The Vanishing Act by Mette Jakobsen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Minou lives on a very remote island with her father, Priest, Boxman and Boxman's dog, No-Name. Her mother disappeared about a year ago, after a circus event, but Minou is convinced that her mother will return - soon. The island was originally settled by Theodora, who built a church and two houses, and is remote enough that they only get a delivery boat once a week. Minou's father says that logic and reason and philosophy are the only true things in life and goes on a daily Philosopher's Walk; his brother is convinced that the family is descended from Descartes, but there's no proof.
This book is by turns whimsical and a little strange, as when a dead boy washes up on their beach in winter. Papa's decision to keep the body in their house, in a room open to the elements so his body stays frozen, leads to Minou's rethinking what happened just before her mother (and Turtle's) disappearance as well as what life is truly like on the island. The whimsy comes from elements like the Priest's fondness for pretzels, or the stories about Theodora.
It's unfortunate that there was less whimsy when it would have helped lighten the story - without it, I'm not sure that YA readers will enjoy the book.
ARC provided by publisher.