The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

Annike: Hey guys, so I actually read this book a little while ago and back in July. However, it has taken me a while to get this out but I really did want to talk about it because I think my expectations were really high for this book and in some ways it delivered and in others not quite so much. So let’s get onto it!

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.

So today I wanted to divide this review into what I liked and what I didn’t like because I feel like this was a book that I had very opposing views on. There were some things I really loved and others I felt weren’t executed well enough. I will say now that I did quite enjoy this book and would recommend it to those who like young adult or mystery novels. So lets get into the breakdown.

What I Liked:
  • Right off the bat, I really loved the premise and the blurb of this novel. When I first read it in Goodreads I immediately wanted it and when Zoe revealed to me that she almost bought it for me once I was so excited. I thought the mystery sounded enticing, the fact that 6 kids went missing and only 5 came back – and even then it took them 11 years to come back. Even as the book continued I really did think that Tara Altebrando came up with such an interesting idea that I have to give her props for!
  • I really did like reading about the unravelling of the mystery and the ending. Even though I didn’t like the very ending (you can read about that below) I did like hearing about who did it and why they did it. After reading for quite a long time, I think that it was good how the ending wasn’t predictable but instead used a very imaginative motive and character.
  • Lastly, I think that this book had a really interesting formatting that just made it that little bit more fun to read :). There were words around the page in circles, in different sizes and with different formed images. It did confuse me a little at times but I thought it was a really unique and identifying part of the book which is always a plus.
  • What I Didn’t Like:
  • I was honestly a little bit confused with the perspectives that we were given in the story. 2 of the character – Scarlett and Lucas – each had their own chapters along with Avery who was the sister of the boy who never returned. I found it odd that several of the kids who came back were actually barely mentioned at all and the character development was a little sketchy at times. I found it hard to love the characters when I found them a little 2D.
  • Another problem that I had with this book was the way that it was very slow moving and seemed to drag on unnecessarily. The book was over 400 pages which I felt was slightly unnecessary so if I was to change something I think I would get rid of some of the content that wasn’t exactly important in the middle and get the plot moving fast enough to keep me really interested.
  • I actually really didn’t like the relationships between the characters in this book. I felt no connection between any of them very clearly and the romance was just not exciting at all. Sorry… but like 2 of the characters simply have a feeling that they are a couple which was just too weird and unnatural for me.
  • The families and connections in this book was just so anti-climactic after the kids arrived home. I mean like the siblings pretty much just asked what their siblings were doing back and all the parents were either totally distant and pretty bad parents or they were like not even around. I just thought that there ought to be some better kind of homecoming event, especially after the kids were gone for 11 years!
  • So yeah, thanks so much for reading guys. I hope this review wasn’t too harsh. I mean, I found quite a few of the aspects in this book quite weak but at the same time I thought it was such a good premise that I have to give Tara Altebrando credit for a good idea and a quite interesting execution. If you do want to read it go ahead cause I do know of quite a few people who have really enjoyed it and if you do like mystery then yes, this is definitely for you!

    3/5 stars

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