Book Reviews, YA book reviews

Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall – ARC Review


My Rating ~ Four and a half stars

RELEASE DATE:  01 October 2019

Publisher: Walker Books Australia

Format: Paperback

Pages: 393

RRP:  AU$16.99



In the faux-documentary style of The Blair Witch Project comes the campfire story of a missing girl, a vengeful ghost, and the girl who is determined to find her sister–at all costs.

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.





Thank you so much to Walker Books Australia for providing me with a copy of Rules for Vanishing, in exchange for an honest review.


Everyone knows the old story about Lucy Gallows, how she walked into the woods one day and never came out.  Her brother saw her walk away with a strange man, but no-one ever saw her again.  The tale has evolved into a ghost story over time, they say Lucy was following a road and still haunts it today.

Sara’s sister disappeared a year ago, on the same day of the year Lucy went missing, and Sara fears her sister was following Lucy’s legend. When a strange text message arrives, hinting at an answer to the mystery, Sara and her friends head into the woods to follow the road themselves.  As they desperately try to follow the rules of the road, what they find there is more terrifying than any of them could have imagined.

Rules for Vanishing was an incredible, atmospheric and creepy read.  The story is told in interview transcripts, video commentary, snippets of Sara’s memory and from different points of view.  It works so well to give an overall picture and reveal secrets along the way, that other characters are not yet aware of.   Many horror novels I’ve read, especially YA ones, are unsettling but don’t really deliver much in the way of true horror.  Rules for Vanishing delivered on both the creeping dread and the truly shocking horror elements.

I seriously did not want to put this book down.  Nor did I want to put it down and go to bed…in the dark.  Touted as The Blair Witch Project meets Stranger Things (and I’d also add Pan’s Labyrinth vibes), this book is perfect for lovers of creepy and unsettling stories that will stay with you long after the lights go out.  I won’t be visiting the forests any time soon!

If you’re looking to pick up a book perfect for Halloween, this is it!




Rules for Vanishing

Photo from my Instagram account

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