You know, I went into The Vanishing Game expecting very different things than I found there. Is that a satisfactorily ambiguous comment or should I try again? (Aside: I keep on thinking how much I want to see more of Miyazaki's works while I'm trying to write this.)I found it difficult to get into the book initially. Major obstacles came in the form of awkward characterizations. One of the notes I took while reading is: "It's strange that Jocelyn uses "I" when saying "I was ten" since she is talking about her brother and it would seem natural for her to say "we were ten."" Maybe this just indicates my picky nature as a reader but it was little details like that that detracted from my reading experience. There is also a fair bit of pathos and telling instead of showing. I'd say the first quarter of the book goes on in this manner.But then somehow the pace picks up and things start looking better. It might be that I am a sucker for mysteries but I really liked the sense of adventure, tension and intrigue colouring the latter half of the novel. The urgency in the wild goose choose, the clues and then the little flashbacks to the lives the main characters led as foster kids in the care of a very careless foster parent. (Careless might be a lenient adjective. Cruel and malicious, abusive amongst other descriptors might serve better.)The culmination of the novel is very, very interesting. I wasn't expecting it but at the same time, I didn't feel that the novel prepped enough or gave enough clues to pull it off a satisfactory manner. It was very interesting, I will give you that. And once the awkward parts in the characters are smoothed out, they make for compelling people but, at the same time, maybe it is because I'm reading an ARC, I felt that some other details could be reworked to make the novel stronger than it is. And it plenty strong.The author's forte is in the snippets she writes that give glimpses of other peoples' lives. She can say a lot with few words and I look forward to watching her grow as a writer. Oh right, would I recommend this novel? Certainly. It's not a paranormal but a thriller and I do so appreciate a thriller once in a while. We have too few of them around in the YA genre.