What: The Leaving by Tara Altebrando
Who: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
When: May 25th 2016
How: A copy of this novel was provided by Bloomsbury Australia for review.
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.
The Leaving was pretty darn addictive. I read the majority of this book in one sitting because I just wanted to know EVERYTHING. Which I think is a pretty good sign when it comes to a mystery novel. What are they without that ‘I need to know’ feeling?
The Leaving is told from three different perspectives, all in third person. We have Avery, who is the little sister of one of the six kids who went missing eleven years ago, and we have Scarlett and Lucas, who are two of the six kids who went missing.
At first I didn’t really understand why Avery’s chapters were included, until I realised that they were super important. Max, her brother, doesn’t come home with the rest of the children, so her experience is so different from everyone else’s. It also brings in the view point of the people left behind by such a tragedy, and how they are affected by all the news and theories and whatnot. There was a scene at the end of The Leaving between Avery and her parents that was really quite heartbreaking, and related to her being the child that didn’t go missing.
Scarlett and Lucas’s chapters were written in very … odd ways. All throughout Scarlett’s chapters there would be slash-marks (these bad boys: /) for when she was not remembering or understanding something, but it was so random. They didn’t follow any kind of pattern that I could see, and it just felt quite a bit pretentious, if I’m being honest. There were also words in loops and circles, too. Lucas’s chapters had random words in white surrounded by a black rectangle. I didn’t get this at all. I suppose it was supposed to represent the random things he could remember that didn’t have any context, but after a while they were annoying because they were mostly the same words over and over again.
I didn’t feel much of an emotional connection to any of the three characters, although I did feel a lot for their circumstances. I suppose it’s hard to connect to a character that can’t even connect to themselves, but I kind of just wanted a little more exploration of who they were beyond the loss of their memory (for Scarlett and Lucas), and the mystery of Max (for Avery).
I have to say that I totally did not see the ending coming. There were no clues given as to what might have happened, except that each of the teens had one or two random memories. I suppose this was to keep that ‘I have to know’ feeling going, which it certainly did. And the ending was super creepy, too.
There was a bit of a love triangle between our three main characters, which at times I thought was kind of stupid. I mean, Scarlett and Lucas have little to no memory of the last eleven years of their lives, and Avery’s brother is still missing, and they’re thinking about romance? I guess I understand why Scarlett and Lucas would be looking for a connection, since that is all they can remember from the past, but Avery’s sudden and intense attraction and yearning for Lucas seemed a bit out of the blue, considering the circumstances.
All in all, I did enjoy The Leaving. It was an incredibly addictive mystery novel that kept me guessing right until the very end. Which is exactly what you want from a book like this.
© 2016, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.