The Disappearances
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.

The Disappearances Details

TitleThe Disappearances
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 4th, 2017
PublisherHMH Books for Young Readers
ISBN0544879368
ISBN-139780544879362
Number of pages400 pages
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Fantasy

The Disappearances Review

  • Luke Taylor
    December 20, 2016
    So what is The Disappearances?A cryptic carousel of entendre and experience, mystery and memory, love and loss, hatred and hope, chance and choice, science and a summons of the sublime, where secrets have been left to grow fetid in their dusky shadows and familial wounds have woven a spell around a quartet of towns like a cerulean ribbon in a young girl’s plaited hair, Emily Bain Murphy’s glimmering debut shines and sparkles with every sort of magic under the stars. Her literary gifts clearly ev So what is The Disappearances?A cryptic carousel of entendre and experience, mystery and memory, love and loss, hatred and hope, chance and choice, science and a summons of the sublime, where secrets have been left to grow fetid in their dusky shadows and familial wounds have woven a spell around a quartet of towns like a cerulean ribbon in a young girl’s plaited hair, Emily Bain Murphy’s glimmering debut shines and sparkles with every sort of magic under the stars. Her literary gifts clearly evident from the very onset, Emily displays a mastery the craft in a swirl of subtlety and serenity, spookiness and sensuality, giving everything in The Disappearances the impression of dreamy cinema verite.Stephen King once said, “Good books do not give up their secrets all at once.” – and to summarize the plot and themes and box this book up in a neat little package would be cruel and inhuman. Read the book and watch it unwrap itself, as if kissed by the very fingers of the wind, curling itself around you to hold you captive until you finish it. Fully stocked with metaphors (many of them of the avian variety!) and a deeply embedded code that will thrill the most extreme literature enthusiasts (be still my beating heart and blame The Bard for being such a catalyst to the author), Emily’s origami prose is so good it might inspire you to write portions of it on your thigh. Trust me on that one. I really, really love this book and it really got me. Like it understood me and what I wanted and what I needed. It opened itself up to me and showed me all of its colors in a gray gray world. It reminded me of all the things I hold dear and all the things I believe. It inspired me and entertained me in equal measure and it sure as snow made me feel good. My deepest gratitude to Emily Bain Murphy for carving and crafting and creating such a wonderful and profound novel (and letting me support what I predict to be its amazing journey into the hearts and minds of readers and their bulging bookshelves), and to Edelweiss for providing me with an ARC of this inimitable book.Recommended for everyone.
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  • Lindsay Cummings
    March 5, 2017
    Lovely and well written story! I had no idea it was a historical until I got into it, which actually made me pleasantly surprised. So many great lessons in this one!
  • Jasmine from How Useful It Is
    June 22, 2017
    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. 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 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. 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.” p116In 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.” p302This 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, ShakespeareCon: noneI rate it 5 stars!***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.xoxo, Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for a detailed review
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  • Eve Recinella (Between The Bookends)
    February 23, 2017
    Great cover on this book. It is simple, but a great representation of the story and it has some unique title work.I am not sure, but it appears as if this book is the author's debut. Perhaps she writes under a different pen name? In any case, I was beyond impressed with this story. When I requested this ARC, I wasn't aware that this was going to be set back in the 1940's. I may have passed it over had I known that and what a missed opportunity that would have been!The writing was fantastic. The Great cover on this book. It is simple, but a great representation of the story and it has some unique title work.I am not sure, but it appears as if this book is the author's debut. Perhaps she writes under a different pen name? In any case, I was beyond impressed with this story. When I requested this ARC, I wasn't aware that this was going to be set back in the 1940's. I may have passed it over had I known that and what a missed opportunity that would have been!The writing was fantastic. The plot was unique and intricate. Layer by layer the author peels away the mystery of the Disapperences in such a way that it has you turning the pages frantically. There is magic and friendships. Interesting secondary characters. Twists and turns. A smidge of young romance. Well developed and likable main characters. And finally SHAKESPEARE! How can I NOT love a book that brings the Bard into the mix? Two HUGE thumbs up from yours truly.
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  • Chelsea Sedoti
    March 18, 2016
    If I would have read THE DISAPPEARANCES as a teenager, I would have been obsessed. I would have gathered herbs to mix Variants. I would have drawn hearts on my arm and read every bit of Shakespeare I could get my hands on. I would have pretended I lived in Sterling and ignored the rational part of my brain that told me THE DISAPPEARANCES was only a book. Because I would have desperately wanted it to be real.To be fair, even as an adult I’m pretty obsessed with THE DISAPPEARANCES—I’m just a littl If I would have read THE DISAPPEARANCES as a teenager, I would have been obsessed. I would have gathered herbs to mix Variants. I would have drawn hearts on my arm and read every bit of Shakespeare I could get my hands on. I would have pretended I lived in Sterling and ignored the rational part of my brain that told me THE DISAPPEARANCES was only a book. Because I would have desperately wanted it to be real.To be fair, even as an adult I’m pretty obsessed with THE DISAPPEARANCES—I’m just a little more reasonable in my obsession. You know, gushing about how much I love the book instead of actively trying to live in the world Emily Bain Murphy created. THE DISAPPEARANCES is magical. It’s beautiful and melancholy, and filled with gorgeous writing that captivated me from the very first page. I was charmed by Aila, the tragic (but optimistic) main character. I was charmed by Sterling, the mysterious town where Aila is sent to live after her mother’s death. And the Disappearances themselves were so creative and wonderful and terrible that they blew me away. I’m actually sure not how to talk about this book without spoilers. And I really don’t want to spoil anything. I only knew a little bit about it before reading, and discovering more along the way was such a pleasure that I’d hate to deny someone else the same experience. This book isn’t, like, a twisty thriller, of course. But it’s filled with so many beautiful surprises. Parts of THE DISAPPEARANCES were heartbreaking. Parts were thrilling and uplifting. And every bit of it was completely enchanting. It’s the kind of book that’ll stay with you long after you finish reading. I wish I could say more. I want to gush about every single part of this book. But I’ll let everyone find out for themselves how incredible it is. Because it is incredible. The only think I dislike about THE DISAPPEARANCES is that I can’t actually climb into the pages and live there.
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  • Stacee
    June 2, 2017
    I was instantly interested in this premise and was quite eager to get to it. I really liked Aila. She's heartbroken and kind of feisty and I was really intrigued by what was going on. I fully enjoyed being in her head. There are several other characters and a few definitely stood out, but I don't want to ruin anything. Plot wise, it's captivating and slow at the same time. There's a quiet anticipation that I wasn't expecting as each revelation comes sandwiched in between scenes of normal life li I was instantly interested in this premise and was quite eager to get to it. I really liked Aila. She's heartbroken and kind of feisty and I was really intrigued by what was going on. I fully enjoyed being in her head. There are several other characters and a few definitely stood out, but I don't want to ruin anything. Plot wise, it's captivating and slow at the same time. There's a quiet anticipation that I wasn't expecting as each revelation comes sandwiched in between scenes of normal life like school and family dinner. There was a different POV that confused me at first, but eventually I settled into it. And I have an insane and absolute love for what it is, how things get resolved, and the last chapter. Overall, it was something unique and lovely. I can't wait to see other things Emily comes up with. **Huge thanks to HMH Books for Young Readers for providing the arc free of charge**
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  • Anna Priemaza
    March 17, 2016
    I loved this book to pieces! Loved loved loved it!I coveted this book from the moment I first read the description, and I was over the moon when I got it early--but also a bit nervous because I knew my expectations were set excessively high and it'd be hard to meet them. I needn't have worried. This book met my high expectations and blew them out of the water.This book is gorgeous. It's haunting. It's terrible and beautiful and wonderful. I cried numerous times. I got stupid, giddy grins on my f I loved this book to pieces! Loved loved loved it!I coveted this book from the moment I first read the description, and I was over the moon when I got it early--but also a bit nervous because I knew my expectations were set excessively high and it'd be hard to meet them. I needn't have worried. This book met my high expectations and blew them out of the water.This book is gorgeous. It's haunting. It's terrible and beautiful and wonderful. I cried numerous times. I got stupid, giddy grins on my face and felt like my heart was going to burst.I'm not going to say a thing about the plot because every moment feels like a spoiler. Just know that this book is gorgeous. And riveting. And perfection.
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  • Warrengent
    February 25, 2017
    Believe the hype about this book, it was absolutely beautiful in every way possible.I found it physically impossible to put it down.
  • Breeana Shields
    February 17, 2017
    I'm not sure I have words to properly describe how much I loved this book. It was simply perfection---literally the only thing I didn't like about it was that it ended. The writing is gorgeous. The author adds tiny, precise details that make the world and the characters come alive--it was breathtaking and masterfully done.And the story itself was fascinating and utterly unique. Don't read too many reviews about the plot before you dive in. This book is full of intrigue and mystery and is best ex I'm not sure I have words to properly describe how much I loved this book. It was simply perfection---literally the only thing I didn't like about it was that it ended. The writing is gorgeous. The author adds tiny, precise details that make the world and the characters come alive--it was breathtaking and masterfully done.And the story itself was fascinating and utterly unique. Don't read too many reviews about the plot before you dive in. This book is full of intrigue and mystery and is best experienced without knowing too much ahead of time.I have a feeling Emily Bain Murphy is going to be an auto-buy author for me. This book just worked for me on every level. Highly, highly recommended.
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  • Cale Dietrich
    May 18, 2016
    Oh, what a magical book this was. I loved it so much. Upon starting The Disappearances, I was instantly transported into its totally charming and intriguing world of magic and Variants and family secrets. It’s such a compelling, original world, and The Disappearances themselves are so inventive and wonderfully scary. With the addition to fantastic characters, this all combines to make a book that feels like it’s breaking new ground for YA, by combining classic elements (the setting, and just the Oh, what a magical book this was. I loved it so much. Upon starting The Disappearances, I was instantly transported into its totally charming and intriguing world of magic and Variants and family secrets. It’s such a compelling, original world, and The Disappearances themselves are so inventive and wonderfully scary. With the addition to fantastic characters, this all combines to make a book that feels like it’s breaking new ground for YA, by combining classic elements (the setting, and just the general vibe) with modern storytelling, to create a world that felt instantly familiar/comfortable, and at the same time, thrillingly new and exciting. I also LOVE the main character, Aila. She’s smart, curious, and totally loveable. I also loved the way she interacted with the other characters in this story, like her younger brother, Miles. Seriously, on top of all the magic and mystery and phenomenal world building, I think this book has one of the best explorations of the complicated older sister/younger brother relationship. I won’t go into detail here in fear of spoilers, but I found their relationship incredibly powerful. Also, again, I won’t go into specifics here because of spoilers, but I shipped the main pairing SO MUCH. Seriously, every time they had a scene together I found myself smiling. They just go together so well! And they’re both so cute!The small town setting also felt really interesting for a fantasy, as the mystery/magic really is linked to the relationships between the families, sometimes dating quite far back into their history. One of the main ways Aila investigates The Disappearances is by diving into the histories of the townspeople, and I LOVED THIS. It totally feeds into that need I get sometimes to snoop/investigate secrets. But yeah, I thought this was great. All in all, this is a magical book, one that somehow manages to both feel like an established classic and a fresh and original YA. I’m totally in love with this world/this book, and I can’t wait to read whatever Bain Murphy comes up with next.
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  • Katelyn Larson
    May 5, 2016
    Sometimes you read a book and you fall so deeply in love with it that you can’t put that feeling into words. THE DISAPPEARANCES is one of those books for me. I can’t say what one thing made this book rock my world because there are simply so many. This book with infused with the type of magical writing and characters that take my breath away. It is magic down to its very core. So read this book for the magic, the actual unique, lovely magic. Read this book for the characters, who are warm and re Sometimes you read a book and you fall so deeply in love with it that you can’t put that feeling into words. THE DISAPPEARANCES is one of those books for me. I can’t say what one thing made this book rock my world because there are simply so many. This book with infused with the type of magical writing and characters that take my breath away. It is magic down to its very core. So read this book for the magic, the actual unique, lovely magic. Read this book for the characters, who are warm and real and so perfectly alive. Read it for the Clifftons, a family I fell so deeply in love with that I want to move into their home and never leave. Read it for a complex sibling relationship that is vexing and heart-warming in equal measure, but completely realistic in every moment. Read it for the friendships. Read it for tiny hearts scrawled on elbows. Heck, read it for the Shakespeare! But for whatever reason you choose, make sure you read this book.
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  • YA and Wine
    June 26, 2017
    With it's wonderful characters, intriguing mystery, and expertly-crafted plot, The Disappearances had me completely under its spell from the very first page.After her mother's untimely death and her father's deployment in WWII, Aila and her brother go to live with her mother's childhood friend in the seemingly quiet town of Sterling, but it quickly becomes apparent to Aila that the people of Sterling have a dark secret, one that revisits them every seven years. One that just might have been caus With it's wonderful characters, intriguing mystery, and expertly-crafted plot, The Disappearances had me completely under its spell from the very first page.After her mother's untimely death and her father's deployment in WWII, Aila and her brother go to live with her mother's childhood friend in the seemingly quiet town of Sterling, but it quickly becomes apparent to Aila that the people of Sterling have a dark secret, one that revisits them every seven years. One that just might have been caused by mother all those years ago.It's difficult to discuss the incredible magic that underlies the mystery of this novel without including spoilers, especially since I want to gush over the sheer brilliance of it. But I will say that it expertly maintains the reader's suspension of disbelief while being absolutely awe-inspiring at the same time.The mystery itself is enough to keep you turning those pages late into the night, but what makes it the ideal mystery for us voracious readers is that on her search toward uncovering the mysteries of Sterling, Aila has to follow a series of literary clues left behind by her mother. That's right. LITERARY clues! Have you hit that pre-order button yet?!I loved that this book was set in the 1940s. That was absolutely the perfect setting for this story. I don't think the plot would have worked nearly as well if set during any other era. The tone of the story is so filled with hope, yet includes this undercurrent of melancholy, which rang true with what I imagine that decade would have actually felt like to live through. The way that Emily has written the dialogue of the story also really brought the time period and and characters to life for me.The characters are wonderfully crafted. I was absolutely charmed by Aila and so many of the other characters in this story, while also being equally suspicious of them and the role that they played in the Disappearances. In any kind of mystery novel, having a cast brimming with unreliable characters is so much fun, and Emily certainly nailed that element here.This book was enthralling, heartbreaking, and so much fun to read all at the same time. This is one that I know I'll be thinking about for a long time to come, and I certainly can't wait to see more novels from Emily in the future!
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  • Fafa's Book Corner
    June 29, 2017
    DNF Mini review to come.
  • Tanaz
    May 16, 2016
    Sometimes she was like that. A paper crane, folding in on herself without warning.Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery – a woman who held many secrets close to her chest. When Juliet dies in the midst of WW2, Aila’s father sends her and her eight-year-old brother Miles to live with family friends in Sterling. This is a town which is nearly as mysterious as Aila’s mother, a town where something vital disappears every seven years – the scent of flowers and food, reflections in mi Sometimes she was like that. A paper crane, folding in on herself without warning.Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery – a woman who held many secrets close to her chest. When Juliet dies in the midst of WW2, Aila’s father sends her and her eight-year-old brother Miles to live with family friends in Sterling. This is a town which is nearly as mysterious as Aila’s mother, a town where something vital disappears every seven years – the scent of flowers and food, reflections in mirrors and lakes, the colors of ink or paint on doors. No one knows what caused these “disappearances” in the past and no one knows what is going to disappear next. All Aila knows is that her mother may, in some way, have been responsible for them.But now that they’re here, Sterling isn’t going to hold on to her secrets for long before it starts giving them up.Emily Bain Murphy has written the sort of book I would have devoured as a teen. With prose that is both careful and precise, she slowly unravels the secrets of Sterling and Aila’s family. Aila’s burgeoning romance with Will is beautifully explored and so are the fragile threads of her relationship with her brother. I wanted to draw a heart near my elbow by the time this book was finished – and you will understand why when you read it for yourself. Highly recommended for lovers of historical fiction with fantasy and suspense.
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  • Carlie Sorosiak
    September 16, 2016
    The Disappearances is one of the most uniquely atmospheric books I've ever read. It really does transport you into this strange, little town where the most commonplace things simply disappear. I had high hopes for this book... and then it blew those hopes completely out of the water. Even from the first pages, you know that this is going to be a very, very special read. It literally gave me goosebumps, and is a literary lover's dream. As one other reviewer noted, if I read this as a teen, I woul The Disappearances is one of the most uniquely atmospheric books I've ever read. It really does transport you into this strange, little town where the most commonplace things simply disappear. I had high hopes for this book... and then it blew those hopes completely out of the water. Even from the first pages, you know that this is going to be a very, very special read. It literally gave me goosebumps, and is a literary lover's dream. As one other reviewer noted, if I read this as a teen, I would've been OBSESSED. (Well, still kind of am obsessed...)I can already say that it's one of my favorite books of 2017, based on the world-building alone (I can totally see it as a film!), but the characters are also exceedingly strong. Aila is incredibly easy to cheer on, and her bond with Miles is completely heartwarming. On another note, the romance in The Disappearances is a pitch-perfect slow-burner that will have you saying awwwwww by the end. The writing style is exactly what I want in a YA book: flowing gorgeousness with breathtaking images. There are so many twists and turns, and I don't want to say too much for fear of spoiling such an intricately woven plot, but the conclusion will leave you very satisfied indeed.
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  • Sonia
    June 25, 2016
    I loved this so much. The prose is beautiful, filled with sensual and vivid detail, and the world-building is fascinating and utterly engrossing. As a former English major, I loved the way the book ties in Shakespeare to its central mystery - and somehow manages to do this in a new and innovative way, which is not easy to do! Aila, the central heroine, is both strong and a believable teenager, and her friends are funny and interesting, so much so that I would have gladly spent even more time wit I loved this so much. The prose is beautiful, filled with sensual and vivid detail, and the world-building is fascinating and utterly engrossing. As a former English major, I loved the way the book ties in Shakespeare to its central mystery - and somehow manages to do this in a new and innovative way, which is not easy to do! Aila, the central heroine, is both strong and a believable teenager, and her friends are funny and interesting, so much so that I would have gladly spent even more time with them. The book has a romantic and timeless quality that I adored, sort of like a fairy tale, but is so grounded in a physical reality that it's easy to imagine the horror that would come from slowly having the sensual joys of life peeled away. Also, did I mention there are THROWING STARS? Because there are.
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  • Minx -The Genre Minx Book Reviews
    February 26, 2017
    The Disappearances is a wondrous tale that is steeped in historical elements and a delight to the imagination. The writing is well crafted, eloquent and rich with details. The characters are developed, unique and memorable. This is a young adult novel and it has the strong emotional pulls that would resonate with that audience. It also has whimsy that would appeal to all readers.This story is set in the world war two era and Alia Quinn’s family has been through a great emotional upheaval after t The Disappearances is a wondrous tale that is steeped in historical elements and a delight to the imagination. The writing is well crafted, eloquent and rich with details. The characters are developed, unique and memorable. This is a young adult novel and it has the strong emotional pulls that would resonate with that audience. It also has whimsy that would appeal to all readers.This story is set in the world war two era and Alia Quinn’s family has been through a great emotional upheaval after the death of her mother. Alia and her brother have to be separated from their father for a time, so they are taken in by a longtime friend of their mother. They must leave everything they know and move to a town known as Sterling. I loved how the house they originally resided in was playfully called “the tilt.” The thought of them leaving it made me feel homesick for them.Sterling and its residents are most peculiar. Once Alia arrives there she begins to notice strange things or rather notices the lack of things. Most of the residents seem suspicious or downright hostile to their presence. Apparently Alia’s mother has a history in this town and the story behind that is at first convoluted at best. What I can tell you without giving too much away is that something happened in this town and the cause for their current predicament is unknown. The residents to refer to the symptoms as the disappearances. It started with the residents of Sterling losing their sense of smell and every seven years since they have continued to lose an ability that they had previously taken for granted. It has also spread to two other towns.There is definitely a creep out factor with the disappearances. Losing the ability to see your reflection would be a major one for me. Just imagine knowing you are there but not being able to see your reflection. Well that might appeal to vampire wannabe’s but for me, not so much. The idea of losing some component of my senses or abilities every seven years and not being able to escape the inevitable would drive me bonkers.As the town is coming up to another seven-year anniversary things start to get pretty stressful. Especially for Alia as she learns more about her family’s history and connection to the disappearances. What caused the disappearances was a mystery that was not easily unraveled. That was just perfect. I love it when a mystery is truly something that you must use clues to come to certain conclusions in order to solve the puzzle.The entire plot surrounding the loss of her mother and then finding out about all these secrets was haunting. You think you know someone only to find out that they had so many secrets, it twists your heart with the feeling of betrayal. Especially sad when it is your parent! Alia deals with this and more as she and her friends follow clues left behind in order to unravel the mystery of the disappearances.What a lovely read! My only issue with this story was that I did feel that at times the pace slowed down. I prefer a story that sucks me in from the start and does not let go. I know for some this story did that, I had a different experience. Although I do believe that this story is going to be one that people are going to be talking about for years to come. I just can’t believe that this is a debut novel! I highly recommend this story to lovers of magical realism and historical fiction. You will be entertained!This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.Find this review and more at The Genre Minx Book Reviews
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  • Caroline
    August 8, 2016
    It is a wonderful thing to get only a few pages into a book and know, without doubt, that it will be witty and intelligent, well-researched and tightly-plotted, and that you are very likely to fall in love with someone by the end of it. And that was how it was with Emily Bain Murphy’s THE DISAPPEARANCES.I won’t even try to summarize the plot, in case I let out too many spoilers, but in case you hadn’t guessed already, I loved this book. I was immediately pulled in to this new-but-old world, to s It is a wonderful thing to get only a few pages into a book and know, without doubt, that it will be witty and intelligent, well-researched and tightly-plotted, and that you are very likely to fall in love with someone by the end of it. And that was how it was with Emily Bain Murphy’s THE DISAPPEARANCES.I won’t even try to summarize the plot, in case I let out too many spoilers, but in case you hadn’t guessed already, I loved this book. I was immediately pulled in to this new-but-old world, to share in Aila’s grief at the loss of her mother, her sorrow at the departure of her father to the war in the Pacific, and her frustration at being left in a stranger’s home (in an even stranger town!) with her younger brother. And so quickly, Aila’s determination to solve the mystery of who her mother had really been, as well as her developing connection with Will, swept me away. But this is not just any mystery story where teens go off together to solve a bunch of random clues. Oh no. This author pulls together some of the most intriguing clues from the natural world and classical literature you could imagine – ancient flower remedies and quotes from Shakespeare and Keats – and she hides them for these very smart and very well-read teens to find and solve. My brain was kept engaged from start to finish trying to get to the answers before Aila and her team did. And then there is the question of the second voice who talks to us throughout the book – who is Stefan, and how does he connect to Aila?I so wish I had been more like Aila when I was her age. She is such a strong girl, determined to power through her own grief and self-doubt to find the answer to her mother’s mystery.It has been a delight to read THE DISAPPEARANCES in manuscript form ahead of everyone else. But come June 2017, it’ll be on top of my shopping list as a gift for my teenage daughters, and for every other sparky, intelligent and courageous teenager I know.
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  • Gwen Cole
    March 17, 2017
    This is one of those books that doesn't feel like a debut while you read it. Gorgeous writing, wonderful details, and a plot that will pull you in. Be sure not to miss this one!
  • Alexandra Ott
    December 12, 2016
    THE DISAPPEARANCES is absolutely stunning. I was in awe of the gorgeous and atmospheric writing from the very first page. This book completely transports you to the strange little town of Sterling, where every seven years something--colors, stars, dreams--disappears. It's haunting and magical and fascinating, with a mystery that kept me guessing until the very end. Highly recommend!
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  • Wendi Lee
    March 7, 2017
    *I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for a honest review*Sterling is different. Aila doesn't notice this as first - she is still reeling from the death of her mother, and the move away from her old home, friends, and town. But with her father off to the War front, she and her brother have no choice but to live with their mother's childhood friend. I started reading with the expectations of magic with a capital "M", complete with fairies and other supernatural creatures.. I *I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for a honest review*Sterling is different. Aila doesn't notice this as first - she is still reeling from the death of her mother, and the move away from her old home, friends, and town. But with her father off to the War front, she and her brother have no choice but to live with their mother's childhood friend. I started reading with the expectations of magic with a capital "M", complete with fairies and other supernatural creatures.. I thought this might be a thriller, lots of action. This book contains neither of those elements, and for that, I love it even more. There are a lot of supernatural thrillers out there right now. This book is unique. When I read it, I felt like I was reading a book with more classical roots. The pacing is languid, like a summer that never ends (which isn't a precise analogy, because the story starts just at the beginning of fall, but you know what I mean). It takes place during World War II, but the people of Sterling are so insulated, that the pacing felt perfect. For them, there is nothing outside of their small town. The writing is beautiful, and I felt a strong connection with Aila and her new adoptive family.And the mystery of Sterling is amazing. Every seven years, the citizens of Sterling lose something small, but vitally important - the stars in the sky, the ability to smell. Aila and her brother arrive just as Sterling is bracing for another Disappearance, and they endure a lot of hostility, as it turns out their mother was the only citizen to escape Sterling and the permanent effects of the Disappearances.This book loses a star because I had some questions that were left unanswered as the mystery of the Disappearances were unraveled. But overall, I loved this book, and would gladly read more about Aila and the town of Sterling.
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  • Mandy
    June 24, 2017
    Magic realism novels never fail to impress me and leave me going, wow, I've never read anything like that before. Lovely book, and review to come!
  • Sarah
    March 24, 2017
    I highly recommend this book! The characters are so well written and developed. The concept is unique and the reference to other literature is great.
  • Nia
    May 1, 2017
    PUB. DATE: JULY 4TH, 2017You can read the full review here: https://shades0fpaper.wordpress.com/2... "What needs darkness to grow instead of light?" she asked me one night when we were younger. "I give up," I finally said."Isn't it obvious?" Her eyes flashed more silver than gray. "Secrets" Okay.. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't pick up this book because of the cover. Oh, well, I CAN'T TURN DOWN A BEAUTIFUL COVER GUYS. And this one intrigued me quite much.But then when I read the synopsis PUB. DATE: JULY 4TH, 2017You can read the full review here: https://shades0fpaper.wordpress.com/2... "What needs darkness to grow instead of light?" she asked me one night when we were younger. "I give up," I finally said."Isn't it obvious?" Her eyes flashed more silver than gray. "Secrets" Okay.. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't pick up this book because of the cover. Oh, well, I CAN'T TURN DOWN A BEAUTIFUL COVER GUYS. And this one intrigued me quite much.But then when I read the synopsis I was like WOW this seems so interesting and misterious. And I have to say there are some things I really enjoyed and others not so much.Even though it's says is a fantast book, I feel like it's more magical realism. I found more similarities with that genre. It gave me the same feeling I had while reading The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, and I adored that book. It felt as if everything really made sense at the end and at the beginning you're introduced to a whole cast of characters that are somehow related to each other in one way or another. And I love those kind of stories. *coughs* The Night Circus *coughs* "Something disappears for me every seven years. I don't know why, or how to get it to stop. But don't worry. I've learned how to live with it. I loved the whole concept surrounding The Disappearances, and the way it kept me guessing until the end. That was definitely what I think I loved the most about this story. It's quite original and I haven't read anything like this before so extra kudos to that. However I felt like sometimes in the first half of the book nothing really was happening, and the pacing was quite slow that sometimes it made me lose interest (maybe that had also sonething to do with the reading slump I'm currently into but oh well). "And I think that for the rest of my life I will never forget this night...when under an empty ink sky, a boy who shone brighter than the stars stopped long enough to smile at me." Even though in some moments I hated the main character because she was really plain and annoying and she did nothing, I have to say I really enjoyed the romance. I cherish the friends-to-lovers trope so freaking much when it's done well because the relationships are so cute and adorable and despite the romance not being a main focus on this book, I enjoyed the part it played in it. AND LET ME ADD THAT THE AUTHOR IS A REALLY FAN OF SHAKESPEARE. I was really surprised because, let's be honest, I have only read two plays so.. yup. But oh, boy, they quoted Shakespeare like no other.Actual ranting: 3.5☆I've recieved an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This however doesn't affect my opinion or thoughts.
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  • Rebecca Ross
    March 5, 2017
    Why I love this book so much it hurts:1. The Writing. Emily's turn of phrase is lovely and beautiful, I honestly tried to read this slowly so I could savor every single sentence. Here are a few quotes that melted my heart (taken from the ARC):"It looks like any other sleepy farm town, but this is the one where my mother grew up. Maybe something of her is still here for me to find, like sunlight catching a handprint on glass." (15)"But just before he's hoisted into the air and carried away, he se Why I love this book so much it hurts:1. The Writing. Emily's turn of phrase is lovely and beautiful, I honestly tried to read this slowly so I could savor every single sentence. Here are a few quotes that melted my heart (taken from the ARC):"It looks like any other sleepy farm town, but this is the one where my mother grew up. Maybe something of her is still here for me to find, like sunlight catching a handprint on glass." (15)"But just before he's hoisted into the air and carried away, he searches through the crowd until he catches sight of me...And I think that for the rest of my life I will never forget this night--when under an empty ink sky, a boy who shone brighter than the stars stopped long enough to smile at me." (148)"There are so many secrets I'm keeping...Big and little, silly and significant, weaving together into something that I want to believe is a safety net. But in some lights, it looks more like a web." (251)2. The Mystery.When Aila and her brother arrive to Sterling, they begin to notice something isn't quite right about the town. There are no stars, no reflections, no dreams...And every 7 years, something else is taken from the town residents. Aila begins to believe that her mother, who grew up in Sterling, may have something to do with the supposed, unstoppable curse. And so Aila begins to search through her mother's old Shakespeare book to try and find the answers. I do not want to spoil anything, so I'll just say that I was thoroughly intrigued by the mystery of the disappearances. I honestly have never read something like this before, so I was hooked.3. Aila and the characters.I really loved all the struggles and triumphs Aila encounters, as well as the relationships she builds throughout her story. I do love a good, tightly woven plot, but at the end of the day, I read for the characters. I felt the keening loss of her mother and the deep worry she felt for her father. I loved how she fights with yet adores and protects her younger brother Miles. I also really loved her friendships with George and Beas, and how she comes to love the Clifftons. And oh yeah...how could I forget Will!? I have a weak spot for slow burning romances, and this one is so well done I unashamedly reread a few passages <3I honestly cannot recommend this book enough. It is definitely one of my favorite reads for 2017!
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  • Andrew Shvarts
    February 12, 2017
    I suspected from the description that THE DISAPPEARANCES would be haunting and beautiful, mysterious and evocative. But what I was totally unprepared for was that it would be SO. DAMN. RIVETING!Seriously, this is a book with zero explosions, swordfights, or deathtraps, and yet I was completely and utterly transfixed, blowing off a family holiday dinner because I had to get to the next Stephan chapter (they're SO GOOD). Emily Bain Murphy takes a premise that, in the wrong hands, could have been c I suspected from the description that THE DISAPPEARANCES would be haunting and beautiful, mysterious and evocative. But what I was totally unprepared for was that it would be SO. DAMN. RIVETING!Seriously, this is a book with zero explosions, swordfights, or deathtraps, and yet I was completely and utterly transfixed, blowing off a family holiday dinner because I had to get to the next Stephan chapter (they're SO GOOD). Emily Bain Murphy takes a premise that, in the wrong hands, could have been cornily absurd or tediously heavy-handed, and instead manages to make its magical narrative feel somehow completely and utterly real, real enough to have me on the edge of my actual seat.Part of this is the prose, which is both gorgeously evocative yet also brisk and effective, lyrically capturing the strange sensory haunting of its central curse, while also tightly unspooling the book's increasingly tense and thrilling twists. Part is the characterization, which manages to feel modern and universal despite the period setting, realizing both the struggles of fitting into a new school and an exceptionally honest look at the complex love of a sibling relationship. And part is the deeply evocative sense of place, among the best I've encountered in a book this year, a level of detail that makes this literarily-cursed town feel completely and utterly real.More than anything else, THE DISAPPEARANCES manages to feel genuinely and truly magical, to exist in this nebulous, beautiful space between ghost story, historical thriller, coming-of-age-story, and Shakespearean study. It tries to be a dozen things at once and succeeds at all of them.Also, it's a "What's Really Going On Here" mystery whose ultimate reveal is completely logical, satisfying, and surprising. That alone gives it a Gold Star (hurled in an awesome and totally unexpected way).
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  • Cristina
    March 24, 2017
    The Disappearances is a fantastic debut novel expertly mixing fantasy with suspense. The story follows brother and sister Aila and Miles, whose mother has just passed away, their father has been drafted into the war, and the siblings are sent to live with their mother's best friend in Sterling, the town where their mother grew up. Everything seems idylic but things are definitely not what they seem! Sterling is one of the sister towns who have been experiencing disappearences every 7 years. The The Disappearances is a fantastic debut novel expertly mixing fantasy with suspense. The story follows brother and sister Aila and Miles, whose mother has just passed away, their father has been drafted into the war, and the siblings are sent to live with their mother's best friend in Sterling, the town where their mother grew up. Everything seems idylic but things are definitely not what they seem! Sterling is one of the sister towns who have been experiencing disappearences every 7 years. The stars go missing, dreams, the sense of smell, and the list goes on. It's a well kept secret that the people of Sterling are all too eager to keep hidden.Convinced that it must be a curse, the residents are all too eager to place blame on Aila and Milies, the newcommers. There is much more going on beneath the surface and Aila wants to clear her family's name and restor the town to its original glory. I really loved this book. I couldn't put it down and before I knew it I had read it from cover to cover. Absolutely can't wait for more by this author!
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  • Kelly (Simply Kelina) C.
    June 18, 2017
    “Mrs. Clifton, may your dreams be filled with stars and not with shadows.” I was lucky enough to get a copy from the publisher for review.I am not normally a fan of historical fiction, but this sounded interesting. It grabbed my attention from chapter one, and I am glad I gave it a chance. The beginning was very addictive and I did not want to put it down.What would you do if you started to lose things we take for granted? What if you could not smell or see your reflection? I really enjoyed seei “Mrs. Clifton, may your dreams be filled with stars and not with shadows.” I was lucky enough to get a copy from the publisher for review.I am not normally a fan of historical fiction, but this sounded interesting. It grabbed my attention from chapter one, and I am glad I gave it a chance. The beginning was very addictive and I did not want to put it down.What would you do if you started to lose things we take for granted? What if you could not smell or see your reflection? I really enjoyed seeing on the characters start finding out about the disappearances. I also like the suspense knowing a new disappearance is coming soon.This is the debut novel for Emily Bain Murphy, and she did an amazing job. I loved her writing style, and I cannot wait to see what else she brings to us in the future.
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  • Christy
    May 20, 2017
    Completely stunning. Full review to come!
  • Jamie
    June 12, 2017
    *I received a galley from Netgalley in return for an honest review.*What an interesting idea for a story! I love the title and the cover and was intrigued by the story of a town where something goes missing every 7 years. I enjoyed all the twists and turns and things uncovered as I followed Aila on her journey after the loss of her mother. The story is set in the 1940 so it is somewhat historical fiction as well.
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