Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 1609
Wonderful Magical Realism
Overall rating
Writing Style
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. Once there they realize things in the town of Sterling are different.
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 story just seems silly. The ‘Disappearance’ is done so amazingly well that I was entirely enthralled. The story painted vivid pictures in my mind. The scenes are unbelievably detained and brought you into Aila’s world.
I was extremely excited to realize that ‘The Disappearances’ is set in the 1940’s. A time without cell phones, computers, the internet, or even tv. The setting helps to highlight just how out-of-place the ‘disappearances’ are. The time frame also shows how much was sacrificed by everyone during WWII and what a time of uncertainty it was.
The characters of Aila and Miles juxtaposed each other perfectly and I connected with Aila right away. Dr. and Mrs. Cliffton were quirky and fit well with the storyline.
Another element that added a lot to the story is Aila’s quest to figure out who her mother really was and why the ‘disappearances’ are happening. Aila does this by following literary clues that her mother left. This adds another dimension to the story and kept me turning pages.
My only real complaint is that the literary clues often left me a little confused. I also had to keep flipping back to remember where specific clues were coming from and what certain terms meant.I would have liked to have a map of the four towns that the story is centered around and perhaps a glossary of various terms.
I absolutely loved ‘The Disappearances’ and can not believe this is Murphy’s début novel. It is not only an amazing story but also makes you stop and appreciate the little things in life that we often take for granted.
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