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.
- ISBN-13: 9780544879362
- ISBN-10: 0544879368
- Publisher: Clarion Books
- Publish Date: July 2017
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 1.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Page Count: 400
- Reading Level: Ages 12-UP
Shades of gray
Set in early 1940s New England, Emily Bain Murphy’s debut novel, The Disappearances, follows 16-year-old Aila Quinn and her younger brother, Miles. The two are struggling after the recent death of their mother, Juliet, and their father’s departure to fight in World War II. Left alone, they must travel to their mother’s mysterious hometown of Sterling, Connecticut, to stay with family friends.
When they arrive, Aila discovers the townspeople have been suffering “Disappearances” every seven years. These fantastical losses include the ability to smell, to see the stars and to see their own reflections. Aila and Miles don’t understand why everyone blames their mother until Aila begins to unravel Juliet’s mysterious past. Why was she able to break free of the curse? Why did Juliet leave notes in a book of William Shakespeare’s works?
Bain deftly weaves these threads together as Aila discovers not only her mother’s secrets but also her own identity. By setting the novel in a time before the internet, Bain thoroughly conveys the sense of strange isolation of Sterling’s residents and their troubles. In the end, The Disappearances is a delicious mix of mystery, fantasy and romance.