The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy
Published by: HMH Books for Young Readers
Date of Publication: July 4th 2017
Genres: YA Historical/Fantasy/Mystery
What if the ordinary things in life suddenly…disappeared?
Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery: vibrant yet guarded, she keeps her secrets beyond Aila’s reach. When Juliet dies, Aila and her younger brother Miles are sent to live in Sterling, a rural town far from home–and the place where Juliet grew up.
Sterling is a place with mysteries of its own. A place where the experiences that weave life together–scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream–vanish every seven years.
No one knows what caused these “Disappearances,” or what will slip away next. But Sterling always suspected that Juliet Quinn was somehow responsible–and Aila must bear the brunt of their blame while she follows the chain of literary clues her mother left behind.
As the next Disappearance nears, Aila begins to unravel the dual mystery of why the Disappearances happen and who her mother truly was. One thing is clear: Sterling isn’t going to hold on to anyone’s secrets for long before it starts giving them up.
I’ve always loved books that take place in small towns where generations of families have lived weaving their own stories. A lot of the times it becomes a game of separating fact from fiction. In The Disappearances we get introduced to the town of Sterling, a place shrouded in mystery and most unwelcoming to any newcomers.
Unfortunately, our main protagonist Aila & her 8 year old brother Miles have just lost their mother after taking ill & their father has just been drafted. Set against the backdrop of the 1940’s, World War II has just begun and we see a bit of the daily affects on American life. Since Miles is known to be a mischievous child, their dad ends up having to leave them in the care of Juliet’s (Aila & Miles mother) childhood best friend in another town. Aila & Miles leave behind the only home they’ve ever known to stay with people they don’t really know. The town of Sterling isn’t too happy about their arrival either for reasons the siblings have yet to uncover. From the minute they step foot in the town, all manner of strange occurrences take place & observant Aila is taking notes. They are taken in by the Cliftons, a very important & well respected family in Sterling. It isn’t long before The Cliftons explain to Aila that every 7 years, Sterlings residents (born & raised) lose something of value. At the time of their arrival, the towns people have already lost scent, reflections, and the night skies stars. The Disappearances is at its core a mystery as Aila sets out to find the answers that may or may not clear her mothers name from the list of possible Catalysts, after all…it all had to start somewhere…
Aila- is a bookworm who reads mostly classics and Poetry, she’s what is considered a good kid. When her & Miles are uprooted and taken to live with The Cliftons, she becomes very protective of her little brother Miles. While reminiscing on things their mother used to do with them to mark special occasions, she looks for ways to keep them going for Miles. I loved seeing them bicker & have a normal sibling relationship. They had moments where they didn’t speak over petty things but ultimately she made sure they made up fairly soon after.
Miles- 8 years old and missing his mother terribly is trying to hang on to her memory. He may have been known for mischief in his old town & still gets into trouble here & there but overall really wants to be happy with the Cliftons who have welcomed them with open arms.
Will, Beas, & George- 1 plays a love interest, 1 is a new friend for Aila, and the other is a friend who sort of has feelings for Aila but also has other passions renting space in his mind 😉
The Cliftons- knowing they would face much controversy for taking in Juliet’s kids, the Cliftons opened their doors & their hearts to Aila & Miles. This family is actually really special for a very important reason but that would be spoilery, instead I’ll just say that I loved this entire family. They put others needs before their own & overall just ROCK!
Towns People- I honestly came to understand these folk after spending so much time with them lol. Juliet wasn’t the only person to be accused of starting “the curse” as some call The Disappearances. Many other theories evolved over time and many prominent families were added to the list of potential catalysts. Besides the typical small town gossip & drama, these people did really band together in time of need.
It seems 2017 is the year of discovering many new authors with amazing stories to tell! The Disappearances took me by surprise in that I wasn’t expecting to be pulled into the mystery to the point I was at the edge of my seat in anticipation for the next Disappearance. This by no means is a fast paced book, rather it’s slow winding while still holding you in its grasp. I really felt for these people who were losing some of the most basic under appreciated wonders of life. I found myself Imagining what it would be like to not be able to see my reflection or smell my food…they lose way more than this. Ultimately I found the way it wrapped up to be very unique, I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like this before. Lastly, as a bookworm I’ll say that this will appeal to those who love solving a good mystery filled with literary references and a bit of magic 😉
*Thank you HMH Books for Young Readers, Edelweiss, and Emily Bain Murphy for the eGalley in exchange for an honest review
Lovely Bookworms! who has already read The Disappearances? Thoughts? did you see that ending coming? or were you pleasantly surprised as I was?
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