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The Disappearances

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  3,934 ratings  ·  849 reviews
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 pla
Hardcover, 388 pages
Published July 4th 2017 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Emily Murphy
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Jasmine No, there is still the sun, but interesting theory!!!
After all, it is Shakespeare's curse, and in Act 2 Scene 2: Romeo's soliloquy, he says: 'It is th…more
No, there is still the sun, but interesting theory!!!
After all, it is Shakespeare's curse, and in Act 2 Scene 2: Romeo's soliloquy, he says: 'It is the east and Juliet is the sun'
Juliet is also the name of Aila's mother, who may appear gone because she's dead but she is very much alive because she's mentioned so often!
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Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,934 ratings  ·  849 reviews

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Charlotte May
"Theories abound...that it's some sort of curse. That it's a change in brain or sensory function - something passed down through families as a genealogical trait. We've explored the idea of it being something in the air or water or soil. That we were all having a psychotic break. Or maybe it's just something random and unfortunate, like being struck with a disease."

3.5 ⭐️

I enjoyed The Disappearances. Set in the 1940s during WW2, Aila and her brother Miles are sent to live with their mother's c
Luke Taylor
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hall-of-fame
So what is The Disappearances?


A cryptic carousel of entendre and experience, mystery and memory, love and loss, hatred and hope, chance and choice, science and a summons of the sublime, where secrets have been left to grow fetid in their dusky shadows and familial wounds have woven a spell around a quartet of towns like a cerulean ribbon in a young girl’s plaited hair, Emily Bain Murphy’s glimmering debut shines and sparkles with every sort of magic under the stars. Her literary gifts clearly ev
Chelsea Sedoti
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If I would have read THE DISAPPEARANCES as a teenager, I would have been obsessed.

I would have gathered herbs to mix Variants. I would have drawn hearts on my arm and read every bit of Shakespeare I could get my hands on. I would have pretended I lived in Sterling and ignored the rational part of my brain that told me THE DISAPPEARANCES was only a book.

Because I would have desperately wanted it to be real.

To be fair, even as an adult I’m pretty obsessed with THE DISAPPEARANCES—I’m just a littl
Lindsay Cummings
Mar 05, 2017 added it
Shelves: 2017
Lovely and well written story! I had no idea it was a historical until I got into it, which actually made me pleasantly surprised. So many great lessons in this one!
Danielle (The Blonde Likes Books)
When Aila's mother Juliet dies and her father is drafted for the war, she and her brother Miles pack up and move to the city of Sterling to stay with her mother's best friend. Sterling is also the city her mother grew up in, and it's full of mysteries. 

Not long after arriving, Aila and Miles find out that in the city of Sterling something new disappears every 7 years. Things like reflections, scent, and the stars are gone, and there are rumors that Aila's mother was the catalyst for the disappea
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: maybe people who love Shakespeare a lot?
Another torturous read undertaken for the sake of my book club. We need to pick better!

It's not that this book is strictly bad, but it is incredibly boring. Boring mystery, boring people, boring and nonsensical magic, boring teen romance.

And a note to the author: it takes more to writing WWII historical fiction than having your characters say "Swell!" once in a while.

P.S. What in the world was this deal with ninja stars? Such a weird addition to, again, WWII historical setting.
Jasmine from How Useful It Is
About: The Disappearances is a magical realism novel written by Emily Bain Murphy. It will be published on 7/4/17 by HMH Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 400 pages. The genres are young adult, fiction, magical realism, and fantasy. This book is the author’s debut novel and is intended for readers ages 12 and up, grades 7 and up.

My Experience: I started reading The Disappearances on 6/19/17 and finished it on 6/22/17. I love reading this book! It has just enough
Aug 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not too sure how to review this book. I don't even know whether the rating reflects me just feeling shitty or that I didn't connect with this book as much as I hoped I would.

I didn't hate it, or love it.

When I first began reading, I thought it was exactly what I needed. Something light and YA. And so the beginning of the book drew me in and the air of mystery surrounding the whole story is what kept me reading.

It's set in the 1940s. It's a story about a town where disappearances occur every s
Bookworm Extraordinaire
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing


descriptionGreat cover on this book. It is simple, but a great representation of the story and it has some unique title work.description

descriptionI am not sure, but it appears as if this book is the author's debut. Perhaps she writes under a different pen name? In any case, I was beyond impressed with this story. When I requested this ARC, I wasn't aware that this was going to be set back in the 1940's. I may have passed it over had I known that and what a missed opportunity that would have been!


The writing was fantastic. The
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was instantly interested in this premise and was quite eager to get to it.

I really liked Aila. She's heartbroken and kind of feisty and I was really intrigued by what was going on. I fully enjoyed being in her head. There are several other characters and a few definitely stood out, but I don't want to ruin anything.

Plot wise, it's captivating and slow at the same time. There's a quiet anticipation that I wasn't expecting as each revelation comes sandwiched in between scenes of normal life li
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This wasn't what I expected; it was so much more.
When Aila's mother died and her father is shipped off to war she ends up back in the town where her mother grew up. That is when things go from bad to worse. Everyone is acting very strange and most of the people in town seem to hate her. Where are all the mirrors? Why didn't she have her reoccurring nightmare?

Great story line. Awesome setting (it makes the story) I easily related to the main character. Loved the twists and turns.
Anna Priemaza
Mar 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book to pieces! Loved loved loved it!

I coveted this book from the moment I first read the description, and I was over the moon when I got it early--but also a bit nervous because I knew my expectations were set excessively high and it'd be hard to meet them. I needn't have worried. This book met my high expectations and blew them out of the water.

This book is gorgeous. It's haunting. It's terrible and beautiful and wonderful. I cried numerous times. I got stupid, giddy grins on my f
How on earth can this book be a debut novel? Wow! Just wow! This book is amazing. It is written in a perspective of 2 people in different places but there is a connection which adds to the mysterious vibe.

So in this book we follow the characters, Aila and Miles who moved to live with their mother’s friend in Sterling, their mom’s hometown. Not long when they noticed strange things in this town. Why do the flowers don’t have smell and why are there no mirrors. Then, they were informed that every
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ng
Believe the hype about this book, it was absolutely beautiful in every way possible.
I found it physically impossible to put it down.
Breeana Shields
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure I have words to properly describe how much I loved this book. It was simply perfection---literally the only thing I didn't like about it was that it ended. The writing is gorgeous. The author adds tiny, precise details that make the world and the characters come alive--it was breathtaking and masterfully done.

And the story itself was fascinating and utterly unique. Don't read too many reviews about the plot before you dive in. This book is full of intrigue and mystery and is best ex
Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dtb-book
4.5 Stars!

I'm always pleasantly surprised when an YA author can mange to knock me off my feet with not only somethings completely original and unique, but something so good it is hard to put it down.
What a wonderful read set in a time and place like no other. Absolutely adored Aila, Will, Miles, Beas, the Clifftons and just about everyone else as well.

I will definitely be checking out this authors other books in the future.
Wendi Lee
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, ya, netgalley
*I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for a honest review*

Sterling is different. Aila doesn't notice this as first - she is still reeling from the death of her mother, and the move away from her old home, friends, and town. But with her father off to the War front, she and her brother have no choice but to live with their mother's childhood friend.

I started reading with the expectations of magic with a capital "M", complete with fairies and other supernatural creatures.. I
Katerina  Kondrenko
10.5 out of 10

Guh, I wanted to read this book since it was announced and then something changed my mind and I deleted it from my TBR. Lucky me to find it again, to pick it among others, and to fall in love with it.

That was such an amazing journey! If you still struggle with what magical realism is, read it! Before "The Disappearances" I'd suggested "The Night Circus" to feel the genre, but not everyone likes abstract metaphors and purple (even when it's a good one) prose without a s
Jul 16, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.

Trigger warning: This book features a suicide attempt.

The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy sounded amazing. It had such an incredible premise, and it showed so much promise, but it fell flat for me right at the end.

It's 1942, and three weeks after their mother dies, Aila and Miles' father has to go to war. As there's no-one to look after them, they go to Sterling with Mrs Cliffton, their mother's childhood best friend, and her husband Dr Cliffton.  St
Katelyn Larson
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes you read a book and you fall so deeply in love with it that you can’t put that feeling into words. THE DISAPPEARANCES is one of those books for me. I can’t say what one thing made this book rock my world because there are simply so many. This book with infused with the type of magical writing and characters that take my breath away. It is magic down to its very core.

So read this book for the magic, the actual unique, lovely magic. Read this book for the characters, who are warm and re
Robin Tobin (On the back porch reading)
Just enough quirky odd to be a wonderful read.....
Filled with mystery, magic, and an abundance of creativity, The Disappearances simultaneously captivated and enchanted me from the very first page.

What would you do if something you've taken for granted was suddenly taken from you? Something so incredibly simple, like the smell of flowers, or the stars at night, or even your very own reflection? Such is the case with Aila Quinn when she and her brother have to relocate to a small town called Sterling. Their mother is recently deceased and if th
Cale Dietrich
May 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: swanky-17s
Oh, what a magical book this was. I loved it so much.

Upon starting The Disappearances, I was instantly transported into its totally charming and intriguing world of magic and Variants and family secrets. It’s such a compelling, original world, and The Disappearances themselves are so inventive and wonderfully scary. With the addition to fantastic characters, this all combines to make a book that feels like it’s breaking new ground for YA, by combining classic elements (the setting, and just the
ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

DNF 40%

I wish I didn't try so hard for months to read this book but I really hate not being able to finish a book. But for this one it felt like I was wading through water and it took all my willpower to focus on it because nothing was grabbing me. Here is why:

First is that the time period that this book takes place in doesn't really seem to fit well with the story. I feel like it would have been more interesting and effecti
Sakshi Kathuria
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a bollocks freaking jumping jack & riddle of a story !! Loved every bit of the lucid narration and the premise was soul sucking with a freshness like mild dew in the morning. If you haven't read this, you are really missing a good story with a solid and freshest voice in a long time. ...more
Montzalee Wittmann
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy is a very intriguing book! It's about two siblings that have to go live with their mother's childhood friend when their mother died. Their father was called to war. This was in the early 1940's. The family and town they live in now is very strange. The family is very loving and nice but has secrets. The town hates the new kids. Slowly things are revealed but not all. Every seven years the people lose something, they never know what! The seven years are up ...more
Karen • The Book Return

Read the review and more on my blog.The Book Return Blog
WWII is in full force. Aila and Miles' mother has just died. When their father is drafted, they have no choice but to stay with their mother's childhood friend in the town their mother grew up in. Once there they realize things in the town of Sterling are different from the rest of the world.

Magical realism is a genre that is very hard to execute well. If it is done correctly it opens the door to a whole new world. Done incorrectly the stor

Carlie Sorosiak
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Disappearances is one of the most uniquely atmospheric books I've ever read. It really does transport you into this strange, little town where the most commonplace things simply disappear. I had high hopes for this book... and then it blew those hopes completely out of the water. Even from the first pages, you know that this is going to be a very, very special read. It literally gave me goosebumps, and is a literary lover's dream. As one other reviewer noted, if I read this as a teen, I woul ...more
“But really, aren't there bits of magic everywhere we look? We've just stopped seeing it that way.”

Thank you to the publisher & Netgalley for giving me a free copy in exchange of an honest review!

I received The Disappearances months ago on Netgalley, but I kept putting it off, because, even though it sounded exactly like my kind of book, I was scared it won't live up to my expectations. Now I feel like the biggest idiot in the world, because it didn't only live up to my expectations, but far ex
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“But really, aren't there bits of magic everywhere we look?' Dr. Clifton continues. 'We've just stopped seeing it that way.”

This book and I, just kinda click together.
The moment I set my eyes on the first line, I was immediately transported into the world of Sterling, it feels like I’m being into two places at the same time and I am so glad because I haven’t had that feeling in a while up until I stumbled --literally-- on to this book.

This book is suppose to be historical fiction, bu
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Emily Bain Murphy was born in Indiana and raised in Hong Kong and Japan. She graduated from Tufts University and has also called Massachusetts, Connecticut, and California home.

Murphy is the author of The Disappearances, which was a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, an ALAN Pick, and shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Book Prize. Splinters of Scarlet, Murphy’s second YA historical fanta

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