Friday, February 04, 2011

The Vanishing of Katharina Linden

The Vanishing of Katharina Linden. Helen Grant. 2010. Random House. 304 pages.

My life might have been so different, had I not been known as the girl whose grandmother exploded.

Set in 1998 in a small German town, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden focuses on one of the most challenging years of young Pia's life. Within the course of a year, well, her grandmother dies in a freak accident (yes, she explodes), her home life is torn apart as her parents argue time and time again about where they should live--England or Germany--and perhaps most importantly a handful of children--all young girls--disappear from the community.

Our heroine, Pia, is only ten. And before her grandmother exploded, well, her life was normal. Her life wasn't colored or tainted by association. (Some of her classmates refuse to sit by her in case exploding is catching.) But though she may not have many friends, she does have one true friend, Stefan. Yes, this friend is socially undesirable. Before her grandmother's death, she wouldn't have acknowledged he even existed. Still, he's the only one that speaks to her now. So their friendship has a chance to develop. What binds them together--in a way--is their curiosity over the disappearances of the other children. Together they're determined to solve the mystery. Turns out, that other children have vanished from the town through the decades. By listening to the gossip, they think they know the man responsible. But could the village gossips have it all wrong?

While I may not love this one, I certainly found it compelling and enjoyable.

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Debi 3:11 PM  

I'm sorry you didn't love this one, Becky! I have to admit that I really did. :D

Becky 7:23 PM  

I'm glad you loved it, Debi. It was more like for me--perhaps because I guessed who the villain was early on. Or perhaps because I'm so in love with Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie that other books aren't "wowing" me as much at the moment?!

Debi 8:30 AM  

Those both sound like likely reasons. :D I sort had the villain figured out, too, but I think that what made me love it so much was the storytelling within. And the way I kept finding myself thinking it was set in the past, only to be jarred to to present now and then.
I'm excited to say that I plan to read my first Dorothy Sayers soon!

Becky 10:27 AM  

Debi, that's great! I hope you enjoy her work. As I've said in many, many, posts I am just loving her mysteries! Do you know what title you'll be reading?!

Kailana 1:48 PM  

I am kinda curious about this book but can't decide if it is for me or not... I like the cover, though, for some reason it keeps catching my eye. Maybe later this year I will give it a try.

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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