When Aidan reappears after going missing, his explanation makes no sense to the adults in his life. And Lucas, his little brother, struggles to believe him as well. The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. explores growing up through the eyes of a little brother.
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The summary, from Amazon:
New York Times bestselling author David Levithan takes young readers on twisting journey through truth, reality, and fantasy and belief.
Aidan disappeared for six days. Six agonizing days of searches and police and questions and constant vigils. Then, just as suddenly as he vanished, Aidan reappears. Where has he been? The story he tells is simply. . . impossible. But it’s the story Aidan is sticking to.
His brother, Lucas, wants to believe him. But Lucas is aware of what other people, including their parents, are saying: that Aidan is making it all up to disguise the fact that he ran away.
When the kids in school hear Aidan’s story, they taunt him. But still Aidan clings to his story. And as he becomes more of an outcast, Lucas becomes more and more concerned. Being on Aidan’s side would mean believing in the impossible. But how can you believe in the impossible when everything and everybody is telling you not to?
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I had to sit on this one for a bit before going for my review. Did I love it? Did I hate it? I’m still not sure, but Aidan S. is powerful in that it, and the conflicting response it drew from me, will stick with me.
Aidan goes missing and his family and their community is distraught. But then he reappears in the attic, telling his little brother Lucas that he traveled to another world through an ordinary cabinet. The adults think he’s making a story up or confusing fiction with reality, but Lucas believes his brother.
This is clearly a metaphorical story about Aidan, who is twelve, leaving his childhood behind and the conflicting emotions that brings up for a kid and for the adults in his life. But I spent the whole time wondering, “Would anyone really care that Aidan made up a story about where he disappeared to – aside from his parents and the cops?” I get that the town might be annoyed they spent time looking for a child who ran away and was perfectly safe, but I think most people would just be relieved that that child was okay. I also could not get emotionally invested in this story. It was very dry, with lots of “said”s and “asked”s. I did really enjoy the ending, and I also appreciated the positive LGBTQ+ representation in this story.
Overall I think this is a thought-provoking read for those teetering on adolescence, but for me it was a miss. Or was it? Ugh, I’m still not sure. Rating this one at 3 stars.
Find out more about how I rate books here.
The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. by David Levithan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I liked the writing style though it did lack emotion for me. Positive LGBTQ+ representation, solid metaphorical story kids can grasp.
Book Club Questions
- What would you do if you opened a wardrobe and found a portal to another world? Would you react like any of the characters in this book, or do something different?
- Did Zeke travel to the land of Amber? Do you think there are others who have journeyed to different worlds? What might this mean for them?
- Why does Aidan want to go back, even if he is happy with his family and friends?
- Who was your favorite character in this book? Why?
- Why is the community upset about Aidan’s story?
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