REVIEW: The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy

The Disappearances: 5/5
Author: Emily Bain Murphy
Published by: Pushkin Press

“But really, aren’t there bits of magic everywhere we look?’ Dr. Clifton continues. ‘We’ve just stopped seeing it that way.”

Did it take me way too long to properly review this book? Yes. Do I have a good excuse. Nope. Well, maybe because this book surprised me so much that I actually had to take a while to gather my thoughts about it. It was beautiful, mysterious, majestic. I just want to crawl inside the pages and live in Sterling. And so should you! Allow me to talk you through the amazingness that is The Disappearances.

The book is set in the 1940s. War has started, Aila Quinn‘s mother Juliet just died and her father has to go fight in the army. Leaving Aila and her brother Miles in the care of her mother’s (somewhat estranged) best friend and her wonderful but slightly weird family. They have to move to Sterling– which also happens to be the town their mother grew up but hardly ever spoke about. As Aila slowly gets used to life in Sterling, she starts noticing how not everything is as it seems. Even though her mother’s best friend tries to keep it a secret as long as possible, Aila soon finds out that the town is haunted by something called The Disappearances.

Every seven years, something just disappears. Smell, reflections, stars, dreams… the people of Sterling have already had to cope with terrible losses. But life goes on and things called Variants have been created to give back reflections or dreams momentarily. But Aila realises that the town is on the brink of another Disappearance, something that will affect the town greatly. Aila is determined to find out what caused The Disappeances and how to stop them – especially once she realises it might have something to do with her mother…


What I loved most about this book is the simple yet enchanting writing style. Sometimes I feel like authors want to use all uncommon and posh words to express mysteriousness, but I didn’t feel like that at all here. Emily Bain Murphy easily transports the reader into her world. You might experience the beginning a bit slow, but once you’ve settled in the story you’ll notice how quickly you’ll grow attached to it. This also partly thanks to the wonderful side characters. I somehow usually care about side characters more than the main character and even though I loved Aila, this still applied. Aila makes some wonderful friends in Sterling and her and Miles’ foster family are also a bunch of loveable geeks. Please Emily, write a novella about them? Thank you. 💖

Another very mysterious aspect I loved about the book was the slightly dark second POV. In the beginning it’s not very obvious what exactly this has to do with the story– but things once things slowly start to intertwine you can’t help but get intensely curious what it’s all about. Talking about intertwining things, Emily Bain Murphy also greatly inspired the mystery in her story on Shakespeare, which was something I thought was done extraordinarily well. I’m personally not a fan of Shakespeare (as in, I’m literally incapable of reading anything of his because the English is impossible to me), but the way it was incorporated into the story was smart af. 

If you have seen my unboxing post of July’s bookboxclub, you will know that this book was featured in this box! Shortly before I received the box, Pushkin Press had already sent me a copy of the book. This does not affect my judgement in any way, but it did leave me with two copies of this wonderful book. Safe to say I made my sister very happy with one (sorry guys, next time I’ll turn it into a giveaway). Receiving this book in the Book Box Club box also gave me the opportunity to chat to Emily Bain Murphy and ask some questions about the book. She’s a lovely person and I definitely gained some more insight in the book and research process!

So as you might have realized by my over-usage of the word ‘mysterious‘ – this book is the perfect fall read to cosy up to during the next few months. Loved it with all my heart.



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