Title: The Leaving
Author: Tara Altebrando
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Mystery/Thriller
Series: N/A, standalone
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
How do I describe this book? Honestly, I'm not sure where to even start. The Leaving is a powerful, dark, and sad meditation on grief, memory, life and death, and family. Is it a total mind-screw? Yup. The characters in this novel are many, but they are each unique and real, and full of flaws and tiny triumphs. And that's part of what made this book so powerful for me--it's something unlike anything I've ever read. I don't want to say too much about the plot, because the fun of it is going in blind. But six kids were taken mysteriously eleven years before the story starts--Max, Scarlett, Kristen, Adam, Lucas, and Sarah. But only five children come back, miraculously unharmed but without any memory whatsoever.
Avery, Max's little sister, is desperate for answers. When she begins to dig into her older brother's disappearance, she bonds almost immediately with Lucas. But when the kids begin to realize that The Leaving is so much bigger than they ever imagined, will they regret digging where they shouldn't? Will they wish they had left well enough alone? This book--it is one of my favorite books of the summer, if not the year. If all mysteries were written like this book, I would be absolutely ecstatic. One of the other selling points for me with this book was the format--it was so unusual and intriguing.
The pacing of The Leaving is absolutely breakneck, truly--you are thrown into the narrative and Altebrando doesn't let go. Even if you have to put the book down, it will haunt you until you can finish it. And there were so many twists and turns I'm pretty sure I received whiplash while reading it. (Beware!) An exciting, dark and beautiful novel, The Leaving is one of my favorite books of the year--a dark mystery wrapped in mediations on life and death, family, and memory! Absolutely stunning! Next on deck: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab!