Book Reviews

Review: The Vanishing Station by Ana Ellickson

If you love a story that feels magical in every moment, pick up The Vanishing Station. It’s almost like you could get sucked into this world at a wrong turn. If you get on the wrong train car. Keep reading this book review of The Vanishing Station for my full thoughts.


Eighteen-year-old Filipino American Ruby Santos has been unmoored since her mother’s death. She can’t apply to art school like she’s always dreamed, and she and her father have had to move into the basement of their home and rent out the top floor while they work to pay back her mother’s hospital bills.

Then Ruby finds out her father has been living a secret life as a delivery person for a magical underworld—he “jumps” train lines to help deliver packages for a powerful family. Recently, he’s fallen behind on deliveries (and deeper into alcoholism), and if his debts aren’t satisfied, they’re going to take her mother’s house. In an effort to protect her father and save all that remains of her mother, Ruby volunteers to take over her dad’s station and start jumping train lines.

But this is no ordinary job. Ruby soon realizes that the trains are much more than doors to romance and they’re also doors to trafficking illicit goods and fierce rivalries. As she becomes more entangled with the magical underworld and the mysterious boy who’s helped her to learn magic, she realizes too late that she may be in over her head. Can she free her father and save her mother’s house? Or has she only managed to get herself pulled into the dangerous web her father was trapped in?


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Ellickson brings the magic to the everyday and introduces an underworld of couriers and favors. I could not help but be sucked into this world of magical train jumping and of being transported across the world(s). It feels like a shade of our world, like ours on a wrong turn. Or maybe we’re the wrong turn. In The Vanishing Station, Ruby is also struggling with the grief of her own mother and the family she left behind. Her dad is trying his best, but he doesn’t show up for her, his drinking and bargaining forcing her hand.

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Her relationship with her dad and their ideas of home was my second favorite element. I loved how we can see their love, their memories, and the ways they don’t understand each other. If you love a YA contemporary fantasy with complex family dynamics, check out The Vanishing Station. Find The Vanishing Station on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, Blackwells, & Libro. fm.


What is your favorite contemporary fantasy?

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