Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance

Macmillan Audio. May 2022. 12:17 hrs. ISBN 9781250856524. $26.99. F
Espach’s (The Adults) second novel depicts a family devastated by a daughter’s death. The summer before eighth grade, Sally and Kathy Holt are both drawn to the charming Billy Barnes. When Billy and Kathy begin dating, Sally becomes the third wheel. Tragedy strikes when Kathy dies in a car crash, leaving Billy, Sally, and her parents to deal with the crushing loss and ensuing guilt in the years that follow. Narrator Jesse Vilinsky’s performance is spellbinding, portraying Sally’s memories of her friendship with Kathy, her long-standing crush on Billy, and her terrible guilt over Kathy’s death. Vilinsky captures character emotions fully—Kathy’s father’s hurt, anger, and stubbornness; her mother’s disappointment, loss, and mental breakdown; Sally’s withdrawal, insecurity, and mistrust of her judgment; and Billy’s all-consuming guilt that leads him drifting in life. Vilinsky masterfully uses tempo and volume changes to move the story forward, often emphasizing the perfect word to evoke the right emotion.
VERDICT It takes Hurricane Kathy to bring everyone together in this tale of finding oneself, love, and a place in life after catastrophic loss.
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