readergirlz is a literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading Prize. The rgz blog serves as a depot for news and YA reviews from industry professionals and teens. As volunteers return full force to their own YA writing, the organization continues to hold one initiative a year to impact teen literacy. All are welcome to "like" us on Facebook!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

June: The Year We Disappeared, John and Cylin Busby

Cylin Busby and her father, John, co-authored The Year We Disappeared, their family's true story. John, a policeman, was shot on his way to work, and his family had to move to another state in an attempt to stay hidden from the would-be killer. The memoir captures their fear, anger, and pain. Here's what Cylin shared with me upon learning that her book was selected to be our non-fiction recommended read this month.

When I heard that our memoir was a recommended read for June at readergirlz, along with Sweethearts, I have to admit that at first, I didn't see the connection. I’ve read Sweethearts, tore through it, actually, in one night because I had to see what happened. To me, it read like a thriller, despite the soft, sweet title. Readers have described our memoir as a "thriller" too, a book you can't put down, so maybe that's why the postergirlz panel recommended us? But when I thought about it a little more, I started to see the threads come together: buried fears, hidden truths, keeping secrets, questions about identity, fear and lonliness. All of these are in both of our books, one fiction and one nonfiction.

In some ways, I am like Cameron. I know now that when our family was relocated, when we "disappeared," the friends I left behind were just as confused as Jenna is about her friend's disappearance. Like Cameron, something terrible had happened to me, to my family, and then suddenly, I just wasn't there, our whole family was gone without a trace. But in other ways, I am like Jenna, too - I had to recreate myself when we lived in hiding, to become someone else, someone that those terrible things had never happened to. I did not change my name, but I did cut my hair, hide my glasses, wore the jeans that everyone else was wearing, and faked a Southern accent to fit in.

Thanks to the postergirlz for choosing us as a good fit with Sweethearts, I have to agree. And I'm honored to be in the company of such talented writers and amazing books. I feel like the outsider sitting at the popular kid lunch table yet again...

- Cylin Busby

Check out all of this month's recommended reads.


Sara Z. said...

Love the connections - so eager to read this!

Little Willow said...

Many thanks to Cylin for sharing this with us!

melissawiley said...

Great to see Cylin's excellent book at this excellent site! I couldn't put it down. Which, I might add, is the same thing that happened this weekend when I picked up SWEETHEARTS--love how you connected them. Thanks much.

Melissa Walker said...

Such a smart connection from the postergirlz!

holly cupala said...

What a fascinating story, and connections. Kudos to you, John and Cylin, for having the courage to tell your story.

JenFW said...

I just finished this. Excellent as a stand-alone, but tremendous as a companion. Making connections is great fun, and I appreciate the thought you readergirlz and postergirlz put into your reading and recommendations. You are creative, fun, and delightfully smart.

I'd love to squeeze in beside Cylin and join you all for lunch.