The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

theleavingSix 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.

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Release Date: June 7, 2016

I was sent an ARC of this book by Bloomsbury in exchange for a review. This does not in any way affect my opinions or feelings about this book.

Also there is a Spoiler Warning further down in the review, but I’ll put it in BOLD LIKE THIS so you know when it starts and ends.

This was a very different book to what I’ve ever read before. I don’t actually think I’ve read a book in this style, and this just blew me away. I will admit that I found the first 100 pages difficult–it was unusual for me to read so many different perspectives in the one story, but once I got over that, I finished the second half of the book in the space of a day. We’re introduced to Scarlett, Lucas and Avery. Scarlett and Lucas are two of the children that returned, and Avery is the sister of the one that didn’t return. Through Scarlett and Lucas’s perspectives we watch them try to piece together what happened to them, where they were and why, where as with Avery, her main concern is finding out what happened to her brother and why he didn’t return with the others. Like I said, I really struggled through the start of this book, but that was just me and the different perspectives. Once I got over that I actually thoroughly enjoyed this book.

The Leaving is an excellent Mystery/Thriller in my opinion. I found that I was turning each page wondering what the hell was going to happen next, and the best part was I really didn’t know what was going to happen next. I’ve never read a story like this one before, so I was really excited to find out what happened to the kids and who was behind it. I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys a really good mystery or a thriller book, because in a way it kind of keeps you on the edge of your seat.

My favourite part of this book, (apart from the excellent story and writing, of course) was the unusual graphics of the text throughout the book. While reading Scarlett or Lucas’s chapters, because they’ve been through so much, I presume, the author does an excellent job of showing that their mentality, or their psych, isn’t quite all with it. I guess I don’t really know how to describe it, so I’ll show you a snippet or two, without spoiling the book for you:


If there’s one negative thing I would pick out about this book, it’s that I wasn’t happy with the outcome when they found their captors. The fact that there wasn’t much interaction with him if at all was quite disappointing, as it would have been nice to have had the whole thing explained by him–kind of like in the Scooby Doo mysteries, if you will. I also did and didn’t like that Lucas’s girlfriend was like a ‘secret agent’ for their captor, watching them the whole time.


With all that said, I definitely think there is opportunity for more books out of this. I’d love to read about what happened to the kids while they were away. They have a Journal of when they started to find out what was happening to them, and I think that itself would make for a great book. I think there’s also more that can be done with their captor. I was really left with the feeling of “we haven’t seen the last of this guy yet”.

The Leaving cover and description provided by Goodreads.com. Photos of the inside of the book are my own.


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