The Leaving – a YA mystery that will keep you reading

The Leaving – a YA mystery that will keep you reading

This is a one sitting read.  No matter what you feel about the characters or the plot, the mystery is going to keep you glued to the pages.   The thing is, though, that I rushed through the story to get answers, and now that I have time to really consider the other things that were happening, the story is pretty intriguing beyond the mystery.


Goodreads Summary

Six were taken. Eleven years later, five come back–with no idea of where they’ve been.

Eleven years ago, six kindergarteners went missing without a trace. After all that time, the people left behind moved on, or tried to.

Until today. Today five of those kids return. They’re sixteen, and they are . . . fine. Scarlett comes home and finds a mom she barely recognizes, and doesn’t really recognize the person she’s supposed to be, either. But she thinks she remembers Lucas. Lucas remembers Scarlett, too, except they’re entirely unable to recall where they’ve been or what happened to them. Neither of them remember the sixth victim, Max. He doesn’t come back. Everyone wants answers. Most of all Max’s sister Avery, who needs to find her brother–dead or alive–and isn’t buying this whole memory-loss story.

My Thoughts

The author’s decision to tell the tale from three perspectives is  a smart move because it focuses the story on the growth of three characters.  I didn’t particularly enjoy one of the narrative voices because she instantly formed an attachment to someone she hadn’t seen in eleven years and it comes across as a little psycho.  However, I do see the value her perspective added to the story as a whole.  I appreciate the fact that the book dealt with the relationships that were cut short when the kids disappeared.  There was an honesty to the struggle of reconnecting that added some depth.  In the end, I was a little underwhelmed by the answers, and I think some readers will struggle when the story shifts its urgency from the mystery that has driven them most of the way.  Personally, I thought that shift was essential to really highlight the focus of where the characters are at that point in their development, but other readers might see the story as loosing steam just when steam should be at an all time high.  Overall, I think this is a compelling book, and I know my high school readers will devour it almost as quickly as I did.  Language and situations are appropriate for high school readers.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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