Review: Vanishing Summer by Lora Richardson

Title: Vanishing Summer
Author: Lora Richardson
Genre: YA Contemporary  
Rating: 5/5 stars
Published March 2019

Summary: He disappeared four years ago, and I’m to blame. Now he’s back.
I call it the vanishing summer. Everett, my best friend and the first boy I ever kissed, was kidnapped; taken from right beside me. Three months later my mom died. They were both just gone. The bright, fearless spark inside me was gone, too—blown clean out.
I learned that the worst could happen at any moment and with no warning. I didn’t want to go outside anymore. I avoided the woods where Everett and I had played. I hated to let my brother and my dad out of my sight. For four years, I lived with a pounding heart and shaking hands.
But I’m sixteen now, and ready to find my way back to myself, to somehow move forward. Therapy is helping. I let one new friend into my life, and she’s helping, too. I’m trying this new thing where I act like the old me—unafraid and confident and bold. I’m doing scary things and trying not to let them scare me.
Then one night as I’m sitting outside in the dark, Everett walks through the trees and back into my life. 
I was offered to review a digital copy of Vanishing Summer by the author herself and, let me tell you, I loved it. It was a fast read and a page turner, leaving me wanting so much more of Greta and Everett.

Like it says in the summary, Everett has been missing for four years and Greta blamed herself for what happened. Three months after Everett's disappearance, Greta's mom died. Now Greta is forced to navigate the next four years without her best friend and mother. She's much less adventurous and anxiety has taken over. Just as Greta finally decides to take her life back, Everett walks out of the woods and back into her life. 

The book is a wonderful coming of age story with growth through tragedy and discovering yourself and your first love. Greta is slowly breaking out of the shell she was forced into after Everette disappeared and her mom died and through the support of her new best friend and her family, Greta is learning to be brave again. 

When Everette reappears, he is faced with the reality that none the lies his father fed him were true. He learns to grow as well with the help of his friends and family. 

I believe the budding relationship between Greta and Everett also helped with their healing. They were able to rely on and be there for each other in a way that the other couldn't. Greta was able to be honest with Everett about her guilt over his disappearance.

Overall, I loved how strong Everett was. He could have easily let the isolation take over but he was able to find his way home and let his family help him properly heal. It has to be extremely difficult to come back from something like that and he was able to handle it better than I would ever be able to, that's for sure.

For anyone who loves a good coming of age and healing story, this is the book for you. Absolutely give it a chance and you'll fall in love just like I did!

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