Title: The Leaving
Author: Tara Altebrando
Release date: June 8th, 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Rating: 2/5 stars
I picked this book up last week cause I was on the verge of a reading slump and needed a quick and exciting book to keep me out of it. As you might have guessed from my two-star-rating, that didn’t really work. Keep reading to find out why.
This story starts off right after six five-year-old children mysteriously disappear on their first day of kindergarten.
Now, eleven years later, five of them return. With no knowledge about where they’ve been, who took them or what that person has done to them.
The story is told from the perspectives of two of the children who returned and that of the girl whose brother didn’t come back. Slowly but surely, the mystery revolving the disappearance and return starts to unravel.
That’s really all I can say without spoiling anything.
Now let’s talk about some of the characters. The first character I want to discuss is Avery. Avery is the younger sister of the only kid who didn’t return. We start the book from her perspective (as a four-year-old child) and she is one of the main three protagonists. Avery annoyed me very much throughout the book, she has a lovely boyfriend who is nothing but supportive of her and a best friend who tries very hard to please her, yet she still constantly complains. She is also a lot more concerned about possible new love interest than the well-being of her older brother, which really grinded my gears.
Next we have Scarlett, she is one of the children who came back. She is a lot more relatable for me personally, but I don’t feel like I can tell you why because she only starts discovering herself about a third of the way through the book. Something I can tell you is that she has a good head on her shoulders. And she doesn’t let anyone distract her from what she feels she has to do.
Lastly, I want to talk about Lucas, he is the third and final protagonist of this book. I liked him in the beginning of this book. I understood his thought process and I could relate to him most of the time. But that kind of started to shift about three-quarters into the book. Sadly, I can’t tell you why because of spoilers.
I know this review is quite negative, but there were (of course) some things that I did enjoy. For example, I enjoyed the fact that the media was portrayed very realistically in my opinion. I feel like if the events that occurred in this novel were to happen in real life, the media would react just like they did in the book. There would be crazy and very unrealistic movies made about The Leaving and the families would be bombarded with questions.
Now let’s talk about the things that I didn’t like about this book. First of all, the pacing really put me off. The first 50 and the last 70 pages were very fast paced and kept me on the edge, but everything in between was kind of a bore. I thought this book would be a thrilling page-turner that would keep me on the edge of my seat. But it didn’t, which brings me to my next point. I felt like the uncovering of the mystery was put on a back burner in favor of the romantic subplot in this story. The book focuses quite a lot on the romantic relations between characters and it wasn’t very interesting to read about. Maybe if this book was marketed as a romance novel with a mystery aspect, I wouldn’t have minded so much. But this is very clearly meant to be a mystery/suspense novel and that is not what I got from it.
My final thoughts:
Overall, I would not recommend this book if you are looking for a quick read or a thrilling mystery novel. However, if you are a lot more interested in romantic subplots and don’t mind the main plot being put on hold for that, then maybe give it a go. But to be brutally honest, I would say, skip this one.
Lots of Love,
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