Review: Rules for Vanishing

Title: Rules for Vanishing
Author: Kate Alice Marshall
Release date: September 24th, 2019
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


In the faux-documentary style of The Blair Witch Project comes the campfire story of a missing girl, a vengeful ghost, and the girl who is determined to find her sister–at all costs.

Once a year, the path appears in the forest and Lucy Gallows beckons. Who is brave enough to find her–and who won’t make it out of the woods?

It’s been exactly one year since Sara’s sister, Becca, disappeared, and high school life has far from settled back to normal. With her sister gone, Sara doesn’t know whether her former friends no longer like her…or are scared of her, and the days of eating alone at lunch have started to blend together. When a mysterious text message invites Sara and her estranged friends to “play the game” and find local ghost legend Lucy Gallows, Sara is sure this is the only way to find Becca–before she’s lost forever. And even though she’s hardly spoken with them for a year, Sara finds herself deep in the darkness of the forest, her friends–and their cameras–following her down the path. Together, they will have to draw on all of their strengths to survive. The road is rarely forgiving, and no one will be the same on the other side.


This was such a great read, and I’m wishing I read it last fall and enjoyed the spookiness to its full extent.

But I also spent a lot of time this past spring studying urban legends, so this actually came to me at a great time. This story dives into a local urban legend about Lucy Gallows who disappeared down a road that occasionally appears. And then Sara’s sister Becca supposedly goes missing on that same road, and her sister will do anything to save her.

The story is told through written accounts, interviews, video evidence, and texts. We read the story as an investigation is taking place and I loved the way this was done. It really added to the mystery of the story and moving of the plot.

My favourite element of this is the unreliable narrator and piecing together of the events. This being done through investigation was really a highlight to the story.

The things keeping me from totally enjoying this were that the beginning had so many characters thrown at you, so when bad things started happening to some, I really didn’t feel the emotional tie to make those events as impactful. Plus the book felt a bit longer than it needed to be, so it felt it dragged a bit at times.

Overall, this was a really captivating read that catered to some specific interests of mine. If you’re looking for a spooky mystery with urban legends, I’d definitely recommend this.


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