake, and there was nothing. Not a thing she could do.
Last but not least, the interactivity. Throughout the book, a site is mentioned multiple times, and to my surprise, it is real. You can access it, and you can find a lot more than the book tells. You can stay connected to the novel’s universe even if you finished the book, and I am up for that. The site’s name is https://www.nutrexotruth.com/ and I suggest you check it out.
‘Don’t waste your wishes on impossible things!’ she said. ‘You can’t change what’s behind. Only what’s ahead.’ (Roya)
Overall, I am truly glad I read this book. Not only I got to be part of an amazing universe, but I learnt something too (how important is for you and for the environment to watch what you eat). I can definitely see this book in school libraries (even if it is a bit violent), and it is only a matter of time until I will see it in mine. I received a digital copy to review, but I will definitely buy this book in a paperback format. This is the kind of work you want to have in your library to go over in a few years, maybe even read it a couple of times after finishing. I highly recommend it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I am a novelist, a food & nutrition researcher, a mother, a baker, a (very lazy) gardener, a traveler, and a tea drinker, among other things. I’ve worked in a variety of settings that have given me a broad view of the food industry, from clinical dietetics to food service to public health research.
My debut novel, When We Vanished, is now available in stores. I’m excited to share this book with you!