Today I am a stop on the blog tour for one of my favorite books of 2017... The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy!
Keep reading to learn more about the book, my rambling thoughts and a few quotes I really liked!
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: July 4, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magical Realism
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.
Emily 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.
Title: The Disappearances
Author: Emily Bain Murphy
Format: Digital ARC
Source: Publisher/Blog Tour
This book!!! I am not sure how to explain just how much and exactly why I loved The Disappearances, but since that is kind of what a review is supposed to do, I will do my best.
After the death of their mother, Aila and her younger brother are put on a train and sent to live in the mysterious town of Sterling, a town where everything is not quite what it seems as Aila soon learns. As she learns more about the town and its secrets, she also learns more about her mother and the strange connection they have.
With The Disappearances, Emily Bain Murphy has taken some of my favorite genres and created a story, characters, and world that I was sad to leave. It’s a lovely young adult historical novel with magical realism, fantasy, mystery, a hint of Shakespeare and more all packed into such an emotional and mystical story of the secrets a town holds and one girl's search for answers. In a weird way, I actually felt like this book was written just for me because it blends so many of my favorite genres and tropes.
From the moment I read the synopsis, I was intrigued by The Disappearances, but worried my expectations might be a little too high. However, I was definitely not disappointed. Emily Bain Murphy’s beautiful writing with its vivid descriptions drew me into the story from the beginning and I became as fascinated by the town of Sterling as our main character, Aila.
Speaking of Aila, I absolutely adored her. After so many changes in her life this intelligent young woman remains strong and determined. I couldn't help but wonder what I would've done in her shoes. She’s lost her mother, has a new home, and now must undertake a scavenger hunt of sorts using clues from her mother's book of Shakespeare to find answers to questions she never anticipated. Aila and I share a curious nature, although she's a bit more straightforward (and I'll admit braver) than I am when looking for answers.
As for that quest for answers, if you read the synopsis, then you know there is a bit of mystery in The Disappearances. I can't go into too much detail or I'll spoil the story. Aila wants to know more about her mother and the secrets she apparently hid from her, but she's also curious about the strange happenings of the town and her mother’s connection. Within the first few days of her arrival, Aila starts a list of everything she observes including flowers that don't have a scent, people have no reflections, and more. Her mother’s childhood friend, and Aila’s new guardian does her best to explain, but she offers no real answers because no one really knows why simple things we sometimes take for granted seem to just disappear every seven years. In fact, no one is exactly sure why. Aila and some friends she meets along the way become determined to find answers. I couldn't wait to see where the author would take us with this mysterious revelation.
And Emily Bain Murphy definitely takes us on an unexpected journey filled with twists and turns that I definitely did not expect at the beginning of the story. In fact, I wouldn't have been to predict anything related to the ending halfway through the book. The Disappearances is anything but predictable and I loved that.
Emily Bain Murphy also did an excellent job of adding small observations or “clues” here and there rather than dumping info about every secret or connection behind Sterling and Aila’s mother on us all at once. It added suspense and tension to the story and left you wondering what it could mean or why it happened. I am a sucker for a good and interesting mystery and this was both, in my opinion.
As for the magical realism of the novel, it was also well done and weaved into this fascinating historical story perfectly. It actually helped drive the plot as Aila searched for reasons behind the town’s idiosyncrasies. The bits of magic and whimsy revealed were entertaining and fascinating and I looked forward to every revelation. Sometimes it can be hard to blend fantasy and magical realism into a story, but The Disappearances is an example of when it is done beautifully, in my opinion.
Overall, I adored this book and can see myself reading it again just to experience it again. It's one of my favorites this year.
Hey! I was kinda sorta able to explain/ramble my love after all. ;)
*I received a digital arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
Follow the Tour by clicking the image below!
Prize: Win (1) of (3) copies of THE DISAPPEARANCES by Emily Bain Murphy