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The Year We Disappeared: A Father - Daughter Memoir

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  2,196 ratings  ·  368 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
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Magician's Nephew by C.S. LewisThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerWives and Daughters by Elizabeth GaskellThe Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
493rd out of 702 books — 75 voters

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Community Reviews

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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
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 4 of 5 stars
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.
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
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 4 of 5 stars
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
Mallory Bourke
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
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
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 3 of 5 stars
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
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

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
Kimleng Sok
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
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
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
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
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
Jennifer March
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
I couldn't believe that this was a true story, which is what makes it such a compelling read!
Avery Hall
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
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I bought this for my Kindle as a whim since it was in one of their sales and ended up reading it in a night. A very fascinating story about a family's life being turned upside down after the police officer dad gets shot in the face. The dad and daughter take turns telling their story in the book, which really works to hear both the adult and child version of their life during this period. It was marketed for young adults, but the storyline and writing is compelling enough for all to read.
The Year We Disappeared was a book I could not put down. From the very beginning I knew I liked the book. The fact that it is based on a true story makes me love it even more. The courage that John Busby had was really inspiring. He stood up to a person that was not scared of him or any other police official because he had them wrapped around his finger, in other words John stood up to Raymond Meyer.
Since he stood up to him, Meyer was out to get him. One night John was driving to work when some
Jena Thorp
This book was heartbreaking but uplifting. After Cylin's father, John, was shot in the face the families entire world was flipped upside down. They were under constant security and surveillance and were not able to enjoy life as they had before. We follow the Busby's on their fight to regain their life and freedom and seek justice for the horrible assault on John.

While reading this novel I constantly had to remind myself that it was non-fiction. My heart broke for the family.
Donna Siebold
John Busby a Falmouth, Mass. police officer was shot and almost killed. He was sure he knew who was behind the attempt on his life. However, his department failed him in almost every way. They essentially refused to investigate the crime (or rather the criminal John identified as responsible for the crime). John faced years of rehabilitative surgery, he was unable to work as a police officer and he feared further attempts on his life or on the lives of his family members. Eventually his family r ...more
Liza Wiemer
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.
The first third or so was really scary/horrifying, but things calmed down. I don't know exactly what makes this a YA and not an adult book, but it is surely enjoyed by both. The clearly articulated difference in voices between the daughter's sections and the father's sections was lovely. I thought it was all pretty Lois-Duncan-y (a compliment). (Nothing paranormal, I hasten to add.)
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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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