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.
**** Big thank you to HMH Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review****
I’m not normally a big fan of historical fiction or magical realism but with this book I found myself really enjoying both genres. Overall the word that comes to mind with “The Disappearances” would be delightful (the finishing word, if you will *book inside joke*)!
First of all one of the downsides to this story is that it’s a little on the slower side with not a whole lot going on or a whole lot of action. However, the mystery of the Disappearances is definitely interesting enough to keep reading until the end. There are also quite a few little twists that I definitely didn’t figure out and while they weren’t mind blowing they were still exciting and tied things together.
The overall plot, as I said already, was very intriguing and well developed. I really enjoyed all of the Shakespeare themed tie ins and they get even better right at the end! Although speaking of the ending while I did like it I also felt it was pretty rushed, I mean here we were taking our sweet time for 400 pages and then all of a sudden it’s all resolved? It all made perfect sense fortunately but it just felt a little too soon.
The premise and the execution were well done and I really liked how unique the whole story was. A town being plagued by things such as colors, smells, and reflections disappearing is a really interesting concept! The way the townspeople deal with these things are also neat and this is where the “magical realism” aspect of the stories come into play but that’s all I will say!
I liked the writing style as well it was simple, easy to follow, and flowed nicely. It’s hard to believe that this is only Emily Bain Murphy’s debut novel, I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for her future books!
I liked the characters they were all so…..adorable and sweet. Although everyone was pretty plain but definitely not in a bad way they just felt a little tedious at times.
Aila was a decent protagonist and I liked how she was pretty feisty at times. It was nice to see a YA heroine who had her head on straight!
As for all of the secondary characters: I really liked them. Dr. and Mrs. Cliffton were amazing and so were Will, Beas, George, and even Eliza. Everyone was developed well enough but not so much that they felt very complex.
I actually really enjoyed the romance in “The Disappearances” which is really saying something! It was very much a slow-burn romance and I adore the friends to lovers trope. It also helps that I loved both Aila and Will separately and I thought they were really cute together.
Seriously though the key words here are: slow burn.
What I Loved:
- The premise and overall execution
- The “world building” or magic aspects
- The writing
- Shakespeare tie-ins
- The characters were all great
- The romance was fantastic and slow burn
What I Didn’t Love:
- The slow pacing
- The ending felt kind of rushed
I really recommend checking this book out if you’re a fan of historical fiction, magical realism, and books that have very unique plots!