Watch Me Disappear
It’s been a year since Billie Flanagan—a beautiful, charismatic Berkeley mom with an enviable life—went on a solo hike in Desolation Wilderness and vanished from the trail. No body—only a hiking boot—has ever been found. Billie’s husband and teenage daughter cope with her death the best they can: Jonathan drinks, Olive grows remote.But then Olive starts having waking dreams—or are they hallucinations?—that her mother is still alive. Jonathan worries about Olive’s emotional stability, until he starts unearthing secrets from Billie’s past that bring into question everything he thought he knew about his wife. Together, Olive and Jonathan embark on a quest for the truth—about Billie, their family, and the stories we tell ourselves about the people we love.

Watch Me Disappear Details

TitleWatch Me Disappear
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 11th, 2017
PublisherSpiegel & Grau
ISBN0812989465
ISBN-139780812989465
Number of pages368 pages
Rating
GenreMystery, Fiction, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Adult, Family, Suspense, Contemporary, Adult Fiction, Psychological Thriller

Watch Me Disappear Review

  • James
    June 10, 2017
    4 out of 5 stars to Watch Me Disappear, a new mystery and suspense thriller, set to be published on July 11, 2017 and written by Janelle Brown. Many thanks to the author, NetGalley, Random House and Spiegel & Grau for this Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) in exchange for a fair and honest review. Why This Book I saw this book floating around on Goodreads, which prompted me to read the description. I checked NetGalley to see if it was available and was awarded the request back in April. I had a f 4 out of 5 stars to Watch Me Disappear, a new mystery and suspense thriller, set to be published on July 11, 2017 and written by Janelle Brown. Many thanks to the author, NetGalley, Random House and Spiegel & Grau for this Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) in exchange for a fair and honest review. Why This Book I saw this book floating around on Goodreads, which prompted me to read the description. I checked NetGalley to see if it was available and was awarded the request back in April. I had a few other reads to complete before it, but settled in last week to be able to release the review a few weeks before the book's publication, as part of an effort to promote the novel. Approach & Style The book is told mostly in the present tense, which is not something I have experienced very often; however, it worked very well given the suspense and thriller aspects.I read it via Kindle Reader on my iPad. It is about 5000 lines or 350 pages.It is mostly told in a third-person point of view and switches focus on a few different characters. There are also 5 chapters which are news articles that one character writes as part of the book he is publishing. These serve to connect different story points and keep the momentum of what's happening behind the scenes. Plot, Characters & Setting Billie and Jonathan have been married for nearly 20 years and they have a 16-year-old daughter named Olive. They live in the East Bay on the outskirts of San Francisco, California. As the story starts, it's been almost one-year since Billie went missing after she was on a hike, leaving behind her husband and daughter to wonder if she was kidnapped or died somewhere in the forest, as a body was never found.Billie grew up in a very religious family as an only child. She ran away from home a few times, and after father, a minister, was caught with a teenage girl, Billie left for good. She told her friends that he was an awful father and abused her from time to time. She became a free spirit and helped protect the environment and animals from disasters and corruption. One day, she meets Jonathan and after 6 weeks, they get married and later have a baby. She loves him, but seems to struggle settling down, often needing her free time away from the family life. Jonathan had a sister, but she drowned when they were children, and he's always felt guilt for not being able to save her. Years later, when he meets Billie, he's drawn to her and they quickly settle into a life where it's just the 3 of them. Olive is your typical angsty teenage girl going thru her own coming of age story.Harmony, Billie's former best friend shows up at some point, trying to re-build her friendship with Billie. She also later tries to help Olive and Jonathan move on after Billie's death, offering both friendship and an attraction to Jonathan. Olive's best friend, Natalie, also tries to help Olive get over her mother's loss. But one day, Olive has a weird vision where she thinks her mother is trying to be found. Jonathan doesn't want to deal with it, as he believes Billie is dead, and needs the money from her life insurance to be able to afford to pay for their mortgage and raise Olive. But suddenly, as he begins throwing Billie's things away one year later, he finds notes and files that indicate she may not have been as honest with him as he thought. Jonathan begins to believe Olive and they search for Billie, learning various bits of information which cast Billie into a darker shadow.Jonathan keeps coming to the same conclusion... over and over again about his wife:The book is a quest for Olive and Jonathan to move on from Billie's death, but also to determine whether she is indeed alive or if something darker has happened to her when she supposedly went for the hike. It's a psychological thriller, leaving readers to question which information is accurate and which is just a red herring. In the end, Jonathan and Olive find a great deal of answers, learn what Billie had been up to in the last year of her life and figure out how to move on from the entire situation. You also find out exactly what happened to Billie when she went on her hike "to get some space for a few days." Strengths The story is captivating and draws you in around the 15% mark. You really want to know what happened to Billie. Jonathan and Olive are likable characters whom you want to find answers in order to be able to move on with their lives. Both are written as believable father and daughter. There are tons of personal details about their lives, including when Billie was home with them. You see this from both a parent's and a lover's perspective. The story engages you and pushes you to decide what kind of a person you want Billie to turn out to be.It's a real-life situation for the most part. How do you move on when someone you love is missing and you don't know if they are dead or alive? All the right questions and emotions come up. It's fantastic that the story starts nearly one year after she's missing, so we don't have to live through the initial phases of misery and loss. We see and feel the pain, but it's the kind you've already nursed, and then it's ripped open when evidence shows that she may still be alive.I did like the character of Billie, but it was because of solid writing. And I'm not saying she's done anything wrong related to the disappearance (no spoilers!). I didn't like her because she seemed selfish to need so much time alone, to seem callous about showing her feelings to Jonathan at times, for treating everything as "that's life, we'll figure it out." I wanted to see the motherly side of her where she cries and yells and wants to help her child. Instead, she seemed too much of a free-spirit who just went with the flow. Sometimes it's good, but Billie took it too far in my opinion. But that means the writer did an awesome job pushing me to feel this way.This book is a definite commentary on marriage or relationships: how well do you really know the other person? Is it OK to keep secrets? Is your life together a surface existence or so deep that you have trust in all areas? When do you decide it's OK to just do what you want and be selfish, but tell yourself it's for the benefit of the other person? Huh???? That doesn't fit my definition of a relationship, but it certainly gave me something to think about. I'll think I'll tell my significant other tonight that I need 2 weeks alone just to be away from him as I have to think. LOL If someone told me that, I'd say... "Seriously? OK, sure. Be sure to leave the key when you go as your a$$ aint' coming back. I'm all for space, but let's work thru it together." Thank you. Off my soap box. Concerns I don't think the character of Harmony was flushed out as much as necessary. As you learn more, she feels a bit deeper, but overall, it was a bit of a missing component.I know we needed Olive, Jonathan and Billie to seem like the only people around in the family, but where were Jonathan's family and his friends. They seemed AWOL at a time they were likely needed.When the book ends, there are a few parts left too open for me. I want to know specifically what was true and what was false in regard to Billie's early days of running away from situations and people. She told one story. Another character told a different story. Seeing the whole picture, I struggled a little in deciding who to believe. Even in the end. But it was just a little bit, nothing to throw the story off.I wasn't too big a fan of the newspaper articles interspersed throughout the chapters. They didn't seem to serve as strong a plot device as I thought they could or should. It helped me learn more about how Jonathan felt about Billie, but at the same time, I think I'd have preferred a journal entry, a conversation with a psychiatrist or even him just saying things aloud. It wasn't distracting, but I didn't get a lot from it. Author & Other Similar Books It's the first book I've read by the author, but she's written two other books before this one. I would be interested in reading them as I liked her style. I plan to look them up and read if the plot sounds strong. This book is not a thriller in that you are scared or afraid of someone being hurt. It's more suspenseful, trying to figure out what is really going on. In that vain, it's like The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl. You wonder for a while if you can trust the narrator. Maybe you can, maybe you can't. I won't say. But you get that feel from the book. Questions & Final Thoughts The title is super-important, as you'd expect. She disappears. You question the entire time you're reading the book... "Who is saying those words?" Is is the mother, the daughter or the father? It could be any one of them. I liked that aspect. It's the perfect title, also because the word "disappear" can mean so many things: physically, emotionally, due to fear, due to memory loss... really engaging for those reasons. It got a 4 of 5 stars from me as there were some concerns and I struggled to stay focused in the first 15%. But once it got into the swing of things, I only put it down one other time, as I was very sleepy. But I read the last 50% all in one sitting, so it's definitely got game! And I sorta suspect, this might be a case of: About Me For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.[polldaddy poll=9729544]
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  • Linda
    April 10, 2017
    Once you lose your grip, you just seem to slip away.And this one seemed to drop into a deep abyss for me.Watch Me Disappear is the story of Billie Flanagan, wife and mother, who takes off unexpectantly on a backpacking trip on the Pacific Crest Trail in the Desolation Wilderness. Billie is hiking solo and hasn't given her family much of a heads-up. No explanation. No itinerary. No discussion. Full stop.Jonathan, her husband, has been caught up in the weight of his job commitments and has hardly Once you lose your grip, you just seem to slip away.And this one seemed to drop into a deep abyss for me.Watch Me Disappear is the story of Billie Flanagan, wife and mother, who takes off unexpectantly on a backpacking trip on the Pacific Crest Trail in the Desolation Wilderness. Billie is hiking solo and hasn't given her family much of a heads-up. No explanation. No itinerary. No discussion. Full stop.Jonathan, her husband, has been caught up in the weight of his job commitments and has hardly lifted his head to even gaze in the direction of his family. Olive, their sixteen year old daughter, attends a very pricey prep school and is overwhelmed with fitting in. But this complacency is soon shattered when Billie goes missing. Billie's car remains at the trailhead and all that the searchers can find is one of Billie's boots. Fast forward and the one year anniversary of Billie's disappearance is approaching. Jonathan is awaiting the court's renderence of a death certificate. But Olive is not fully buying into the idea that her mother must be dead. In fact, she's having strange visions of Billie trying to contact her. She takes it upon herself to search for the missing Billie. Eventually, she ropes in her father. What they find together leaves a trail of massive question marks.Sounds like all the makings of a sensational novel. It was until it wasn't any longer. Watch Me Disappear seemed to be aimed more towards a YA audience. The situations and plot designs came off as contrived and forced. There was always an answer for everything and that same everything at the end was explained to the nth degree. Each character seemed to live in their own personal bubble. Denial was served morning, noon, and night. Janelle Brown can write. She drew me in. Here's hoping that the next book will not be so caught up in tightly structured plot devices. There's talent here that needs to shine.I received Watch Me Disappear through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Random House and to Janelle Brown for the opportunity.
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  • Matt
    June 8, 2017
    First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Janelle Brown, Random House Publishing Group and Spiegel & Grau for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.Turning to a new author, I wanted to see what Janelle Brown had to offer in this interesting story that explores the family unit and its dynamic when a significant piece is missing. After Sybilla 'Billie' Flanagan goes missing during a solo hike, her immediate family is left First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Janelle Brown, Random House Publishing Group and Spiegel & Grau for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.Turning to a new author, I wanted to see what Janelle Brown had to offer in this interesting story that explores the family unit and its dynamic when a significant piece is missing. After Sybilla 'Billie' Flanagan goes missing during a solo hike, her immediate family is left to wonder what happen, while never giving up hope. Billie's husband, Jonathan, is left to wonder about his wife, entering a state of numbness as he goes through the motions of a memorial when she is seemingly dead. Adding to his confusion, Jonathan must juggle his teenage daughter, Olive, who is determined not to shut the door on her mother, wondering if she will walk through the door at any moment. When Olive begins having some visions of her mother, she holds out that Billie is alive and just away from them, either by choice or having been kidnapped. This lights a fire under Jonathan, who has been filling his time writing a memoir of life with Billie Flanagan. When Billie finds some information about Billie on her computer, this opens new potential pathways that go back three decades and the breadcrumbs that Jonathan follows leads him to believe this might have been something orchestrated. However, there is nothing to substantiate any of this, save for a gut feeling and a daughter whose focussed seems stronger than ever. Where is Billie Flanagan and was her disappearance something that had been in the works long before that hiking adventure? Brown offers up an interesting spin on a much-used plot, allowing readers to weigh the strength of a family's determination to find what belongs to them. An interesting read for those seeking something more emotion-based than a thriller or crime story.This is the first piece of Brown's work that I have tried, which has left me a little on the fence. I was expecting a high-powered mystery, with characters that sought truth and sifted through lies. Brown works hard to create these characters: the lost and drifting Jonathan, his eager and determined Olive who is suffering the loss and her teenage epiphany, and the ever-elusive Billie, who comes to life in the stories that are told and through the other two characters. Brown serves to deliver the Billie persona through the ever-winding memoir on which Jonathan has been working and the increasingly vivid images that Olive develops. With a story that could have delved deep into mystery, Brown presents something that is more worthy of an emotional journey and one in which all the characters find and lose themselves at the same time. I found myself begging to find something on which I could grasp during the first portion, but by the end, the twists had me highly impressed as the narrative took me in directions I was not sure I would have originally liked. A journey full of mystery after all!Kudos, Madam Brown for an great book. I think I may come back to see what else you have to offer sooner than later.Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/
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  • Liz
    June 11, 2017
    I had trouble connecting with the characters in this book. A woman goes on a solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail and never comes home. Only her boot is found. Her husband and 16 year old daughter are left to cope as best they can. A year passes. The daughter begins “seeing” her mother in some sort of hallucination/waking dream. The husband begins to discover his wife was telling him lies. No one seems to know who the “real” Billie Flanagan was. The whole premise of the book is how much do we re I had trouble connecting with the characters in this book. A woman goes on a solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail and never comes home. Only her boot is found. Her husband and 16 year old daughter are left to cope as best they can. A year passes. The daughter begins “seeing” her mother in some sort of hallucination/waking dream. The husband begins to discover his wife was telling him lies. No one seems to know who the “real” Billie Flanagan was. The whole premise of the book is how much do we really know those we love. The writing was decent and there wasn't anything fundamentally wrong with this book. It just never truly grabbed me, although the second half of the book, as the husband begins to investigate Billy’s past, is much more interesting than the first half. My thanks to netgalley and Random House for an advance copy of this book.
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  • Carrie
    June 26, 2017
    A year after Billie disappeared Jonathon and his daughter Olive are still reeling from her loss and trying to find a way for them to move forward with their lives. Billie had gone hiking by herself and never returned and after more than a week of searching the authorities called off the search finding evidence that suggested Billie may have died in those woods. Now Olive is having visions of her mother and thinks that she just might be still alive out there and waiting for her family to find her A year after Billie disappeared Jonathon and his daughter Olive are still reeling from her loss and trying to find a way for them to move forward with their lives. Billie had gone hiking by herself and never returned and after more than a week of searching the authorities called off the search finding evidence that suggested Billie may have died in those woods. Now Olive is having visions of her mother and thinks that she just might be still alive out there and waiting for her family to find her. Jonathon is trying to get a death certificate issued so they can move on with their lives but at Olive's insistence finds himself also questioning his wife's fate. The two begin to investigate and uncover the secrets Billie had hidden. Watch Me Disappear is another book that I struggled with deciding how I really wanted to rate this one. After much deliberating I decided to just stay down the middle with my rating as there were some things in here that I just kept thinking about that sort of bothered me with this mystery. However, even with my doubts I still got engaged and would definitely pick up another read by this author so in no way did I find this one bad at all either. The first thing I found odd about this mystery/thriller read was that quite honestly for me as a reader it lacked the thrilling part for the most part. Taking place a year after Billie's disappearance perhaps left out that beat the clock discovery for me. At that point I thought to myself if she is alive then there's like a 99% chance she's left on purpose so perhaps you guys should just move on and leave the secrets buried.... although as a fan of mystery/thriller I was still curious as to what happened, just not as intensely. But also, I found Olive's "visions" to be a strange addition to this type of book. Thinking to myself while reading these parts and how that gets played out later that this type of thing really didn't fit this book in my mind. Somehow that whole part of the read made the story progress but it just had an odd feel to it being included, although that is just my personal opinion and it may not bother others. So these things left me scratching my head a bit but thinking I'd try this author again because I saw a lot of potential to the writing. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.wordpress....
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  • Monnie
    May 28, 2017
    More than anything else, I think, this is a character study; what I know is that it was riveting to watch the threads that hold together three close-knit characters - a father, a mother and a teenage daughter - begin to twist, unravel and, depending on what you read into it, come together again.The story begins about a year after the disappearance of Billie Flanagan, who went for a solo hike in a California wilderness area and never came back. She left behind a loving, trusting husband, Jonathan More than anything else, I think, this is a character study; what I know is that it was riveting to watch the threads that hold together three close-knit characters - a father, a mother and a teenage daughter - begin to twist, unravel and, depending on what you read into it, come together again.The story begins about a year after the disappearance of Billie Flanagan, who went for a solo hike in a California wilderness area and never came back. She left behind a loving, trusting husband, Jonathan, and their teenage daughter, Olive; because her body never turned up, their lives have been turned upside down. On one hand, they hold out the hope that she'll turn up - apparently, she's always been a bit of a "hippie" who disappears for a day or two on a whim. On the other, they want the whole thing to be over. Jonathan and his attorney have petitioned the court to declare Billie legally dead - partly to bring some measure of closure and partly so Jonathan can collect the somewhat hefty life insurance settlement. He quit a high-stress job to concentrate on writing, and he's already behind in tuition payments to his daughter's pricey all-girl private school.He's also run through the advance he got from a publisher for rights to his as-yet-unfinished book detailing life with the offbeat (to say the least) Billie. This book is interspersed with bits and pieces of what he's written that reflect not only his feelings for her and their life together, but how those feelings evolve as new information comes to light.Suddenly, for instance, Olive begins to "see" visions of her mother, who passes on cryptic messages that convince the girl that her mother is still alive. Jonathan, needless to say, thinks Olive is heading off the deep end - especially since the visions are interfering with her schoolwork and relationship with him. Still, his curiosity is piqued enough that he sets out to look for other clues as to what really happened (including digging into files hidden in Billie's laptop). As the story progresses, he learns - much to his dismay - that Billie has lied to him and Olive. But the question is, were those lies simply omissions of a past events that are too painful for Billie to share or to cover up a more insidious life that came before her husband and daughter?Helping to console him is next-door neighbor Harmony, a caterer who was Billie's best friend. That complicates the situation by eliciting quite different emotions from Jonathan, who leans toward going with the flow, and Olive, who (quite understandably) resents the intrusion. Adding to her angst is that she's just beginning to come to terms with her own sexuality as awareness of what her mother really was about begins, for better or worse, to grow."Who you want people to be makes you blind to who they really are" is a tagline in the book's official description - and it's right on target. This is a don't-miss book that grabbed and held my attention from the start, and I heartily thank the publisher, via NetGalley, for the opportunity to read an advance copy in exchange for a review.
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  • ☮Karen
    May 25, 2017
    I fell in love with this book during the Prologue when the family of three visits a preserve for monarch butterflies during the start of the monarch migration to the eucalyptus trees of Northern California. I knew the family was one that would grab my interest and hold it. This was a lovely family moment, but one of their last because the mother is soon missing and presumed dead after a solo hiking trip from which she never returned.Then it is a year later and the father Jonathan and daughter Ol I fell in love with this book during the Prologue when the family of three visits a preserve for monarch butterflies during the start of the monarch migration to the eucalyptus trees of Northern California. I knew the family was one that would grab my interest and hold it. This was a lovely family moment, but one of their last because the mother is soon missing and presumed dead after a solo hiking trip from which she never returned.Then it is a year later and the father Jonathan and daughter Olive are still in a tailspin over the death, and barely coping. When Olive thinks she is having visions of her mother, Billie, Olive believes her mom is trying to tell her that she is not really dead and in fact is in need of rescue. Jonathan, a writer working on a memoir of grief over the loss of Billie, discovers some incongruities of his own and begins to wonder the same thing. Only he really needs Billie's life insurance policy to pay out so, what to do? He decides to do what's best for Olive, but there are many twists in the story to come, many secrets that Billie held close.This is one of those books where you won't want to read ahead because there are so many surprises. The last sentence -- well, just wait!I was happy to have been given an ebook from the publisher through NetGalley, and an ARC from LibraryThings.
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  • Marjorie
    May 20, 2017
    Billie Flanagan is the mother of teenager Olive and the wife of Jonathan. She’s a bit on the rebellious side and despite warnings of hiking alone, she sets off for Desolation Wilderness and doesn’t return nor has her body been found. A year after her mother’s disappearance, Olive begins to have visions of her mother asking that Olive find her which convinces Olive that her mother is still alive. Jonathan is trying to have Billie officially declared dead so he can access insurance money that the Billie Flanagan is the mother of teenager Olive and the wife of Jonathan. She’s a bit on the rebellious side and despite warnings of hiking alone, she sets off for Desolation Wilderness and doesn’t return nor has her body been found. A year after her mother’s disappearance, Olive begins to have visions of her mother asking that Olive find her which convinces Olive that her mother is still alive. Jonathan is trying to have Billie officially declared dead so he can access insurance money that the family desperately needs but he’s having doubts as to what happened to Billie as he has found secrets that she has kept from him.I had trouble getting into this one. Some of the characters’ decisions just didn’t gel with the characters’ nature as the author described them. Some of it was hard to believe, especially the ending. The parts concerning Olive mostly seemed written in a YA style. The author does do a good job of describing the characters’ grief and their struggles following Billie’s disappearance. And it certainly did keep me guessing right up to the end. While I did find some enjoyment in reading t, the book didn’t impress me enough that I want to read the author’s other books so I can’t give it more than 3 stars.An average book that I enjoyed.This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.
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  • Trin
    February 7, 2017
    So boring. A book constructed almost entirely out of red herrings -- everything that looks like it might be used as a potentially interesting plot thread fizzles out to nothing by the end. And then, the actual ending... You know the scene at the conclusion of Psycho in which Norman Bates' character and motivation is explained to the audience in case any of them are particularly slow? Or the scene at the end of the film version of L.A. Confidential where the entire plot is re-articulated, as the So boring. A book constructed almost entirely out of red herrings -- everything that looks like it might be used as a potentially interesting plot thread fizzles out to nothing by the end. And then, the actual ending... You know the scene at the conclusion of Psycho in which Norman Bates' character and motivation is explained to the audience in case any of them are particularly slow? Or the scene at the end of the film version of L.A. Confidential where the entire plot is re-articulated, as the viewers are once again presumed to be unusually thick? Well, that's this book's entire, lengthy epilogue, which destroys any lingering ambiguity and basically confirms everything a reasonably astute reader could have assumed from chapter one. Snore.One point of interest: I am vaguely curious if the author considers Billie to be a sympathetic character. Because she kind of reads to me like (view spoiler)[Amy Dunne if, instead of being a brilliant manipulative psychopath, she were just really, really selfish (hide spoiler)]. An interpretation which, seeing as it's almost completely unexplored, isn't actually all that interesting either. Ah well.
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  • RoseMary Achey
    February 9, 2017
    Yes, there are twist and turns, but this book moves at a glacier pace. It felt like a puzzle made up of pieces that did not fit. A teenage daughter and husband try to put their lives back together when their mother/wife never returns from a hiking trip. There are lots of dead ends that were not particularly well developed.
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  • Jaksen
    May 31, 2017
    Well I totally changed my mind on this one!I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway and so glad I did. I admit, after reading about 20+ pages, I was thinking ho-hum, kind of dull, sort of slow, the characters aren't holding my attention and then...Everything changed. The writing, quite good, so good I barely noticed it, which is what I like in a book. The writing just rolls and everything sounds, feels, reads perfect. The characters, each distinct, a unique person with their own personality Well I totally changed my mind on this one!I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway and so glad I did. I admit, after reading about 20+ pages, I was thinking ho-hum, kind of dull, sort of slow, the characters aren't holding my attention and then...Everything changed. The writing, quite good, so good I barely noticed it, which is what I like in a book. The writing just rolls and everything sounds, feels, reads perfect. The characters, each distinct, a unique person with their own personality which shows in what they do, how they talk, their attitude, etc. (Yeah, I've read a few books recently where everyone is a wiseguy, with a snarky, look-at-me-I'm-so-clever vibe. Gets tiresome.) But not this book...The story, a woman disappears - but is she dead? Abducted? Off with a lover? Deserting her family? Murdered? What? WHAT? It's not written from her POV, but from her sad, lost daughter and her confused, weary husband. The writer does dally with tenses - you're reading in the past, then suddenly, and in the next paragraph, someone is moving through the present - and though this was jarring at first, it didn't bother me after a while. It seemed to fit the mood of the story.Now some reviewers have complained about the slow, or 'glacial' pace, but if the story does slow a bit, there are so many layers here. Psychological and emotional ones. Moods of place and time. Moments when the past blows up in a character's face as they revisit what someone said - and did they really mean what they said when they said it? There's a constant theme of people not (never?) really knowing someone else, even when they (we) think they (we) do.No spoilers here, just a general overview. I'm a mystery lover and I loved this book.Five solid stars.
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  • Gail O'Connor
    April 8, 2017
    I was mesmerized by this book and was so amazed with the entire story. The characters were so complex and unforgettable. Totally engrossing. Can't wait to read her other books.
  • Kathi Defranc
    April 8, 2017
    I really enjoyed this story! The characters are interesting and complex, with a great storyline and things happening to all characters that kept me reading. A woman is missing,presumed dead , although no body has been found. The story involves her husband,daughter and friends as they try to continue life without her. The stories told and things found on her computer surprise her husband. while her daughter starts to 'see' her in little hallucinations,making the daughter,Olive, start to believe t I really enjoyed this story! The characters are interesting and complex, with a great storyline and things happening to all characters that kept me reading. A woman is missing,presumed dead , although no body has been found. The story involves her husband,daughter and friends as they try to continue life without her. The stories told and things found on her computer surprise her husband. while her daughter starts to 'see' her in little hallucinations,making the daughter,Olive, start to believe that she psychic. There are many changes the family goes through, as much of the mother,Sybilla, is found about which the husband and Olive had no idea of. I was feeling good about the direction of the story as I came to the end, then BAM, the truth is told,which saddened me quite a bit! The author does a nice job of keeping your interest and the story flowing. I would like to thank Netgalley , the author Janelle Brown and publisher Random House for an ARC of this book enabling my review.
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  • Audrey
    January 24, 2017
    I liked this one! It's twisty, with well drawn characters that are believable. It's interesting to think how well do we really know someone? What part of that is our assumptions, or our own refusal to really look? Good book.
  • Kathy Clemmons
    January 26, 2017
    I liked this book. Many twists and turns, I was surprised at the ending. It certainly didn't turn out the way I thought it was going to.
  • Colette
    January 25, 2017
    I loved this book! The twists and turns - ending surprised me!
  • Tami
    May 25, 2017
    Copy received from Netgalley for an honest review.Watch Me Disappear is about Billie, a wife and mother who goes on a solo backpacking trip in Desolation Wilderness. She didn't give her family much of a warning that she was going and she ended up never coming home. All that was found of her was her car and one hiking boot.Now we're coming up on the one year anniversary of Billie's disappearance and her husband, Jonathan, is waiting for the issuance of her death certificate. But their daughter, O Copy received from Netgalley for an honest review.Watch Me Disappear is about Billie, a wife and mother who goes on a solo backpacking trip in Desolation Wilderness. She didn't give her family much of a warning that she was going and she ended up never coming home. All that was found of her was her car and one hiking boot.Now we're coming up on the one year anniversary of Billie's disappearance and her husband, Jonathan, is waiting for the issuance of her death certificate. But their daughter, Olive, is suddenly convinced that her mother is actually still alive. She's even having visions of her mother communicating with her, asking her to find her.Eventually Jonathan convinces himself that Billie is still alive as well, and a search for Billie ensues. The more that they look for her, the more questions arise. Did they ever know the real Billie, or was she lying to them all along?I thought that this book was okay. It's comparable to "Gone Girl" but I wouldn't say that it's quite as good. There were parts of this that I liked and parts that I didn't.I think that the author is clearly talented and this was a great idea for a book. The characters were all well-developed and it drew me in and made me want to keep reading to find out what happened.I also thought that most of the book went too slow, and some parts of it were completely unnecessary. Some of the scenes/situations didn't seem very well thought out and seemed forced.I feel like if more of the book was edited, it would've been a lot better. I still can't wait to read more from Janelle Brown because she seems like she could be a really great author.
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  • Karen
    April 12, 2017
    WATCH ME DISAPPEAR BY JANELLE BROWNBillie, her daughter Olive and Jonathan are a happy family. That is until Billie takes off for a solo hike and doesn't return. Billie is a free spirit and she has done this kind of thing before. For only a few days and she would always come home. There have been search and rescue personal searching everywhere on Desolation Mountain and the only item to be retrieved is one of Billie's hiking boots filled with water and sand. Jonathan picks up Olive everyday from WATCH ME DISAPPEAR BY JANELLE BROWNBillie, her daughter Olive and Jonathan are a happy family. That is until Billie takes off for a solo hike and doesn't return. Billie is a free spirit and she has done this kind of thing before. For only a few days and she would always come home. There have been search and rescue personal searching everywhere on Desolation Mountain and the only item to be retrieved is one of Billie's hiking boots filled with water and sand. Jonathan picks up Olive everyday from school but he has a hard time talking to Olive.A year has just passed since Billy disappeared. Jonathan is anxious to get the death certificate filled out. Then one day Olive has a striking visitation from her mother. Is this a hallucination? Is Olive psychic? It happened while Olive was in school--she sees her mother standing on a beach in a white gauzy dress. Something her mother would never wear? Olive thinks she is really seeing and talking to her mother. Billie asks Olive why she isn't looking for her? Why don't you try to find me?Olive tells her father Jonathan that she saw her mother and she spoke to her in a vision. Jonathan thinks Olive had a hallucination since it is the one year anniversary since her mother went missing. He worries for Olive's mental health. "Dad. Remember when you once told me about the importance of journalists keeping an open mind? Of --objectivity?" "No, I don't, but yes that's true." "OK. Lay it on me." "I don't think Mom's dead," "Just listen to me. I know this is going to sound crazy, but I saw her." "Olive. I see her all the time, too. Any time I pass someone on the street with hair like hers, I do a double take. Women who walk like her, or are wearing hiking gear, or have her profile. Every single time, there's a second when I'm convinced that it's really her. But it never is." "No, Dad, that's not what I meant. Listen. I saw her, but I didn't see her in person, exactly. More like a vision? Dad, don't look at me like that. Seriously. OK? I had this whole convers- ation with Mom this morning. She just appeared on this beach, wearing a dress..." "I'm confused. You were at the beach today?" "No, Dad." "I was at school, and I started feeling strange, and then ...it's hard to put into words. But essentially I looked up and I was on a beach, and Mom was there with me and she told me to come find her." "Come find her," "Yes! See? She was alive. She is alive."I don't want to ruin your reading experience by saying anything more. There is a lot more that happens. This really begs the question who are our family, really? Thank you to Net Galley, Janelle Brown and Spiegel & Grau for providing me with my digital copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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  • J E W E L S
    June 19, 2017
    Janelle Brown, the author of Watch Me Disappear, says in her Goodreads author profile that her books "tend to be page-turners with dysfunctional family relationships at their hearts." I couldn't have said that better myself. Throw in a compelling mystery and this book exceeds that description. Watch Me Disappear tugged at my own heart from the beginning with a beautifully described scene of a family of three --lying on their backs watching hundreds of butterflies cling to the eucalyptus trees du Janelle Brown, the author of Watch Me Disappear, says in her Goodreads author profile that her books "tend to be page-turners with dysfunctional family relationships at their hearts." I couldn't have said that better myself. Throw in a compelling mystery and this book exceeds that description. Watch Me Disappear tugged at my own heart from the beginning with a beautifully described scene of a family of three --lying on their backs watching hundreds of butterflies cling to the eucalyptus trees during the monarch migration through Northern California. We soon find out that one member of this family has gone missing and the book takes us on a truth finding mission that had me quickly turning the pages until the twisted end.Janelle Brown is an effortless writer. She is so good, you won't even notice the writing, and she expertly gives an authentic voice to husband Jonathan and his teenage daughter, Olive. Between these two character's roles we are left to our own speculation of what happened to missing mom, Billie. In the Prologue, the reader hears Billie's thoughts for the first time. We find out exactly what may or may not have happened to her. I loved the California setting of the book; the mountains, deserts and beaches of the West Coast are colorfully drawn. The story mostly takes place in the small city of Berkeley, with coffee shops and neighborhoods brightly depicted. There are some mean girls and high school angst issues that may appeal to the YA crowd, but the marital secrets and lies are the subjects that create the uneasy suspense in the book. The book is quick to read but the one slow wordy area is the Prologue itself. I imagine the author wanted Billie to answer every possible question the reader might still have. This last chapter was a bit too tedious for me. Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House for an advance copy of the book.
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  • Annabelle Gurwitch
    April 9, 2017
    I was lucky enough to score an advance copy of this book. As a writer of non-fiction, I sometimes dive into a novel, kind of like a sorbet, I'm looking for a palette cleanser. This did not disappoint. I don't know if this falls into a genre I'm not familiar with, so I'm not going to pretend to say how this book stacks up against other books, I'm assuming like Gone Girl, I just know that I fell in love with Billie. She's complicated and I wanted to hate her, but I didn't. I followed the twists an I was lucky enough to score an advance copy of this book. As a writer of non-fiction, I sometimes dive into a novel, kind of like a sorbet, I'm looking for a palette cleanser. This did not disappoint. I don't know if this falls into a genre I'm not familiar with, so I'm not going to pretend to say how this book stacks up against other books, I'm assuming like Gone Girl, I just know that I fell in love with Billie. She's complicated and I wanted to hate her, but I didn't. I followed the twists and turns and went for the ride. It was so much fun to lose myself in this novel. I'm a bathtub, late at night reader, and that's what I recommend. Run a hot bath, or a cool one, cause it lands in summer, get a glass of wine and stay up all night.
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  • Julie
    March 14, 2017
    This was exceptionally good, one that I easily completed in a weekend. Not a barn-burner book that makes you think about deep and meaningful aspects of life, but a well-written, semi-mystery story about a family with love and secrets and problems and everything in between. I really enjoyed Olive and Jonathan's characters. Billie not so much, but in the grand scheme of things she was more of a bit part, used to form a common thread for Olive and Jonathan to work from. It was a storyline that had This was exceptionally good, one that I easily completed in a weekend. Not a barn-burner book that makes you think about deep and meaningful aspects of life, but a well-written, semi-mystery story about a family with love and secrets and problems and everything in between. I really enjoyed Olive and Jonathan's characters. Billie not so much, but in the grand scheme of things she was more of a bit part, used to form a common thread for Olive and Jonathan to work from. It was a storyline that had me conflicted about what I wanted the ending to be, which is always refreshing- I enjoy not really knowing how I want a book to end until I actually get there and see how it ends. My biggest complaint was the plot line they threw in toward the end involving Olive - without giving anything away, I felt like it was simply a random after thought that didn't add any sort of meaningful detail to the overall story. Even so, I would recommend this one!An advance copy of this book was provided by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for any honest review.
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  • Jen
    April 6, 2017
    Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for this book in exchange for my unbiased review.Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect once I started reading. I felt it a little slow at the start and I had already read a book this year surrounding a widower dealing with his teenage daughter and what happened to wife & mom. However, this is one you don’t want to abandon. As I started reading more, Watch Me Disappear takes on a completely different tone than I was expecting. Did she? Didn’t she? Part Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for this book in exchange for my unbiased review.Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect once I started reading. I felt it a little slow at the start and I had already read a book this year surrounding a widower dealing with his teenage daughter and what happened to wife & mom. However, this is one you don’t want to abandon. As I started reading more, Watch Me Disappear takes on a completely different tone than I was expecting. Did she? Didn’t she? Part Gone Girl, part I Liked My Life, Janelle Brown definitely keeps you guessing. And right when you think you know all the answers, she throws you a curveball. Once you get into the suspense of this book, you won’t be able to put it down. You will need to know what happened to Billie Flanagan.
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  • Sue Fernandez
    March 23, 2017
    Thank you to Net Galley and Random House for this ARC in exchange for my honest review. I liked this book. It moved at a bit of a slow pace for my taste, but the characters were well developed. We never really know others as well as we might believe. I'd recommend this one.
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  • Milli (MiracleMilliReads)
    April 15, 2017
    This book had me going crazy the whole time. I was thinking I was a detective and kept trying to solve the mystery like if it was real life. This story brings so many twit and turns, but some times there were some twists with dead ends. This is the story about a Wife/Mother, Billie, goes missing on a hiking trip, conclusion dead, but with no evidence of her nobody. Her daughter Olive and her husband try to move forward with their lives, but as time passes, clues start coming up everywhere. Her h This book had me going crazy the whole time. I was thinking I was a detective and kept trying to solve the mystery like if it was real life. This story brings so many twit and turns, but some times there were some twists with dead ends. This is the story about a Wife/Mother, Billie, goes missing on a hiking trip, conclusion dead, but with no evidence of her nobody. Her daughter Olive and her husband try to move forward with their lives, but as time passes, clues start coming up everywhere. Her husband quits his job to write a presumed his loving marriage. As he begins writing, him and his daughter find things about Billie that made them question, Who were we really living with all these years? Olive gets a vision that her mom tells her to go and find her. Do they come to the memoir if she is really dead or not? the ending was a complete surprise and me over think my detective skills, but over all a really good book. I enjoyed it and looking forward to reading more books from this author.https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCADH...
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  • Glady
    April 17, 2017
    I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an impartial review.Billie Flanagan - wife, mother, and solo long-distance hiker - is gone. Nearly a year after her disappearance on the Pacific Crest Trail, readers see the devastation of her family. A lengthy search of the trail turns up few clues. Without a body, Billie's family is in a kind of a limbo, financially and legally caught between two worlds. Husband Jonathan, once a busy tech writer, quits his job to write a memoir of the love o I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an impartial review.Billie Flanagan - wife, mother, and solo long-distance hiker - is gone. Nearly a year after her disappearance on the Pacific Crest Trail, readers see the devastation of her family. A lengthy search of the trail turns up few clues. Without a body, Billie's family is in a kind of a limbo, financially and legally caught between two worlds. Husband Jonathan, once a busy tech writer, quits his job to write a memoir of the love of his life. The memoir should be a chance to process his grief but it turns into a diary of questions and second guesses. Daughter Olive, a young teen and only child, finds she no longer really fits in anywhere. School and friends become secondary as Olive begins to have visions of her mother wondering why Olive isn't looking for her. Olive's visions propel the story forward, but they were a rather distracting device.Billie's past is secretive and enigmatic. Her few stories about her history include religiously fanatic parents and a former drug dealer boyfriend. She had run away from her past and all that appeared to matter was her present with Jonathan and Olive. Now that she has disappeared, Jonathan realizes how little he actually knew his wife.Brown effectively establishes the character of Billie without the use of Billie as narrator. Everything is seen through others' eyes which adds to the mystery of Billie. Presumed dead, many authors would present someone like Billie as a sweet and gentle victim, gone too soon; Brown allows her to appear selfish, forcing readers (and her family) to question the veracity of memory and family.
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  • Giulia
    June 14, 2017
    This was a fascinating book that follows the story of Billie, a beautiful supermom living in Berkeley, who disappears into thin air while hiking one Autumn day. She leaves behind a loving husband and teenaged daughter who are suffering because of their loss. The book kept you guessing for a long time about who Billie or Sybilla really is and what really happened to her that day since she went missing. Is she really dead or she is held captive somewhere, or worse did she just run off and leave he This was a fascinating book that follows the story of Billie, a beautiful supermom living in Berkeley, who disappears into thin air while hiking one Autumn day. She leaves behind a loving husband and teenaged daughter who are suffering because of their loss. The book kept you guessing for a long time about who Billie or Sybilla really is and what really happened to her that day since she went missing. Is she really dead or she is held captive somewhere, or worse did she just run off and leave her family behind?The writing was crisp and the author made it look easy to write from the point of view of a man, a woman, and a teenaged girl. I found the story believable only because of the author's excellent writing style. The story itself was highly unlikely to happen in reality. Aside from the unique storyline and fleshed out characters, the Mom and daughter were both fans of Lois Duncan. Aaack.. I loved Lois Duncan books as a pre teen circa 1979:).. Kudos on a fantastic book-I highly recommend.Thank you to Netgalley and Random House publishers for the chance to read and review this book.
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  • Karen
    June 30, 2017
    Billie Flanagan waves goodbye to her family and heads off on a backpacking trip in the wilderness, alone. Billie doesn’t come back… The secrets and lies, guessing games and twists made for an intriguing and worthwhile reading journey. Thanks to Random House for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Nancy
    April 1, 2017
    When a woman disappears from her husband and child, they are left with no answers, dwindling funds and no death certificate. This page turner begs the question... how well can we ever really know our spouse?
  • Sara
    March 14, 2017
    Lots of twists and turns but it just went a little too slow for me.... I must admit I fell asleep a couple of times while trying to get through it. Not a bad story just... OK.
  • Trey
    April 13, 2017
    A mystery set within a narrative framework of drama and unfortunately, the two cancel each other out in terms of pace, suspense and impact. A woman's disappearance is eventually investigated when her daughter is unable to let the tragedy go and spurs her father into an unexpected journey leading to lackluster events - where "not all is as it seems". Although this fictional trend is hot nowadays, the formula has been well used in other stories and is starting to show its age. Janelle Brown's pros A mystery set within a narrative framework of drama and unfortunately, the two cancel each other out in terms of pace, suspense and impact. A woman's disappearance is eventually investigated when her daughter is unable to let the tragedy go and spurs her father into an unexpected journey leading to lackluster events - where "not all is as it seems". Although this fictional trend is hot nowadays, the formula has been well used in other stories and is starting to show its age. Janelle Brown's prose is polished and fluid and when she's not absorbed in description, can draw you in close to a character's internal world. They reach a level of complexity that make them interesting to a point, but the author spends too much time in a character's space than I care to know, when I would much rather know what happens next. After all, we're investigating a disappearance, where the story's momentum is key in keeping the reader glued to the page.'Billie', the missing person - wife to Jonathan and mother to Olive - is written as a strong woman who'll be damned if she's boxed in as an 'everyday supermom'. A woman who's larger-than-life sense of self is equal in size to the giant hole in her soul. I wasn't won over by the author's reasons for the what and why of her character, and therefore struggled to get past Billie's selfishness and egotism. Given this, I don't recommend the story, but I do recommend the author.
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