I promise to be brutally honest with my opinion, but it should not be taken as fact. Any reader should read it for themselves, before they decide if this book has any merit or not. Do not judge this book biased solely on my opinion. If you do, you might miss out on a great read. You never know. It could happen.
So, this book called Vanished is actually two separate books in one. Too bad Goodreads will not recognize this book as two separate ones in my book goal for 2012. Oh, well! Anyways, I will separate and judge each book and their elements separately and then average the stars I give for each book and divide it by two to get the average for the book as a whole. I am using math. Who knew?!
WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES: 4 ¾ Stars
1. Strong Main Character/ Female Heroine: Let me start off by saying how much I love the character Jessica, better known as Jess. She is amazing and totally fearless. She is everything you want in a female lead. She is bold, strong-willed, headstrong, stubborn, and most of all, has a hilarious sense of humor. She is often sarcastic and snarky, but underneath that distancing persona, is a girl full of passion and love….for her family and Rob. She is a character worth reading about and knowing more about. I cannot wait to follow her adventures to her second book. 5 out of 5 stars
2. Strong Minor Characters: I cannot say that I found the minor characters in this book very fascinating or worth knowing about other than a select few. Ruth is not one of these characters. I find her more annoying than smart or brilliant. She seems like a friend that Meg Cabot just stick in there so that she could have her drive Jess around and be the driving force behind the lightning incident. Douglas is an interesting character in the book, because of his mental condition. Otherwise, I would not find him as fascinating. He provides comic relief as well as dramatic scenes. Rob is a mysterious character that is super hawt and the bad boy in this book. All books need a bad boy and this one takes the cake. He is mysterious, but caring. Jess can never figure him out, but I think I have an inkling about him. I also think I know why he is on parole. Sean is a sweet little kid with a troubled past and he added so much to the novel that I wish he would be in the second book, but I know another little child will replace him and it makes me sad. He provided a lot of comic relief to the story. The detectives provide suspense for the novel, but I do not really see them as minor or supporting characters. I see them as plot characters, characters that keep the plot moving forward and are the antagonists of Jessica. 4 out of 5 stars
3. The Setting: I love it when the setting is constantly changes. They are at school, at the football field, at home, at a bar, on the road, at a military base, at the mall, at a random house, at the train station, and etc. There are so many different changes of scenery, so it kept the whole plot very fresh and new. It did not change so much that I thought I was lost, but it changed so much that I had to keep reading to see where else the book was going to take me. It kept my interest. 5 out of 5 stars
4. The Plot: The story is interesting and fresh. Out of all the books that I have read about lightning strikes, I have never read about anyone ever getting powers from it. Usually, they switch bodies with someone else. So this unique plot twist, kept me reading the book and the fact that it included missing children that were getting found touched my heart. But like the book says, “Not everyone who is lost wants to be found” (back cover). 5 out of 5 stars
CODE NAME CASSANDRA: 4 ¼ Stars
1. Strong Main Character/ Female Heroine: I am still in love with Jess and no, not in that way. She is such a strong-willed character that I can relate to her more than most other characters that I read about. She is as close to normal as a fictional character can get with a special ability to find and locate missing children. I love her sarcastic sense of humor that relieves the tension in any stressful situation. Meg Cabot really knows this character well and how she would normally act. Cabot just keeps improving her characters with each and every installment that I want to read the next till I finish the series completely. 5 out of 5 stars
2. Strong Minor Characters: I still do not like the character of Ruth, but I like her a little better than last time. Rob is just as hawt as ever and I continue to love him as a great romantic character for Jessica. I hope their romance will actually get somewhere by the end of the series. I love the sexual tension in this book between the two of them. It keeps me reading the series, if the two characters that are destined for each other, love each other at the very end of the book or near the end of the series. I hate insta-couples! That never happens in real life! I wish I could have had more of Douglass. He is a character that I really wish to know more about and delve into his past. I did not like the little kids in this book as much as I loved Sean in the first book, but they kept me entertained enough to keep reading. I wish I would have seen a little more of the detectives in this book. 3 out of 5 stars
3. The Setting: Constantly changing in the first book, I love how the second book settles down a little bit at the camp. It still took you all over the camp, but there was not a lot of travel involved. So, I could concentrate more on what is occurring in the book and less on where the characters actually are in the book. The book takes me through the general summer, Jessica’s house, the camp, the woods, the cave, the cabins, the lake, the pool, the music center, the camp hall, the cafeteria, into the city, to McDonald’s and much, much more. I enjoy reading about all the different places that Jessica goes to. It creates quality entertainment like when you are watching a movie or your favorite tv show. 5 out of 5 stars
4. The Plot: The plot is not as entertaining as the first one. This one is generally centered on the camp and the detectives have a less active role that leaves the reader unsatisfied. I was hoping for more chasing Jessica about, but it was not like that at all. In fact, this one is less crazy and adventurous as the first, but I still enjoyed it. There was still so much mystery and intrigue. Plus, some more sexual tension with Jessica and Rob. I still craved more chaos, though. I enjoy a good chaotic read. 4 out of 5 stars
Overall, I give this entire book 4 ½ stars. I will continue to read the series, since I found it very well written and enjoyable. I believe that it would be more reflective, if I label this review as four rather than 5 stars, but this book is more than four, but less than five. There is always room for improvement.