ARC Book Review: Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown

Release Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Format: Kindle
Pages: 368 pages
Genre: Fiction/ Mystery
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover


Who you want people to be makes you blind to who they really are.

It’s been a year since Billie Flanagan—a Berkeley mom with an enviable life—went on a solo hike in Desolation Wilderness and vanished from the trail. Her body was never found, just a shattered cellphone and a solitary hiking boot. Her husband and teenage daughter have been coping with Billie’s death the best they can: Jonathan drinks as he works on a loving memoir about his marriage; Olive grows remote, from both her father and her friends at the all-girls school she attends.

But then Olive starts having strange visions of her mother, 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 understood about his wife. Who was the woman he knew as Billie Flanagan?


There are a lot of layers to this book.

Billie Flanagan disappeared a year ago, only her boot was found leaving her husband and her 16 year old daughter to heal and grow. But just as they are about to declare Billie dead her daughter Olive starts having visions of her mother or are they just delusions from a seizure?. Her father Jonathan decides to humor his daughter and look into some of her claims and what he finds leaves him reeling.  Who was Billie? She certainly wasn't the woman he thought he knew is she really dead or did she really just leave them to start over again.

The answers to all these questions are answered as the layers are slowly peeled back even until the last page.  I usually whip through books like this but this one while interesting seemed to take me longer to read.  I think there was a lot of filler that could be paired down to get us where the author wanted us to be.

This book seems to be about family and what holds them together.  The lies that create small tears in the fabric as it is woven together into a family and if you tell enough lies the fabric becomes weak and starts to tear and break down. The question is what to do next.

Olive seems like a typical teenager, angsty and upset that her mother is gone and troubled by these vision of her mother still being alive. Jonathan fell in love with a wild and adventurous woman who he is so afraid of losing he doesn't see the warning signs that something is very wrong. All the other characters orbit around these 2 in a messy way that sometimes seems forced and other times just seems out of place.

Overall this book was interesting and kept my attention.  The ending was a bit of a surprise....but was it really? What did you think?

Disclaimer: I received an advanced readers copy of this book from the publisher through in exchange for an honest review.