Synopsis from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Website:
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.
About: The Disappearances is a magical realism novel written by Emily Bain Murphy. It will be published on 7/4/17 by HMH Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 400 pages. The genres are young adult, fiction, magical realism, and fantasy. This book is the author’s debut novel and is intended for readers ages 12 and up, grades 7 and up. According to the publisher’s website, “HMH is an organization rooted in purpose and strengthened by passion. Our values drive our decisions, shape our strategies and shine through in everything we do: Curiosity, Commitment, Effectiveness and Reliability, Learning, Performance, and Best in Class.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading The Disappearances on 6/19/17 and finished it on 6/22/17. I love reading this book! It has just enough mystery sprinkle in the flow of the story that makes me want to read on and on. The characters are all likeable. The plot is interesting. There are enough actions and adventures to give me adrenaline rush and suspense. This is my first magical realism read and I enjoyed it a lot!
“When just the right things come together, there is always a bit of magic. And when just the wrong combination of things do.. there is tragedy.” p116
In this book, readers will follow the point of view of Aila Quinn, 15 years old as she says goodbye to her father who is leaving to go to the warfront. Aila is catching a train to Sterling with her younger brother Miles to live with her late mother’s best friend, Matilda Cliffton. Not long since they moved into the Cliffton’s household, they started noticing strange things. Miles noticed that flowers doesn’t give off any scents and Aila noticed that she doesn’t see her reflection in the water fountain. Matilda then explained to Aila and her brother what happened in Sterling is called The Disappearances, that every 7 years, something disappears from their life. One time the people in the town can’t smell anything and the next seven years dreams disappears. It has been 35 years and no one understand what caused it and no one knows what will disappear when the next 7 years comes. There are 3 towns that The Disappearances affected: Sheffield, Sterling, and Corrander. One person that the townsfolks like to blame is Juliet Quinn, Aila and Miles’ mother because she is the only person not affected by The Disappearances. Others have tried to leave town but what disappeared for them in Sterling also disappeared for them no matter where they live. The people just continue to stay in Sterling and accept their fate. Matilda’s husband, Malcolm is an inventor and he able to invent Variants that brings back what disappeared from them, even only temporary. This year, The Disappearances occurred out of the norms because as soon as music disappears from their life, something else disappears soon after. And then a fourth town is affected and what had disappeared for the 3 previous towns every 7 years, it happens to the fourth town all at once. People are nervous and Aila believes that she’s close to understand how it all began.
“I feel a surge of euphoria, terrifying and addictive, every time I think of him. It’s almost like being hit with a Variant: a pure shot of joy, bottled and shimmering, multiplying even as I try to empty it from my hand.” p302
This book is very well written. I love Shakespeare’s involvement. I love the finishing word concept. I like the alternating point of views. I love the little drawn hearts and riddles. I like Aila and her friends George and Bea. They are awesome supporting characters. I like Aila and her friends as they work through the problem to unravel the mystery. This story is different from anything I have read and I couldn’t devour it fast enough. I highly recommend everyone to read this book!
Pro: mystery, page turner, couldn’t put down, family, friendship, light romance, Shakespeare
I rate it 5 stars!
About the Author:
Emily Bain Murphy grew up in Tokyo and Hong Kong, graduated from Tufts with a major in creative writing, and now lives in San Francisco with her family. The Disappearances is Emily’s debut novel. Visit her at emilybainmurphy.com and on Twitter at @EBain. (Photo obtained from Goodreads and Info obtained from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt website).
More information about Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.