Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy

The Disappearances
by Emily Bain Murphy
♦publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
♦release date: July 4th, 2017
♦hardcover, 400 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: from publisher for honest review
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.

Review: There are times when I feel like I need to rate books is "gasps".  I love when a story and it's characters has me so wrapped up and invested in what's going on that it actually pulls a gasp from my lips at all it's little twists and turns and revelations....several times in the case of The Disappearances.  From the synopsis, I knew I might like this one, but I had no idea how much it would make me love it. 

I had no idea this was going to be a historical setting, so that was a welcome surprise.  The 1940s WWII era is one of my favorites to read about because it adds just one more layer of tension and emotion for it's characters, even if, as it is in this case, it's really more on the peripheral of the story. Aila's father is drafted and they are sent to an old friend of their mother's to stay.  What she finds there is a town caught in a horrible curse, families desperate to deflect blame away from themselves, and things she never knew about her mother.  

The writing is absolutely gorgeous--the setting, the magical curse, and the high-running emotions make for a kind of ethereal dreamy feeling, but there are also parts that are very grounded as Aila does what she can to settle into a new town and school. The concept is really creative...losing things that are so basic but so precious that they often get taken for granted: colors, scents, stars. And there are two disappearances later on that truly had me in tears (no spoilers! ;D) . But, prepared to have your heart ripped out a few times in this story. It was also a creative twist in the way the people of Sterling dealt with the Disappearances. By pure ingenuity and determination to not let it beat them.  Aila jumps right in, using clues in her mothers Shakespeare book to both help unravel the curse and to clear her mothers name.

In all of this, Aila finds many things, a closeness to her mother's past, a new sense of family and good friends, a boldness in herself, and a surprising brush with love.  Needless to say, I loved this one and highly recommend to those who love stories full of family secrets, gorgeous writing, historical settings. Shakespeare, mystery, a slow burning romance, wonderful characters, and a reminder of the little things that make life beautiful.  


Emily Bain Murphy grew up in Indiana, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, and has also called Massachusetts and Connecticut home.

She loves books, Japanese karaoke, exploring new cities, and anything with Nutella. Her debut YA fantasy, THE DISAPPEARANCES, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2017.

Murphy currently lives in San Francisco with her family and is at work on her second novel.


Purchase The Disappearances:
 Indiebound   •  Amazon  •  Book Depository


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