The Moment Collector/Vanishing Season - Aly

Disclaimer: This review first appeared on my Goodreads profile

4/5 stars.
The Moment Collector

*ARC provided by NetGalley. All quotes are taken from an uncorrected copy which may change subject to publication.*

It's a crescendo. It's tragic. Because I know what it means. It means we are - I am - a piece of the past.
And I can't save anyone on Water Street.
It means I'm only here to watch.
I drift out and away again. I turn my face away from the world.
This is no place for anyone with a heart.

Brought to you by the author of Peaches and Tiger LilyThe Moment Collector is a beautifully written tale of life, our purpose and first love. 

The writing is absolutely flawless, creative and poetic. It paints a vivid picture and you can almost see the story unravel before your eyes as if you were watching it on the big screen. It enthralled me from the very first sentence: 

A key is buried under the front stairs of 208 Water Street. Scorched on one side, was it in a fire? Who lost it, and when?

A ghost is haunting Water Street in Gills Creek. She doesn't know why, or what her purpose is, or even what she has to do to finally be able to move on. The only thing the ghost knows is that she is tied to Maggie and Pauline. She thinks, maybe, it's because death is coming to one of them...

I'm part of this house, and the residents can hear me in their sleep. I rattle the dishes and creak along the floors in the dark. I turn the lights on downstairs, though they're sure they turned them off when they went to bed. I watch a leg crash through the ceiling into the darkness and I reach out to touch it. But I have no hands, no arms, nothing I can see. I wonder if I ever did.

Maggie has just moved to Doors County with her parents from Chicago. She's lonely, feeling lost when a girl appears on her porch -- Pauline. Quickly, the two become good friends:

Pauline let out a laugh - so surprising and screechy it could scrape paint off a car. That was the first moment Maggie started to like Pauline - the moment she heard her rough, husky laughter that wasn't beautiful at all.

Their friendship is intricate and strong.

This is not a ghost story. This is a -- to quote directly -- "A friendship story bound in snow and starlight, a haunting mystery of love, betrayal, redemption, and the moments that we leave behind."

There is a love triangle:

"What are your issues?"
"Loving an unattainable girl my entire life," Liam said, easily, without hesitation.

And Maggie is right in the middle of it all. 

There is a killer on the loose:

But on the front page was a story about a teenager who'd died in Whitefish Harbor, four towns over. [...] She's been found drown in the lake, floating face down, with no signs of a struggle, and the police were trying to figure out whether it was a suicide, an accident, or something more sinister.

But nothing happens in this book. This is a coming of age tale, one that will leave you empty and possibly heartbroken, one that will make you question your very own existence. It is not a ghost story, or even a scary story. It is a story of two girls, a boy and the memories they cultivate and leave behind.

A must read

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