There’s a ghost haunting 208 Walter Street. She doesn’t know who she was, or why she’s still here. She does know that she is drawn to Maggie, the new girl in town, and her friends – beautiful, carefree Pauline and Liam, the boy who loves her.
But the ghost isn’t all that’s lurking in Gill Creek… Someone is killing young girls all across the county. Can the ghost keep these three friends safe? Or does she have another purpose?
While this is the blurb for The Moment Collector, otherwise known as The Vanishing Season (see on Goodreads), it is important to know first off that this isn’t a ghost story. In fact, the ghost is only a small part of the novel, her voice only a few italicised passages beside the narration of Maggie, a teenage girl who has just moved to Gill Creek with her parents and the protagonist. No, this is a novel about much more than ghosts. Neither is it really about the serial killer – but speaking more about that will give the story away. It wasn’t what I’d expected. Instead, it was better.
I was pleasantly surprised by Jodi Lynn Anderson’s writing style, so often poetic and meaningfully strung together. I was literally captivated, and only a few times did my mind wander. And if it did, it was usually to wonder at what was going to happen next. Anderson deals amazingly with issues of love, isolation, death and friendship. It’s truly beautiful the way she’s managed to convey them. A certain part towards the end of the novel actually made me cry. The key part that made me cry was this: ‘Love can’t be taken back once it’s given.’
I really liked the characters. I felt like I was Maggie. We’re actually quite similar, and it was nice to read a novel where I really liked the main character, because I hate it when I can’t stand the voice of the story. I thought she was a brilliantly crafted and real character. I felt myself everything she was feeling. Maybe because I know what it is like to feel what she did. It took me awhile to warm up to Pauline, because she’s the kind of character who gets what she wants and doesn’t see into herself quite enough to know what she really wants. Difficult to explain without giving away a particular part of the plot. At first, I was suspicious of Liam, but I came to really like him. He was an interesting character and well-written. Again, I can’t say much more without spoiling what happens between him, Maggie and Pauline, but I like that Liam’s part of the story showed how complicated love and feelings can be.
Besides the characters and the writing style, I think the best part of the this novel was that it wasn’t predictable. I’d gone into reading this with not very many expectations, but reading it I found it was so much deeper than I’d expected. A novel full of sorrow and tender moments and a novel that tells you to remember and treasure every moment because even if they end they still happened and they’re still with you.