The Disappearance of Sloane Sullivan – Gia Cribbs – Harlequin Teen – Published 29 May 2018
Seventeen-year-old Sloane Sullivan has survived witness protection by learning three important lessons: blend in, don’t let anyone get too close, and follow the rules.
After nearly eight years and countless identities, blending in is easy. Now that someone has confessed to the murder she witnessed, Sloane’s been given her final identity. All she has to do is turn eighteen and coast through the last two months of her senior year without any complications, and she’ll be officially released from WITSEC. Piece of cake.
Then on her first day she runs into Jason Thomas—literally the boy next door from her childhood. She knows she shouldn’t have contact with him, but she doesn’t expect the feelings that come with seeing Jason again. Feelings of finally belonging somewhere, of remembering who she really is, and of suspicion that there’s more to the crime she witnessed than she ever knew.
Sloane knows the rule for this situation, but telling the Marshals about Jason would mean getting whisked away to yet another new identity, leaving both Jason and the future she’s painstakingly planned behind. If she can keep Jason a secret, Sloane has a chance to take back her life in a way that she never imagined possible. But doing so puts both their lives at risk: the closer Sloane gets to Jason, the more she remembers and the clearer it becomes that someone is still after her.
The Disappearance of Sloane Sullivan is a mystery thriller with some amazing twists that I never saw coming and it touches upon some pretty dark crimes, but on the whole it is quite a lighthearted book, focusing on interpersonal relationships, high-school drama, and romance. The Disappearance of Sloane Sullivan is an easy book to read and enjoy, with a likeable main protagonist and some intense relationships.
Sloane knows how to stay hidden in plain sight. This move and name change will be her nineteenth in eight years, ever since she witnessed a horrible crime and was forced to enter witness protection. Now Sloane is restarting her final year of high school, counting down the weeks until she will be finally free, but is thrown when one of the first people she meets is her childhood best friend, Jason Thomas. Sloane is convinced she can maintain her new identity to prevent having to move again, but staying means putting Jason in danger and risking her own future.
The Disappearance of Sloane Sullivan starts with a bang and a seriously awesome prologue. Immediately gripping and then downright clever, I was hooked right from the very first page and couldn’t wait to jump into the rest of the story. The details of Sloane’s life emerge slowly, woven through the story of Sloane starting yet another high school and through flashback snippets from the past eight years.
It’s made clear early on that Sloane has limited memories of the crime that landed her in witness protection in the first place. Throughout the book it is obvious that there is far more to the story than we readers are presented with and even Sloane understands of remembers. I knew something wasn’t right, but I certainly couldn’t predict the way in which it would all unfold.
Despite the mystery of the original crime witnessed and the gradual unveiling of the events and the slow return of Sloane’s memories, the focus of this book is on relationships – those that Sloane builds with her new classmates, the close relationship Sloane shares with her handler, the friendship she once shared with Jason and the quickly returning feelings she has for him, and multiple high school romances and drama. The only relationships that I felt were missing was that of any sense of closeness Sloane had with her family. I didn’t buy into her grief (or lack there of) and it seemed she was very accepting of the distance between her family and herself. For that reason, I didn’t totally understand one aspect of the ending -though the other reveal was fun.
While the crimes detailed within the story were grave, the book retains a lightness and levity -in part due to the focus on high school and things outside of the crime, but also due to Sloane’s personality. She is easy to like, confident, and has some awesome martial arts skills she employs when needed. I didn’t like, however, that every other female in the book, bar a few who get very limited page time, were contrasted negatively with Sloane. They all seemed petty or downright vindictive, leaving Sloane to have her pick between a variety of nice guys. A little unrealistic and once sided, I though, but it certainly brings plenty of drama to this mystery novel.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading The Disappearance of Sloane Sullivan. I enjoyed the mystery offset with a high school focus, the twists were entertaining and the writing style engaging. While I did have to suspend my disbelief a few times, rolling with the flow and style of this novel was easy for enjoyment’s sake.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Witness protection, crime, high school, relationships, murder, romance, coming of age.
Reading age guide: Ages 13 and up.
Advisory: Sexual references, discussions about sleeping together and virginity. Occasional coarse language, sh** (10), pi**(4). Violence – death, murder, shootings, guns, injury and blood.
Published: 29 May 2018 by Harlequin Teen.
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 384 pages.