Jacob Mueller seems to be from a different world. After mystifying experts and doctors, who finally decide that he is an elective mute, Jacob has ended up in a juvenile group home where he exists—the butt of teasing by the other kids—isolated and an enigma, until Mike McCallum arrives.
Mike McCallum exists in his own private hell. Scarred physically and emotionally after the murder of his younger brother by his mother’s boyfriend, his one aim is to survive the system until he is legally old enough to get out. He uses his horrific appearance, his imposing size, his sharp intelligence, and a calculated brutality to keep everyone at bay—until he encounters Jacob Mueller, an awkward, introverted spindly boy who, after mystifying experts and doctors, has been labelled an elective mute. Almost despite himself, Mike is fascinated by Jacob, particularly the way in which he seems able to shut out the world around him. This fascination deepens and becomes tinged by a mixture of awe and horror when Jacob starts to talk and appears to have knowledge both of Mike’s past and in particular of his dead brother.
Mike takes it upon himself to solve the puzzle that is Jacob Mueller, and when he comes to what seems to him to be the impossible conclusion that Jacob is from another time, he makes it his mission to return him home. In order to do so, Mike has to make hard choices: choices which could offer the chance of redemption but only at great cost.
The Disappearance is the second in a proposed trio of books in which supernatural events impinge on the lives of teenagers. The first book, The Turning, was published by Kids Can Press in 2005. The third book, tentatively called The Reckoning, will bring together the protagonists of the first two books as they combine forces to truly understand who and what they are.
Praise for Gillian Chan's The Disappearance:
“A mystery about a bullied boy who goes missing from a group home. . . . the rich emotional lives of the characters—especially the ways they relate to one another in grief—anchor the magical elements. A fast, compelling read.” —Kirkus Review
Praise for Gillian Chan:
“Chan’s characters are drawn with courage, compassion and consummate skill.” —Governor General’s Award jury citation
“Chan’s descriptions of the tensions arising between adults and adolescents have the ring of truth . . . . . (her endings) leave the reader pondering on the peculiarities and vagaries of human nature. Now that’s a good story.” —The Globe and Mail
“Her clear-eyed view of teens and their sometimes surprising behaviour (both good and bad) is sympathetic but never sugar-coated.”
—The Hamilton Spectator
Genre/Category: YA fiction
Page extent: 208 (pb)
Publication Date: Sept 2017
World rights, Annick Press
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Gillian Chan trained as an English and Drama teacher. She has written seven books and has been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award, Mr. Christie’s Book Award as well as many other national and international awards for young readers, and is the winner of the OSLA White Pine Award as well as the Nautilus award for the best young adult book. Gillian Chan’s website can be found at www.gillianchan.com