Inspite of the thrilling and often brutal story this is a beautiful book. I wouldn't have thought so at first glance, but the book charmed me more and more while I read on. Myers has a gift of letting places and people came real before the reader's eyes by the use of just a few words.
17-year-old Jocelyn has lost her twin-brother Jack in a car accident. She is devastated and wrecked with grief but spring break is approaching and her friends ask her to go camping to get her mind off things. Reluctantly she agrees to go - much to the relief of her foster-mother who is worrying about her - but then a letter arrives. Seemingly from her brother.
Jocelyn is shocked and then thrilled because she suddenly sees the possibility that Jack only faked his death and is really alive. She sets off to look for him, her foster-parents thinking she has gone camping. First she goes back to the place in Watertown where she and jack havge lived in a foster-home called Seale's house, five years ago. Their best friend in those days, Noah, is still in town and Jocelyn seeks him out. That he tries to kill her at first sight doesn't prevent them from setting out together on a search for Jack, and he isn't making it easy to find him.
When they were children at Seale's House run by a cruel lady who was more interested in the money than the foster-children themselves, Jack often laid out clues for Jocelyn and Noah, made them solve mysteries and riddles in order to find something he had hidden. He used the codename of "Jason December" then and this is the name on the letter Jocelyn got. Together she and Noah unravel the present riddle, their past, which has riddles of its own, and a present riddle which is getting bigger and bigger and very frightening.
If I tell the whole story anyone who is going to read the book will miss most of the fun in reading it ;-), but as for twin-loss "The Vanishing Game" does not offer a deep psychological view on the subject as "Surviving Sam" does for instance. Rather it shows the impact itself, the wordless, unbelievable shock not to be reasoned with that holds Jocelyn in its grips after years. Myers talent makes the impact almost visible - and leaves me as the reader with a feeling of hope at sunset in the last chapter, the possibility of a new day.
An unusual book and maybe the fact that Myers is a sing language interpreter even contributes to its special charm. Not only does she use signs a lot in her story, the talent she shows in making things visible must make her an outstanding interpreter in that field, I'm sure :-).