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 their mother’s hometown, Sterling, a rural enclave with mysteries of its own. In Sterling, the experiences that weave life together—scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream—vanish every seven years.

No one knows what causes these “Disappearances,” or what will slip away next. But the townspeople always suspected that Juliet Quinn was somehow responsible and Aila must bear the brunt of their blame while she follows the chain of literary clues her mother left behind.

As the next Disappearance nears, Aila, with the help of a book of Shakespeare’s plays, begins to unravel the dual mysteries of why the Disappearances happen and who her mother truly was. But one thing is clear: Sterling isn’t going to hold on to its secrets for much longer.


“Sumptuous worldbuilding, richly developed characters, and a swoon-worthy romance elevate this delightful, fantasy-tinged mystery.” -Publishers Weekly, starred review

“THE DISAPPEARANCES is a book of wonder and mystery by first time novelist, Emily Bain Murphy. It is well crafted and the plot is memorable and complex. Shakespeare’s words help solve the mystery, leaving the reader with a sense of hope as well as awe. This book should appeal to young adults and adults. The eloquent writing style and the well-researched inclusion of historical details make it memorable. Aila and Miles often use one word to summarize an experience, calling it a finishing word. My finishing word after reading THE DISAPPEARANCES is sublime.” – Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the NCTE (ALAN)

“Thick with mystery, buried secrets, and magic, nothing is safe in THE DISAPPEARANCES. Be careful, or you might lose yourself in this strange and wondrous world, where stars go missing, reflections don’t exist, and the question, how much would you sacrifice for love? is given entirely new meaning. I adored this book!” – Stephanie Garber, author of CARAVAL

“THE DISAPPEARANCES is a dazzling debut […] with a haunting mystery, wondrous world building, and a finely wrought family at its heart. I adored it.” – Jessica Spotswood, author of THE CAHILL WITCH CHRONICLES

“THE DISAPPEARANCES is purely poetic—a beautifully woven story with enough heart to take on its own life.” – Lindsay Cummings, New York Times bestselling author of THE MURDER COMPLEX