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The Year We Disappeared: A Father - Daughter Memoir

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,542 Ratings  ·  399 Reviews
The extraordinary true story of a family, a brutal shooting, and the year that would change their lives forever.

When Cylin Busby was nine years old, she was obsessed with Izod clothing, the Muppets, and her pet box turtle. Then, in the space of a night, everything changed. Her police officer father, John, was driving to work when someone leveled a shotgun at his window. Th
Hardcover, 329 pages
Published August 5th 2008 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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Generation Green by Linda SivertsenHarry, a History by Melissa AnelliBody Drama by Nancy Amanda ReddThe Year We Disappeared by Cylin BusbyChasing Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson
ALD 2009 YA Booklist - Non-Fiction
4th out of 23 books — 14 voters
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Books That I Looooove
29th out of 51 books — 6 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aug 22, 2008 Susan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
I live in the town where this incident took place and remember only too well when it happened. What I never imagined was the sheer terror that the family lived with for months and years afterward. It was harrowing to read John's description of the night he was shot, but it was heartbraking to read Cylin's story of the fear, confusion, and pain that she and her brothers, and her mother, went through. There are good people in this book, who stepped up to help the Busby's, but sadly there are also ...more
Aug 26, 2008 Joan rated it it was amazing
I really liked the book. It was very well written and I liked the way one chapter would be from John's point of view and the next from his 9 year old daughter's point of view. John Busby was a policeman who was shot by an "unknown shooter" almost 30 years ago. The thing about it, is everyone in the town knew who did it but the shooter got away with it. This is a true story and whether you live in the town or not, I think you will find it a great read.
Jul 12, 2008 Alison rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: teenagers and adults
Harrowing, horrifying, eye-opening and utterly enthralling. Do NOT start reading this book when you've got other things on your to-do list! Odds are you won't be able to put it down.
Sep 09, 2008 April rated it liked it
I started this book on Wednesday and haven't quite finished it yet. I have enjoyed the storyline, but I am kind of puzzled why this book is considered to be for young adults. Both voices in the book (the father's and daughter's) are very moving and filled with emotion about how their family's lives were forever changed when an unknown person tried to kill the father in a drive-by shooting. The father didn't die, but he sustained major facial damage to the point where most of his jawbone was dest ...more
Abby Johnson
Jan 31, 2009 Abby Johnson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: blogged
In this book, daughter Cylin and father John share the story of what happened to their family in 1979 when John, a police officer, was shot in the head. John wasn't killed, but the bottom of his jaw was shot off and he had a long, painful recovery ahead of him. Worse was the fact that he was certain that the man behind his attempted murder was a local criminal who thought he had the police force in his pocket. John refused to give in to this man's threats and as a result he almost lost his life ...more
Jul 28, 2008 Nancy rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
A retrospective glimpse into a year of intense fear and physical and emotional pain and dislocation in a family -- after an attempted murder of the police officer father -- from the alternating POVs of the father and the 10 yo daughter. I was riveted. In the end I found myself wishing for more of a shape to the book -- it just ends -- but that's the deal with real life, isn't it? Don't read this looking for more than workmanship writing; it's the story that is so fascinating here, not the way it ...more
Liza Wiemer
Nov 29, 2015 Liza Wiemer rated it it was amazing
Additional review to come - but let me just say that this true story alternating voice memoir was one of the most gripping I have ever read! Harrowing, heart-wrenching, courageous, and inspiring!

It's rare that YA readers are exposed to non-fiction. This novel will definitely feed those who are fascinated by true crime stories and the impact they have on those around them! A must read.

November 29, 2015: It's been years since I've read this book, but it's stuck with me this long. Powerful, impactf
Mallory Bourke
Jul 13, 2010 Mallory Bourke rated it it was amazing
The Year We Disappeared was a book I couldn't put down; the fact that this really happened to someone was appalling. There were so many elements that made it a high quality read. I think a lot of people can relate to the injustices that are happening in the book and the theme of eye for an eye. You learn about how life sometimes just isn't fair. I think that this book would be appropriate for junior high and high school students. I would especially reccommend this book to students that enjoy rea ...more
Mary Coliet
Apr 10, 2009 Mary Coliet rated it it was amazing
This book changed my life, that's all I can say. It bothers me that so many reviewers on here and other places have said they didn't like the ending or were let down by it. If you haven't seen the "48 Hours" special on this family and the killer who came into their lives then I suggest you see it. The ending of the book is the end of their story, it hasn't ended yet! That's the whole point. Everyone wants the happy ending for this family after what they went through. Yes, we want to hear that th ...more
Jan 12, 2012 1ShalayaW rated it it was amazing
Very Interesting So Far...alot has happened in the first 40 pages cant wait until the end. This is book i would definently reccomend.


Even though im not finished "The Year We Disappeared" its a fantastic book. There are a few main/key characters Polly and John Busby and their 3 children Cylin, Shawn, and Eric Busby. This is a story of how a family is so far gettin through a tragic accident.

The father ,John Busby, was shot and hit by a car. This wasn't an accident it was intentionally done.
Oct 01, 2009 JayeL rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
I was surprised that this was classified as a YA book, but after I read it, I realized that it was good that I read the YA version. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this book, and it turned out to be not at all what I expected. I am glad this was a YA book, because a memoir with this content for adults could have been extremely, and unnecessarily violent.

After starting to read, I realized that it might be a little violent and not my cup of tea. I read past the most difficult part and I h
Jeff Raymond
Closer to a 2.5, this is the memoir of a family of a police officer who was shot at point blank range with a shotgun, his recovery, and the constant protection the family needed to be under while the crime was investigated. Half the story is written from the point of view of the officer's daughter, the other half from the point of view of the officer in question.

I'm not generally one for true crime or memoirs of victims of crimes - there usually has to be some sort of interesting hook or oddity
In 1979, Cylin was 9-years old. Her father, John, was police officer in a town in Massachusetts. He was shot in the face and survived, but – even though he was certain who was behind it – the police seemed to not be pursuing it. John believed the person behind the shooting was a local well-known criminal, Raymond Meyer, who also had connections at the police department and was known to be untouchable. Even so, some of the officers, including John, still tried to bring Ray to justice for various ...more
Ayat Husseini
Jun 10, 2015 Ayat Husseini rated it really liked it
In the book The Year We Disappeared by Cylin and John Busby, there is not a plethora of narrative nonfiction tools used in the writing. One common tool in narrative writing is the balancing between the telling of the story and the author’s reaction to it. In the narrative, John Busby is shot in the face and is being treated in a hospital in Boston. His kids, Cylin Busby and her brother are hiding incase their father’s attacker returns for them. Cylin describes the scene thoroughly. She states t ...more
Jan 14, 2014 Old_airman rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2014
Interesting read. A father and daughter's perspective of an attempted murder. Would rate this 3.5. The ending was disappointing and sudden.
Claire Jones
Oct 19, 2014 Claire Jones rated it really liked it

The Year we Disappeared is a memoir written from the standpoint of John, a police man in Falmouth, Massachusetts, and his daughter Cylin. In 1979, John was shot on the way to work by a local thug because he was afraid John would testify against him and his family but, when John was shot it does not kill him but instead severely injures his face. While John tries to make the suspected shooter pay Cylin was scared and was being pushed away by the kids at school. Surrounding the Busby house was a g
Jun 11, 2015 Meram rated it liked it
In John and Cylin Busby’s memoir The Year We Disappeared the story of how a family had to go in hiding after being targeted by a town killer is told. In the novel John Busby is shot in the face and explains some difficulties with the injury, on page 198 he talks about how just being in the cold “made [his] face hurt so badly” and how it made it “almost impossible to go outside.”. He continues by saying that the pain “was so mind-blowing, like an intense ice cream headache that didn't go away-”, ...more
Sep 26, 2015 Allison rated it really liked it
When Cylin Busby was nine years old everything seemed perfect; she had many friends, school was great, and her family was very close. On the night of August 31, 1979, everything changed.
Cylin’s police officer father, John, was driving to his midnight shift. Suddenly, a shotgun was leveled at his face outside of his car window. As the bullets tore through his face, John saw his jaw sitting on the passenger seat. Somehow, John managed to cling to his life just to make it to the hospital. In just o
Kimleng Sok
Oct 03, 2014 Kimleng Sok rated it it was amazing
The genre of this book is non fiction and it is an autobiography. A cop who has a family is shot in the neck, head and face and he has to undergo serious surgery that may last years. His children, Eric, Shawn and Cylin become secluded from the world, due to the incident with their dad they are always under constant surveillance from cops. The children start to become very negative about the world around them, Eric and Shawn always got into fights with kids around them and Cylin was put into a sp ...more
John Busby is a cop in Falmouth, MA, a mid-size Cape Cod town where the locals are the ruling class. John, having grown up in Dedham, situated on Boston's South Shore, is an outsider, despite his dedication to the force and good police work. He manages to piss off local career criminal, Raymond Meyer, and as a result, gets shot in the face at close range on his way in to work. Of course, his life and the life of his family is turned upside-down, as they fear that Ray or one of his cronies won't ...more
Jan 07, 2013 hamptonenglish10 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Emily Sosso
Ms. Brooks
Academic English 10
7 January, 2013

The Year We Disappeared: A Father - Daughter Memoir by Cylin Busby and John Busby is a thrilling, yet touching memoir that tells the story of an event that changed the Busby Family life forever. john Busby, father of Shawn, Eric, and Cylin Busby, and husband of Polly Busby, was a police officer on Cape Cod in Falmouth, Massachusetts. He works the night shift, from 11 o'clock at night to 8 o'clock in the morning. On the way to one of his shi
Jul 15, 2011 Bryana rated it really liked it
This book was one of the honors english book options for the summer book report. I had picked up this book multiple times at barnes and noble and thoguht to myself how good the book sounded but i guess i never really decided to actually buy it untill now. I finished this book in about three sittings. It wasn't the best i have ever read but the book was touching and it really shows the power of a family bond. The alternating chapters between the daughter and the father also show the different way ...more
Neil Mudde
Mar 07, 2009 Neil Mudde rated it it was ok
I found this book extremely difficult to read, even though it is well written. I simply cannot understand the obsession with guns,how easy they are to obtain, what horrific damage they can inflict in this case on a whole family. Policemen ought to be able to bear arms, and use them only as a last resort. How frightening it must be to have a Police force that does not support its own Policemen, due to political manipulation, allowing some citizens to do as they please and never hold them account ...more
Aug 10, 2008 Jamie rated it liked it
Shelves: 16-18, memoir, crime
As someone who loves true crime, this book was lots of "fun" if that's the right word for enjoying a true crime book. Told in alternating chapters between father John, who his shot at close range while working as a policeman in small town Massachusetts, to chapters told by Cylin, who lived through this when she was 9 year old. The differing perspectives work well to show how the same experience is different through different eyes.

My biggest wonder, why is this being published as YA? Is it just b
May 29, 2011 Jennifer rated it it was ok
An interesting story and setting, the writing wasn't bad,-and it had offered nostagia, (I think Cylina and I are the same age), but for some reason, despite my love for crime (even super-trashy paperback true crime, which this was not), I just couldn't get into it. So when it came due at the library, I dropped it in the slot without renewing. Maybe it didn't have enough pictures for me? (You know, the middle-of-the-book-here-are-the-victims-and-the criminals photo montage section.) Or maybe it w ...more
Chapters alternate between John Busby, a police officer who was targeted and shot, and his daughter Cylin, who was nine years old at the time of the shooting. John's description of the shooting had my heart racing (I was reading on the bus and I wonder what the other passengers thought of the shock and horror that must have been on my face). While the rest of the book doesn't quite keep that momentum going, it's a compelling story that's well worth reading. Those who like reading true crime and ...more
Mar 10, 2014 Nancy rated it it was amazing
I couldn't believe that this was a true story, which is what makes it such a compelling read!
Jun 10, 2016 Mollie rated it really liked it
This was a fast read for me; I couldn't stop turning pages as I frantically tried to find out what happened to the Busby family and if justice was going to be served. I had never heard of this story - it happened right when I was born, plus I'm from way down South, so why would I? Reading John and Cylin's accounts of his shooting and what that did to their family left me horrified, fascinated, angry, name it, I felt it. The obvious corruption, ineptitude, and all-around slackness on th ...more
Michaela Briske
Jan 08, 2016 Michaela Briske rated it it was amazing
The 2011 book ‘The Year We Disappeared’ written by John and Cylin Busby is a true story about how a small town cop was shot and what his life was like after the shooting. John Busby was an officer on the Falmouth police force and had lived with his wife and three children in Cape Cod for 14 years of his life. In 1979 while on route, someone tries, and almost succeeds, to kill John, and the next year of his and his families’ life are filled with terror, frustration, and recovery. Written by John ...more
Mrs. O'Rourke
Dec 09, 2015 Mrs. O'Rourke rated it it was amazing
Cylin Busby is just nine years old, and her father, a police officer in small town Massachusetts, is shot multiple times at close range while on patrol. Though her father survives and can recall details about the attack, the Busby family becomes a target and is forced to disappear. Worst of all, the shooter is still on the loose.

"But most of all, I'm happy to have the picture of Dad's car. Because the next time I saw that car, it was in a black-and-white photo in the Cape Cod Times, shot full o
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Cylin Busby is the author of several teen books and numerous articles as well as the acclaimed young adult memoir, THE YEAR WE DISAPPEARED. A former editor with Teen Magazine, she now lives in Los Angeles with her family.
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“Call it fate, call it synchronicity: you never know what your actions are going to lead to, or the possibilities they can cause. There is a ripple effect to every action you take, intended or not.” 3 likes
“What difference does a little rain matter, since you’ll be getting wet anyhow?” 2 likes
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