I’m so super excited to be participating in the blog tour for The Disappearances! Let’s start with what first drew me in: what’s the book about?
“Thick with mystery, buried secrets, and magic, nothing is safe in The Disappearances. Be careful, or you might lose yourself in this strange and wondrous world, where stars go missing, reflections don’t exist, and the question, how much would you sacrifice for love? is given entirely new meaning. I adored this book!” – Stephanie Garber, author of Caraval
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.
With a synopsis like that, I’m sure you can understand why I HAD to read it! Did it live up to my expectations, you ask? Well, we all know I’m an opinionated little dragon, but first I want to highlight a few of my favorite exerpts because highly quotable historical fiction is the best historical fiction.
That ship has sailed, honey. Now you can either drown or hitch a ride on the next one.
“May your dreams be filled with stars and not with shadows.”
“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.”
I went into this one with some pretty average level expectations and was pleasantly surprised by what I found. First though let me get the trigger warnings I noticed out of the way.
- loss of a parent (death)
The story is written from a first person point of view which is both interesting and frustrating at different points of the story. It makes it very easy to get to know the main character, Aila, but horribly difficult to learn about the other characters outside of Aila’s knowledge of and feelings toward them. This is not to say the other characters are two dimensional–quite the opposite. The characters are all rounded out enough that they are all individual and very three dimensional. It’s easy at any given point to imagine interacting with them. I had a special soft spot for Miles because he was a wee trouble maker but he was also sweet as pie when it suited him, much like another almost eight year old that I happen to have the pleasure of knowing.
The story is set in the United States during WWII. I found this time hard to get into, though I’m not certain if it’s because of the author’s ability to bring us to that time or if it’s because my family just barely survived it and I’m not able to see it without thinking of the horrors that caused it. I was a bit frustrated by the lack of any mention of nazis, jews, concentration camps…any mention of the reason for that war was left out.
What we did get, however, was small town USA and, coming from a small town originally myself, I can without a doubt say that part of the story was perfectly built. The relationships with other residents of the town, gossip, festivals, and being able to walk from one place to the next (even though some were miles apart and it might have been a better idea to ride a bike or drive) without having to worry as much as we might in a city were perfectly done. I love how the nuance of small towns was perfectly built here so that the reader can understand the dynamic without having to even visit one.
The story itself is what held my attention the most. It starts out with Aila just having lost her mother to a horrible and unknown illness and her father having just been drafted into the military. She’s sent to stay with one of her mother’s oldest friends in the town where her mother grew up. It starts off small and hinting at mystery right away. From about page 2 I was hooked! The creativity, science, magic, and history put together in the story is beautifully and near seamlessly done.
I had so much trouble putting this story down that I fell asleep reading it and woke up the next day needing to know what happened next. The world building and storytelling style are absolutely gorgeous. Emily Bain Murphy has managed to take the American 1940s and turn them into something stunning and magical. I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next!
Overall, I rate The Disappearances 4 out of 5 bookworms.
Don’t just take my word for it. Preorder a copy of The Disappearances and enjoy it for yourself! A few places you can go to get your hands on a copy are:
- Amazon US (4 July 2017)
- Amazon UK (27 July 2017)
- Books-A-Million (US) (4 July 2017)
- Barnes and Noble (US) (4 July 2017)
- Waterstones (UK) (27 July 2017)
- Book Depository (4 July 2017)
- your local bookstore or local library
About the Author
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.
Remember that giveaway I mentioned? You have the chance to win one of three finished copies of The Disappearances! This giveaway is US only (sorry, international bookworms)! All you have to do is enter here:
Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for more chances to win! Here’s the schedule:
- YA and Wine – Review
- Vicarious Bookworm – Review & Favorite Quotes
- Her Book Thoughts – Review
- Never Too Many to Read – Review & Favorite Quotes
- Traveling Booknerds – Creative Option
Thank you to Emily Bain Murphy for writing this incredibly suspenseful historical fiction novel.
Another thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for allowing me to be part of this tour.
And finally, thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing me with a digital ARC of The Disappearances!