Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Emily Bain Murphy
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
When Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, dies, Aila and her brother are sent to live with the Clifftons in Sterling, Juliet’s childhood home. They very quickly realize that Sterling is a town full of mystery and tragedy. Every seven years, something important disappears: scents, reflections, colors, music, etc. No one knows the cause of these Disappearances, but Sterling harbors suspicions that Juliet was somehow responsible. Following a chain of clues her mother left behind, Aila determines to break the curse and clear her mother’s name. Realizing the Disappearances are mysteriously linked to Shakespeare, Aila teams up with a few friends (and some enemies) to finally put the Bard to rest, bring back the things that have disappeared, and find love and family amid tragedy and grief.
The Disappearances is a fantastic novel. The storyline is so completely original and unique, and the author’s style is gorgeous and captivating. Aila Quinn is a very real heroine, spunky with a tragic past. She has insecurities, she often fights with her little brother, and she has a seemingly unattainable crush. Aila is courageous and resilient and is still learning how to deal with grief. The book is full of intrigue and mystery that unfolds at a perfect pace. The tiny, precise details and captivating backstory make the world come alive. This book combines classic elements with modern storytelling to create something that feels both familiar and exciting—a perfect marriage of magic and the mundane. It is hard to believe that The Disappearances is Emily Bain Murphy’s debut novel. This author is one to look out for!
*Contains mild violence.