Welcome back to the bookclub! In May, we read Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall for The You’ll Read Too Bookclub! If you wish to access all of the latest updates/information, click here. Spoilers ahead!
Quick Reminder: This month we are reading ‘The Sanatorium’ by Sarah Pearse.
Today I’m going to discuss the book in the same way I normally do the IGTV videos. You can find the IGTV video for this talk and others on my bookclub Instagram page. I’ll give a quick plot summary plus my overall star/scare-factor ratings. Then I will share the discussion topics and trivia questions. Please include all of your answers and opinions down below. I want to know exactly what you thought. I’ll also leave the answers to the trivia questions at the very bottom of the post, so if you wish to guess without being spoiled, do not scroll to the end until you’re ready. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
RULES FOR VANISHING by KATE ALICE MARSHALL – MAY 2021
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.
OVERALL STAR RATING
I gave this book 5/5 stars! It was everything I could have wanted in a horror YA novel. I adored the mixed media formatting (more on that below) and the story. It was exciting, action-packed and very scary. The author has announced she is writing a sequel which I could not be more thrilled about. The thing I loved the most about this book was the concept. It was so unique. I was fascinated by the idea of the road as a villain and rules that must be followed as you pass through seven eerie gates filled with evil. Netflix has to turn this faux-documentary Blair Witch style novel into a series! I highly recommend it!
OVERALL SCARE-FACTOR RATING
I gave this a scare-factor rating of 4/5. There were so many scenes that had me absolutely terrified. I don’t want to give too much away but the scene in the first gate with the hand-holding gave me goosebumps all over. Each gate brought new terrors, monsters and darkness that made me want to read with the light on. The ending in particular was very unsettling…
1.) The road itself felt like the villain in the story. Do you agree? Why/why not?
I completely agree. There are multiple times in the book where the road is described almost like a living, breathing thing. It wants people to walk its path. It craves physical bodies and suffering. It calls to people. Without the road, Lucy Callow would not have been taken which meant that Becca wouldn’t go looking for. It is designed to test and torment those that embark upon it.
2.) Which gate was your favourite? Discuss
It was the most simple gate but I have to go with the first one: The Liar’s Gate. It set the tone for what was to come and featured one of my favourite horror moments in literature: the hand-holding scene. It proved that breaking the rules, even for a second, is highly dangerous. It was at that point that I knew this book was going to be a 2021 favourite.
3.) Did you enjoy the mixed media format of the book? Why/why not?
100%! One of my favourite series is the The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. It is filled with emails, text messages, letters, interviews, images and more. Rules for Vanishing reminded me of that. This type of story-telling breaks up big blocks of text and gives it more layers. I wish more books were written like this.
4.) What was your understanding of the ending?
My understanding is that for the entire story, us readers are led to believe Sara was the unreliable narrator, when really it was her sister Becca who came back wrong. It definitely left things open for Kate’s sequel. This is one of those books that you should really re-read because it will make a lot more sense the second time around.
5.) Did you feel sympathy for Lucy Callow? Why/why not?
I did feel sorry for her. She was an innocent girl, lured to a road that trapped her for a large chunk of time. We also learn that she was possessed by Dahut. I will note she wasn’t as large a part of the story as I thought she would be. I would love a prequel that features just her story.
Easy: What is the name of the real figure possessing Lucy?
Medium: Name the 5 gates in order.
Hard: What is the sequence of crows Sara taps along to?
I hope you enjoyed the book club discussion in this post and on Instagram. As mentioned above, share all of your thoughts in the comments below! If you have any feedback/suggestions to improve the bookclub, please let me know. I look forward to talking to you all next month! Thanks for reading!
Peace & Love xoxo
TRIVIA ANSWERS: Easy: Dahut. Medium: The Liar’s Gate, The Sinner’s Gate, The Blood Man’s Gate, The Gate of Many Doors and The Sailor’s Gate. Hard: 1+5+1, 1+4+3, 2+5+2.