Imagine your a 9-year-old trying to cope with a new reality. Cops keep watch over your house, there's a sniper on your roof, an attack dog in your yard, and you and your brothers are learning how to shoot to kill. That's the true story Cylin Busby tells in The Year We Disappeared. Cylin's father, a cop, was shot point blank in the face. He lived, but his jaw was destroyed. He knew who was behind the attack, but because of small town cronyism, no one was arrested. Instead, the town had him and his family watched round the clock, including putting a cop on duty in Cylin's lunchroom. She lost all her friends, because their parents were afraid that to invite her over made them a target.
I stayed up too late reading it last night, because of passages like this:
A boy I'd never seen before leaned over our [cafeteria[ table. "you know why that cop is in here?" he asked.
"Go away, Ritchie," Amelia said, rolling her eyes at me.
"Because somebody wants to kill her!" he said, pointing at me. The he whispered, "Maybe they'll come to school and shoot you, too, that's why the cop is here."
Amelia stood up. "Mrs. Maseda," she yelled over to the teacher who was monitoring the lunchroom.
"Tattletale," the boy said under his breath. As he walked away, he turned and made a gun with his fingers, pointed at me, and said, "Pow, pow."
The one thing I wonder about is why this is being marketed as a YA. The book is told in alternating POV, Cylin's and her father's, and it could have been marketed to adults. I know Cylin works in the YA field, so that must be part of the reason.