The Disappearances, Emily Bain Murphy – Book Review

The Disappearances

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30971685What 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.

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*ARC received as a part of a blog tour. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*

Where do I even begin? Gosh! This book is so amazing. I love it. I adore it. I just have a lot of feels for it. Okay? So, yes, this will have a lot of flailing, because that’s what I do best!

Let’s start with the plot – so fucking genius. Like, really. It is absolutely amazing with the right amount of mystery and magic and fantasy and romance and friendship and family. This book has it all. And they all form such an important part of the story and the characters that it’s just amazing. I love how the author went about hashing everything out and how she had all these amazing characters who were so very important in their own way. And I loved that all the subplots just meshed so well with the story. Nothing felt forced or out of place or anything. It was like this was meant to happen, you know? So, of course, so many points for such an amazing plot. And then, brownie points because she took such an amazing plot and then meshed it with the brilliance of Shakespeare and literature and made it into a treasure hunt. So, yes, amazing af plot, okay?

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Okay, moving on. The writing. It was so structured. And it flowed so well. The chapters were written in alternating POVs and I never felt that it deterred me. I haven’t read fantasy with changing POVs so it was new for me, but it didn’t take anything away from the story like I was afraid it would. And, there was clear distinction in who’s side a particular chapter was, even though the author didn’t go with the traditional XYZ POV on top of each new chapter. But, there were different markers and it made it very easy for me to understand what was going on.

And then, there’s the characters. Aila is such a good MC. She’s not particularly miss goody – two – shoes, but she stays out of trouble. However, she doesn’t think twice before sneaking out of the house at night to go race. She loves her little brother, but they argue so much and there’s times that she’s so mad at him that she’ll say something and he’ll say something and the whole thing will just blow over. And she is so passionate about reading, like all of us. She is always, always, always reading something or the other and that’s nice. Then, of course, there is her need – want – to clear her mother’s name from the blame game of the Disappearances that happen in Sterling and the lengths she goes to to do that. She’s determined, yeah. All in all, she has the makings of an amazing MC who comes off as a real person with flaws and contradictions. She’s absolutely amaze. I really like her.

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The love interest, Will, is a little less likeable. He does the typical fuckboy things and pulls Aila in and then pushes her away, but he’s a nice boy overall. He gives Aila all these thoughtful presents and he makes sure to include her in stuff seeing as she’s new to town. He takes care of Aila’s brother, Miles too. He always makes them feel welcome in his home and he’s passionate about finding variants to substitute the Disappearances just like his father. He’s a good friend. And though he gets irrationally jealous at times and does stupid things (come on! He’s 17 for god’s sake, of course he’s going to be stupid!), overall, he’s a nice a guy. The romance between them is so cute and there are a few scenes that just make me want to go inside this book and hug Will because he was being so thoughtful and caring towards Aila and it melted my heart.

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I like the open endedness of the book. Aila has helped Sterling with all that she could, but now it’s time to go back home. What will happen once she does? We haven’t a clue. Will her relationship with Will survive? And her friendships with the townsfolk that were forged during her time in Sterling? We don’t know. How will she cope being in her house without her mother? What will her father think of what happened? We don’t know anything about this. I like that. Aila herself is just 17 and she has the whole world ahead of her. She could do anything, be anything and her story could end anywhere. So, I think the open ending was pretty resonating. I like that.

All in all, this was an amazing book and you should definitely read it. Go, buy it now!

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14865445Emily 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.

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  • 3 copies of The Disappearances
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