Title: The Disappearances
Author: Emily Bain Murphy
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Disclaimer: I received a copy free from the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always kept her secrets guarded. She was a vibrant mystery. When her mother dies Aila is sent to live in Sterling, her mother’s hometown, while her father fights in the war. It turns out Sterling is a place with many secrets of its own. Aila and her brother aren’t welcomed by the whole community, and she is starting to notice that things aren’t exactly normal. For example, the flowers have no scents, she can’t see her reflection, and she no longer dreams. Apparently, they are called the disappearances and something vanishes every seven years. No one knows what caused these occurrences but the town suspects Juliet, which puts Aila in an uncomfortable situation where she has to take the brunt of the blame in the place of her mother. Aila is determined to find out exactly what caused the disappearances and how to stop them.
The Disappearances was not what I expected but I was pleasantly surprised. It was magical, enchanting, and atmospheric. I felt that at times it had a very gothic feel to it, which I enjoyed. There were a lot of aspects of The Disappearances that I really enjoyed, most notably, the actual ‘disappearances’. It was an interesting and unique plot and I appreciated the mystery and the use of Shakespeare and how the mystery and ‘the disappearances’ revolved around Shakespeare and his work and how they were subtly unwrapped throughout the novel.
Aila was a lovely character and I really admired her. She was kind, patient, but stubborn and driven. She was determined to not let anyone get under her skin and determined to prove them wrong. She was not always welcomed in Sterling but she always held her head high. I also really enjoyed her complicated relationship with her brother, who was hot-headed and defensive. Their relationship was developed and complex, they didn’t always get along and when emotions ran high they were sometimes overly cruel to each other, but still, they love, care, and are protective of each other. I also loved their ‘finishing word’ game, it was lovely. The romance was another favourite, cute and swoon-worthy and sometimes embarrassing.
Overall, I’d recommend The Disappearances if you are looking for a magical historical fiction book with an intricate plot and a subtly unwrapped mystery.
Megan (pronounced MEE-GAN bc her Irish grandfather refused to use the English pronunciation) is a 21 year old british blogger, history graduate, lover of books and expert procrastinator. She is anxious and introverted and is currently attempting adulthood. She loves potatoes which is often blamed on her irish heritage and can often eat her weight in food. She predominantly reads and reviews YA which includes historical fiction, science fiction, contemporary, and f/f romance. She loves reading about unlikeable female characters, positive female friendships & relationships, and is a sucker for a pretty cover.