How to Disappear by Ann Redisch Stampler

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Title: How to Disappear
Author: Ann Redisch Stampler
Release Date: June 14, 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 416
Source: ARC provided by author
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Overall: 5 STARS

This electric cross-country thriller follows the game of cat and mouse between a girl on the run from a murder she witnessed—or committed?—and the boy who’s sent to kill her.

Nicolette Holland is the girl everyone likes. Up for adventure. Loyal to a fault. And she’s pretty sure she can get away with anything...until a young woman is brutally murdered in the woods near Nicolette’s house. Which is why she has to disappear.

Jack Manx has always been the stand-up guy with the killer last name. But straight A’s and athletic trophies can’t make people forget that his father was a hit man and his brother is doing time for armed assault. Just when Jack is about to graduate from his Las Vegas high school and head east for college, his brother pulls him into the family business with inescapable instructions: find this ruthless Nicolette Holland and get rid of her. Or else Jack and everyone he loves will pay the price.

As Nicolette and Jack race to outsmart each other, tensions—and attractions—run high. Told in alternating voices, this tightly plotted mystery and tense love story challenges our assumptions about right and wrong, guilt and innocence, truth and lies.

Addictive and deviously fun, Ann Redisch Stampler's How to Disappear is an absolute adrenaline rush to read! This fast-paced thriller may be over 400 pages, but it sure didn't feel like a long book. The pages positively flew by! Told in alternating voices, the short chapters revved up the tension and thrills, and fully captured my attention until the book's unforgettable conclusion.

Jack Manx has done everything he can to distance himself from a father who was an infamous hit man and a brother currently in prison for armed assault. Straight A's and being varsity crew captain have ensured he can finally leave Las Vegas for college thousands of miles away, somewhere his last name doesn't garner so much recognition. That is, until his brother orders him to track down Nicolette Holland and kill her... or else their mother will pay the price.

Nicolette Holland is a social butterfly. Cheerleader, beautiful, wealthy—life was perfect until the night a brutal murder occurred in the woods near her home in Ohio. And now she needs to disappear. On the run and evading detection, Nicolette is scared, alone, and carrying some very dark secrets. It's unclear what happened that night, if she's innocent or guilty, but that's what made How to Disappear such an absolute blast to read!

The stakes are high... but Nicolette and Jack's attraction to each other is even hotter. Their relationship is so twisted and messed up, which made me love the book even more! Jack is caught in the middle, wishing to protect his mother and not wanting to hurt anyone, yet feeling pressured by his brother's threats. He can't stop the lust that draws him ever closer to Nicolette when they finally meet, but at the same time, he's unsure if she really did murder a girl he once knew as a child like his brother said.

As for Nicolette... well, she's a total wildcard. She's savvy enough to fall off the grid and survive for weeks on her own, but she's also impulsive and naturally an extrovert. Being alone without human contact is hard for Nicolette. And that means she makes mistakes, which is how Jack eventually catches up to her. We begin to see Nicolette more in her element, with a spitfire personality that attracts Jack like a magnet.

The ending! THE ENDING. I might've smiled with manic glee. It was just so perfect. All along, Ann Redisch Stampler had been carefully leading us on a path that just gets crazier and more dramatic, and the conclusion was so on point. Kind of ridiculous, but oh so entertaining, just like much of the book. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. I absolutely loved How to Disappear!

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