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Vanishing Acts

Vanishing Acts

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by Jodi Picoult

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New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult is widely acclaimed for her ability to tap into the hearts and minds of real people. Now she explores what happens when a young woman's past — a past she didn't even know she had — catches up to her just in time to threaten her future.
Delia Hopkins has led a charmed life. Raised in rural New


New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult is widely acclaimed for her ability to tap into the hearts and minds of real people. Now she explores what happens when a young woman's past — a past she didn't even know she had — catches up to her just in time to threaten her future.
Delia Hopkins has led a charmed life. Raised in rural New Hampshire by her widowed father, Andrew, she now has a young daughter, a handsome fiancé, and her own search-and-rescue bloodhound, which she uses to find missing persons. But as Delia plans her wedding, she is plagued by flashbacks of a life she can't recall. And then a policeman knocks on her door, revealing a secret that changes the world as she knows it.
In shock and confusion, Delia must sift through the truth — even when it jeopardizes her life and the lives of those she loves. What happens when you learn you are not who you thought you were? When the people you've loved and trusted suddenly change before your eyes? When getting your deepest wish means giving up what you've always taken for granted? Vanishing Acts explores how life — as we know it — might not turn out the way we imagined; how doing the right thing could mean doing the wrong thing; how the memory we thought had vanished could return as a threat. Once again, Jodi Picoult handles a difficult and timely topic with understanding, insight, and compassion.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Delia Hopkins was six years old when her father allowed her to be his assistant in the amateur magic act he performed at the local senior center's annual Christmas pageant. "I learned a lot that night," recalls Delia, who is now 32, at the start of Picoult's absorbing new novel (her 12th, after My Sister's Keeper). "That people don't vanish into thin air...." She has come to know this even better as an adult: she makes her living finding missing people with her own search-and-rescue bloodhound. As she prepares for her wedding, however, Delia has a flash of memory that is so vivid yet so wildly out-of-place among the other memories from her idyllic New Hampshire upbringing that she describes it to a childhood friend, who happens to be a reporter. Soon, her whole world and the world of the widowed father she adores is turned upside down. Her marriage to her toddler's father, a loving but still struggling recovering alcoholic, is put on hold as she is forced to conduct a search-and-rescue mission on her own past and identity. It will cut to the heart of what she holds to be true and good. As in previous novels, Picoult creates compelling, three-dimensional characters who tell a story in alternating voices about what it might mean to be a good parent and a good person, to be true to ourselves and those we love. Picoult weaves together plot and characterization in a landscape that is fleshed out in rich, journalistic detail, so that readers will come away with intriguing questions rather than pat answers. Author tour. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Well-oiled Picoult sets her latest expertly devised search-and-rescue tale in rural New Hampshire, where a kidnapping case is uncovered 28 years too late. As usual, Picoult (My Sister's Keeper, 2004, etc.) spins a terrifically suspenseful tale by developing just the right human-interest elements to make a workable story. Single mom Delia Hopkins works with the local Wexton police and a bloodhound named Greta to find lost children. Delia's close relationship with her divorced, 60-ish father, Andrew, who runs a senior-citizens' home, grows strained when he's suddenly arrested on kidnapping charges. The victim is Delia herself, named Bethany Matthews before her father fled with her from a drunken Mexican mother in Arizona. For 28 of her 32 years, Delia has believed her mother was dead. With Andrew extradited to Phoenix, the strange history of the case unravels, complicated by the choice of Delia's fiance, Eric (father of daughter Sophie), as Andrew's lawyer and the assignment of her childhood buddy Fitz to cover the case for his newspaper. Picoult is a thorough, perceptive writer who deliberately presents alternating viewpoints, so that the truth seems constantly to be shifting. When Delia finally meets the attractive, remarried Elise Vasquez, she can't quite vilify a woman who has been sober for many years and works as a curandera (healer). Her father's story is both suspect and understandable, especially in light of his horrific treatment in prison, caught up in the violence of rival gangs. The magnetic Eric is a recovering alcoholic who falls off the wagon when stressed, while dependable, silent lover Fitz waits in the wings for his chance. Meanwhile, Delia and Sophie make a fascinatingdigression into the mythical world of the local Hopi tribe. At times, Picoult goes over the top, allowing Sophie to get lost so that Greta can find her and, at the eleventh hour, inserting into the trial the possibility of Delia's sexual abuse . An experienced novelist takes her sweet time to rich rewards: overall, an affecting saga, nicely handled. Author tour. Agent: Laura Gross
From the Publisher
"[R]ichly textured and engaging."
The Boston Globe

"Picoult is a solid, lively storyteller."
The New York Times

"What is it about a Jodi Picoult novel that wraps the reader tighter than a spider's silk in the...intricacies of story? Never more gripping is the master plotter than in this, the story of Delia Hopkins."
— Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean

"Picoult creates a landscape that is fleshed out in rich, journalistic detail, so that readers will come away with intriguing questions."
Publishers Weekly

"[A] masterpiece."
Romantic Times

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Read an Excerpt

Vanishing Acts

By Jodi Picoult


Copyright © 2005 Jodi Picoult
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-7434-5454-5


I was six years old the first time I disappeared.

My father was working on a magic act for the annual Christmas show at the senior center, and his assistant, the receptionist who had a real gold tooth and false eyelashes as thick as spiders, got the flu. I was fully prepared to beg my father to be part of the act, but he asked, as if I were the one who would be doing him a favor.

Like I said, I was six, and I still believed that my father truly could pull coins out of my ear and find a bouquet of flowers in the folds of Mrs. Kleban's chenille housecoat and make Mr. van Looen's false teeth disappear. He did these little tricks all the time for the elderly folks who came to play bingo or do chair aerobics or watch old black-and-white movies with soundtracks that crackled like flame. I knew some parts of the act were fake - his fiddlehead mustache, for example, and the quarter with two heads - but I was one hundred percent sure that his magic wand had the ability to transport me into some limbo zone, until he saw fit to call me back.

On the night of the Christmas show, the residents of three different assisted-living communities in our town braved the cold and the snow to be bused to the senior center. They sat in a semicircle watching my father while I waited backstage. When he announced me - the Amazing Cordelia! - I stepped out wearing the sequined leotard I usually kept in my dress-up bin.

I learned a lot that night. For example, that part of being the magician's assistant means coming face-to-face with illusion. That invisibility is really just knotting your body in a certain way and letting the black curtain fall over you. That people don't vanish into thin air; that when you can't find someone, it's because you've been misdirected to look elsewhere.


Excerpted from Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult Copyright © 2005 by Jodi Picoult. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Jodi Picoult received an AB in creative writing from Princeton and a master’s degree in education from Harvard. The recipient of the 2003 New England Book Award for her entire body of work, she is the author of twenty-one novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers House Rules, Handle With Care, Change of Heart, and My Sister’s Keeper, for which she received the American Library Association’s Margaret Alexander Edwards Award. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children. Visit her website at

Brief Biography

Hanover, New Hampshire
Date of Birth:
May 19, 1966
Place of Birth:
Nesconset, Long Island, NY
A.B. in Creative Writing, Princeton University; M.A. in Education, Harvard University

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Vanishing Acts 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 333 reviews.
chanda stehlik More than 1 year ago
with the person 2 reviews down from me giving everything away, why bother buying the book? please dont do that. youre doing a real disservice to the author and to those of us who would have liked to find out what happened ourselves. a review tells what you thought of it, it doesnt retell the story and ruin it for others. thanks.
CeCeSG More than 1 year ago
Wow! This is one book that left me feeling so deeply, it's almost hard to put into words. Its the first time I've read a book by Ms. Picoult. I read it for my book club, and it's not one I would have normaly selected to read on my own... and I would have missed out. So many things stand out to me about this book. The presentation of the story from several of the character's perspective is nothing short of literary genius. It affords you the reader a fuller, broader, more well rounded story because it's all in the first person. The second thing that stands out for me was the amount of research that went into this story. Kudos to Ms. Picoult for a job exceptionally done. It added to the vibrant fabric of this well crafted story in such a natural way that it only enhanced the experience of reading it. And of course there was the story itself. I could talk about the story, the characters, the revelations. But honestly all I can think of is love. The love of a father for his daughter. The bond that such a love can create. It's about when your life is put on trial and under the microscope, what realizations, enlightenments do you come away with. If you haven't read a Ms. Picoult book start here. STATS: EBook pagers (Nook):359
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book by Jodi! Even though the other reviews say its unrealistic, i think its something you dont really expect. You should read it anyways! You be the judge of this book (:
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All of Ms. Picoult's book deal with really issuse, this book is no different. It is wonderfully written wirh strong clear voices. One of her finest books. Tugs at your heart.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was pretty good overall. Likable characters. Not sure what the point was of all the Native American references and stories. But good story overall.
Avid_Reader_TC More than 1 year ago
Can't stop reading . . . Incredible read!
mcfly2392 More than 1 year ago
This book was very good. Once again Jodi Piccoult takes what one would think of as a black and white issue and she leads you through all of the grey areas. I loved it!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I orginally bought this as a gift for my daughter, she loved it. She gave it to me afterwards. We both love Jodi Picoult and have read several of her books. Would highly recommend!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked this book and it's characters. I sometimes got sick of the narrators switching each chapter, but I liked the Dee and Andrew chapters a lot. I also felt as if there was too much history on the Native American ways. Overall I enjoyed the plot and would recommend this book. I have already started 'My Sister's Keeper' by Picoult.
Anonymous 27 days ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read 6 of Jodi Picoult's books. I've gotten tired of most of her characters being in trouble with the law (court drama, jail, prison) and I just have to give it up. In Vanishing Acts I got weary of all the tripe descriptions and I skimmed over most of it. The 'jail' part of this book just seemed really stupid to me. My favorite book of hers is House Rules, but then I worked in the field of developmental disabilities, so it drew my attention out more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not my favorite of Jodi Picoult's books, but still worth reading. Some of the information in the chapters seemed unnecessary and took away from the emotional impact of the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not as good as other books by the author
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book! My friend recommended this to me after she read it and I am so glad that she did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought the book, but it only gave me a sample of the book. I went back to the page that i bought it from, and i press read, and i go the the sample. I would apriciate help.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I **** this ******* book ( :3)
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All i can say is that this is a very good book i wont be a spioler but i jist want to say dont read this unless you are 12 or over or very very mature
Anonymous More than 1 year ago