Book Review: The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan H. (as told to his brother) by David Levithan

The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. (as told to his brother):  Levithan, David: 9781984848598: Amazon.com: Books

Title: The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan H. (as told to his brother)

Author: David Levithan

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Number of Pages: 224

Rating: B

Recommended?: Yes


The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan H. (as told by his brother) is a different take on the portal fantasy genre, focusing on the family left behind and the impossibility of being believed. Aidan is a twelve-year-old boy who disappears for six days and is found by his younger brother Lucas in the attic. Aidan reveals he went to an alternate universe with other missing people and experienced extraordinary things, but his parents believe he is either lying or traumatized and the people in the community who helped look for him turn against him.

Aidan is bullied at school after his testimony to the police is leaked and Lukas must decide whether he believes his brother or not. Perhaps it’s not surprising that The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan H. (as told by his brother) felt a little bit familiar, especially considering how much I’ve been loving Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series lately. It’s also admittedly more interesting to follow the character who actually went through the portal instead of his kid brother.

However, I did like what David Levithan’s take on a well-worn genre and the relationship between the two brothers was strong and thoroughly believable. There are also GLBT themes that are integrated smoothly into the narrative, without a huge deal being made out of them. One of the main characters turns out to be gay and Aidan and Lucas’ aunt is transgender, but it’s only mentioned a couple of times and their characters aren’t defined by their gender or sexual identities.

All the characters in the book feel very realistic, including the adults who largely discredit Aidan’s story. I could understand his parents’ anger and anxiety and I felt that most parents would act similarly in their position. You really get a sense of the pressure on Aidan’s family and on Aidan himself, who is essentially being punished for telling the truth. I thought Lucas’ character development was somewhat lacking and the ending wasn’t quite as satisfying as I had hoped but I still found this to be a very enjoyable book.

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