Title: The Leaving
Author: Tara Altebrando
Author: Tara Altebrando
Genre: Young Adult | Mystery
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
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 (goodreads).
The Leaving keeps you wanting more and shaking your head in disbelief!
Plot: The Leaving sounds like your typical thriller: 6 children disappear after school one day in plain daylight. After 11 years, everyone has accepted the fact that they are dead. When 5 of the children return, the town erupts and the myster resurfaces.
While it sounds generic, I was happy to see that Altebrando made this story her own by playing around with the format and feeding the reader with just enough information to create the "Just-One-More-Page" syndrome.
I fell in love with the voice that each character was given and
the formatting of
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I did find the mystery of "Where have these kids been" overshadowed Max's mystery - the only child who did not return. And while I found the resolution unique and mostly satisfying, I couldn't help but raise my eyebrow and the Great Reveal. Either you'll love the ending or you'll hate it, it depends on you and your reading preferences.
Characters:t Altebrando really gave her characters defining voices and I loved that I could easily tell them apart. The Leaving is told from three perspectives: two of the formerly missing children and the sister to the still-missing Max. I mentioned in my review of With Malice that I loved how the main character struggled with memory loss and Altebrando set a similar tone with The Leaving. Little by little, the missing kids would remember something from their time away, but nothing seemed to make sense until the very end.
There is a romance (love triangle?) in The Leaving which really bogged the story down for me. The emotions felt artificial since the entire book takes place over a week or so. I make a rule to never confess my undying love to someone I've known for less than a week. But that's just me.
Worldbuilding: For a contemporary novel, I had a hard time understanding the setting. I almost felt like The Leaving was set in a blank space rather than a fleshed out town. There isn't a lot of background to the setting nor were there vivid descriptions of the area.
Short N Sweet: The Leaving will grab your attention from the very beginning. There are a few bumps along the way, but it's a great read for mystery lovers!