Disappearing Act: A True Story (Hardcover)
Moving and evocative, Disappearing Act is a YA memoir-in-verse following author Jiordan Castle's coming of age as her family reckons with the aftershocks of her father's imprisonment.
It was the summer before high school,
the beginning of everything.
But also an end.
Jiordan’s family was never quite like everyone else’s, with her father’s mood swings, her mother’s attempts at normalcy, and her two older sisters with a different last name. But on the surface, they fit in.
Until the day the FBI came knocking on the door.
After that, her father’s mood plunged to a dangerous new low. After that, there was an investigation into his business and a sentencing in court. Soon Jiordan’s father would have to leave home, and her family would change forever.
Reckoning with the aftershocks of her father’s incarceration, Jiordan had to navigate friends who couldn't quite understand what she was going through, along with the highs and lows of first love. Under it all was the question: If Jiordan’s father was gone, why did she feel like the one who was disappearing?
Recounting her own experiences as a teenager, poet Jiordan Castle has created a searing and evocative young adult true-story-in-verse about the challenge to be free when a parent is behind bars.
About the Author
Jiordan Castle is the author of Disappearing Act, a true story. Her writing has appeared in HuffPost, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. She is a contributor to the LA-based food and culture magazine Compound Butter. Originally from New York, she received her BA in English from the University of San Francisco and her MFA in Poetry from Hunter College. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and their dog.
Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
“Compelling and accessible verse . . . In an author’s note, Castle describes her motivation for writing the book being in part about offering representation and reflection for the many children of incarcerated parents. In this, she’s a success, offering enough detail to be true to her story while still presenting the view of a child who does not know or understand the specifics of her parent’s crimes . . . Fans of Jennette McCurdy’s I’m Glad My Mom Died (2022) will also appreciate this candid memoir of a parent-child relationship.” —Booklist, starred review
“[A] striking verse memoir . . . Carefully worded poems depict Castle’s everyday insecurities—such as high school conflicts and difficulty navigating her first romantic relationship—alongside concerns about her father’s safety in prison (‘In movies they say don’t drop the soap./ They say sleep with one eye open’) . . . This moving account is an intense meditation on mental health and the prison system, as observed by Castle, who, according to an author’s note, crafted this story ‘for the other children of prisoners.’” —Publishers Weekly
“The occasional use of blank lines in place of words asks readers to guess what [Castle] is trying to say, bringing them into the narrative in an interesting way. All in all, verse is an unusual and rewarding format for telling this story. Thoughtfully recounts the challenges of growing up with an incarcerated parent.” —Kirkus Reviews
“An interesting narrative about the impact of incarceration on a middle-class family as well as an examination of the author’s various relationships.” —School Library Journal
“Searingly honest and compulsively readable, Disappearing Act holds just the kind of poems—and story—I wish I'd had in hand when I was a young person.” —Sara Nović, New York Times bestselling author of True Biz
“This vivid memoir shines a light on the difficulty of navigating a complex family dynamic through a beautiful blend of prose and poetry.” —Robin Ha, New York Times bestselling author of Almost American Girl
“Disappearing Act is a gut-punch of a beautiful, honest book. As someone who has experienced watching a loved one navigate incarceration, this story spoke to me on so many levels. From Castle’s thoughtfully rendered moments of negative space and loud silence on the page, to the lyrical letters to her future self and the tender care with which she portrays a family in crisis, I could not put this book down. A stunning, heart-opening work of art.” —Mariama J. Lockington, Stonewall Honor Award-winning author of In the Key of Us and For Black Girls Like Me
“A gorgeous memoir-in-verse, Jiordan Castle’s Disappearing Act is a heart-wrenching look at the cognitive dissonance that occurs when trying to reconcile who someone is with who you want them to be. Coming of age amidst her father’s incarceration, Castle’s story is a testament to the strength it takes to navigate high school when everything is going wrong. A story of family, love, friendship, loss, and grief, this sharp and evocative memoir offers a personal look at mental illness and the power of friendship and family. Disappearing Act is a must-read.” —Ariel Henley, Schneider Family Honor-winning author of A Face for Picasso
“Disappearing Act is gorgeously written with heartbreaking honesty. Castle dispatches scenes from her teen self in a powerful exploration of trauma and hope. Castle’s debut memoir-in-verse picks up the pieces from her shattered world and illuminates each fragmented memory with razor-sharp precision. The result is a stunning mosaic of a teen girl who discovers clarity and strength on the other side of a familial catastrophe.” —Jennifer Moffett, author of Those Who Prey