The Disappearances, by Emily Bain Murphy

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**

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