After the death of their mother Aila and her younger brother Miles leave for Sterling, their late mother’s birthtown, to live with their mother’s childhood best friend – who is, in fact, a complete stranger to them. In Sterling, Aila begins to notice a series of peculiar events: things miraculously remaining dry in the rain, absence of reflections, no stars in the night sky. Events and secrets long-buried unravel right before their eyes, and they are faced with an almost unsolvable mystery: what is happening in Sterling, and will they be able to change the course of events?
I received an ARC for this one and I need to admit; while I was really excited when I first requested it, I had completely forgotten not just the plot but even the genre of the book by the time I received it. So, The Disappearances turned out a be a very pleasant surprise for me. I was taken aback by Murphy’s pure talent; her flow was excellent, her prose was lyrical, almost poetic, and every scene was so beautifully described and in such great detail, I could almost see the events unravelling right before my own eyes.
A thing I really loved about the book – and one I believe proves Murphy’s talent – is that the mystery of what is happening in Sterling is solved pretty quickly, whilst secrets and lies kept getting revealed until the very last page. It is such a beautiful journey of self discovery and personal growth, and a page-turning mystery at the same time.
If I’m being honest, I could not, for the life of me, classify this book as one genre only. It’s YA, it’s mystery, it’s fantasy, it’s historical fiction. The last one became a bit of a sore spot for me; I was really excited to see a fantasy book taking place in WWII, but the truth is that I found the time period completely irrelevant. This story could have worked in literally any time frame and its setting in WWII added nothing to the plot – without, however, taking anything away from it.
Overall, The Disappearances was a very unique book. Its themes and main plot are pretty unusual, and while it can sometimes be a bit cheesy and fall into a few tropes, it’s still a pretty remarkable book. The – easy to spot – romance is very natural, and the author doesn’t spend much time dwelling on it; she is well aware that there are more important things going on. Definitely an author I will keep an eye on in the future.
**An ARC was provided via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review**