Wednesday, August 25, 2010

REVIEW: The Vanishing of Katharina Linden, by Helen Grant

The Vanishing of Katharina Linden, by Helen Grant. Published 2010 by Bantam Dell. Literary Fiction.

I read this book courtesy of LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program.

The Vanishing of Katharina Linden tells the story of a series of disappearances in a small German town. The first girl to disappear, the titular Katharina, goes missing after a fair. The mystery throws the town into an upheaval as parents wait for the police to find the kidnapper- and, hopefully, Katharina. The story is told through the eyes of young Pia Kolvenbach, a middle-schooler who has become a pariah among her peers following the bizarre Advent-related death of her grandmother. But one of her classmates still wants to be her friend, fellow outcast "Stink Stefan," and together they start their own investigation into what happened to Katharina. In doing so, they uncover town secrets and do a little growing up, too.

I enjoyed reading Katharina Linden. I didn't love it, but it was a good page-turner mixed with a nice coming-of-age story. Pia is a plucky and likable heroine though I thought her home life was a little too dramatic and distracted from the missing-girl storyline a little bit too much. There's a passages involving Pia's trip to England and the martial woes of her parents which could be extracted to form an entirely separate book. The best parts for me were the parts about solving the mystery and exploring the town's checkered past.

A good read-alike for Katharina Linden would probably be last year's Mathilda Savitch; if you enjoyed that one, you'll enjoy this one, too. Like Mathilda, Katharina is a light read told from the point of view of a teen, has YA crossover appeal and a strong story with an unexpected ending. If that sounds like your cup of tea, I'd recommend picking it up right away.

Rating: BACKLIST

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from LibraryThing.com.

12 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I love the cover! I don't care what anyone says (including my inner voices that know better), I will always be more apt to give books a chance that have an appealing cover!

Aarti said...

I didn't particularly care for this book. It didn't grab me, and I didn't really like Pia as a narrator. I think it was interesting to see rural Germany, but... something just didn't click.

I agree with Jill, though- great cover!

Icedream said...

This one is at the top of my wish list. I hoped it would have gotten a more glowing review but it still sounds interesting enough to me to keep on my list. Thanks for the review.

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I have heard a lot about this book and am interested to pick this one up -- and I do agree with Rhapsody in Books, too, I'm a sucker for a good cover! :)

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

thanks for this honest review... love that... you're taking me back to the mystery days... lol

bermudaonion said...

The concept of the book sounds interesting to me - too bad it wasn't executed better.

diaryofaneccentric said...

I haven't heard of this one, but it sounds like it's worth giving a try.

Zibilee said...

This is a book I haven't heard much about, but it does sound like it's not your typical crime thriller, which always entices me. It sounds like you liked it, but didn't love it, so I am a little on the fence about trying it. I may have to check out some other reviews on this. Thanks, Marie!

Kathleen said...

I"m not sure I would rush to get this one but I'll keep it on my future list.

jewwishes said...

Good review! I almost bought this book, but hesitated, and didn't buy it.

caite said...

I have so many books to read I can only consider the very best!
and your review reminds me I have a LT ER book I must get to..asap.

stacybuckeye said...

Looks like one I can skip!