Book Reviews · My Recommendations

The Disappearance by Emily Bain Murphy | Book Review

Genre: Magical Realism / Mystery
Publication: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
No. of Pages: 388
Book Type: Standalone
My Rating: 5/5
Trigger Warning: Betrayal, Murder, Death


Every seven years something disappears in the remote town of Sterling: people’s reflection, the stars in the sky, the ability to dream. Alia realizes that her mother may be to blame for the curse. But some mysteries are buried very deep and some secrets want to stay hidden – and one young woman’s desire to uncover the truth may not be enough to save the people of Sterling from the past.

A beautifully told story of love, loss and finding the truth – no matter how difficult that may be.

Alia & Miles: Brother’s sister who moved to Sterling, children’s of Juliet.
Will, George, Beas and Eliza– Friends of Alia from School, Sterling.
Cliffton Family: Foster parents of Alia and Miles.
Stephen: A person you should lookout for.

On the Plot:

The amazing thing about the plot was it’s unpredictability. I knew there was something coming up and I could not guess it at all. I loved the way this book sucked me in gradually. I felt more connected to it as I proceeded further with the book. This was my first read of the Magical Realism trope and I thoroughly enjoyed the things that were mentioned here. They were unique to my imagination and the Shakespearean concept introduced to this book just takes the plot to the next level. I definitely did not see the twist coming. I had some toe curling moments where I was blown beyond my wits. I loved the mystery that this book cintinued till the end.

Writing & Theme

I loved how atmospheric this book was. The disappearances were the part where the author made an effort to remind you to appreciate every little things about life. It was steady read and the pace was just perfect. There were many descriptions and details in this book. And, let me tell you, I get bored of those, but the description in this book were not cumbersome and did not give the feeling that the book is being unnecessarily dragged. If anything, it helped me understand it better. The author did not leave any stones un-turned for the reader. I loved how she beautifully described every vivid details. To imagine a world without scent and dreams and reflection is bit difficult given that we just take those things for granted. But, with the brilliant flowy writing of Emily, I could imagine it all. I loved the world building and the subtle romance between the main characters.

“may your dreams be filled with stars and not with shadows”

– Emily Bain Murphy.


I usually feel a little bored with children characters, but these children’s were so amazingly portrayed. There were great character arcs at the end. I loved Miles that little bundle of trouble was the cutest. The characters did seem to justify the age mentioned in the book. They were witty, challenging and compassionate. I loved the way the elders were described as gossip-y, typical small town things.

Thrill & Mystery

I enjoyed the thrill in this book. There were moments where the truth or the mystery just caught me off-guard. I loved the second POV in the book of a mysterious person talking about the past, before the disappearances started happening. That is the POV which reveals the whole story and it was so thrilling to read that.

“And I think that for the rest of my life I will never forget this night—when under an empty ink sky, a boy who shone brighter than the stars stopped long enough to smile at me.”

Emily Bain Murphy


Mysterious, adventurous, cute romance and very very atmospheric.
Read if you want to: read a book about magical realism, want to read a historical fiction and see amazing teenage characters.

  • You can’t search for the truth with integrity if you’re only looking to find the kind that benefits you.
  • Know that wherever I am, it is always farther than I wish to be from you, and that you are never beyond the reach of my thoughts.
  • But really, aren’t there bits of magic everywhere we look?’ Dr. Clifton continues. ‘We’ve just stopped seeing it that way.

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