Title: The Leaving
Author: Tara Altebrando
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 is a book where six kindergarten children go missing. Eleven years later, only five come back with no recollection of what had happened in the past eleven years. I found the concept behind this story to be quite interesting but for me personally, it was not done as well as I would have liked it.
The writing style is quite unique and intriguing. The only problem is that there are often words that are curled and scatter around the page which can be quite confusing for the reader. This type of format in the book also cut the flow in the writing which greatly impacted the story. It made me feel disconnected to the book at certain points throughout the book where this type of format was used a lot.
The characters that were written were done mostly well. I did find myself wishing that there would be more POVs in the form of the other returning children. I found it to be almost lazy to miss them out. I would have much preferred if there were only three children missing compared to the six, with three children we rarely read about. Having the novel in third person made nearly all the POVs feel the same and made the story feel weaker. Having the story in first person for me personally would have created a stronger story and stronger characters. I enjoyed reading about Scarlett and Lucas but I did struggle to read Avery’s chapters. I understand the difficulty she would be experiences but some of her actions were immature, arrogant and petty like throwing her ice-cream out of the car or treating Sam like he’s some type of object, not a person. If she was younger, I would understand her attitude but for someone who is 15-16 years old, I found it quite irritating that she behaved the way she did. I think that someone in her situation wouldn’t be the person that Avery is. Her character is completely unrealistic and was someone I did not like reading at all.
The ending for me was done quite poorly. Throughout the book, we are on the edge of our seat waiting for the ending. I found it quite disappointing that I was able to guess the ending when I was only halfway through the book. For many people, it might have been a surprise but there were so many blatantly obvious clues that I couldn’t ignore. Usually this wouldn’t bother me but the fact that this way a mystery book made this fact bother me. Another part of the ending that left me bothered was the fact that so little of it made sense. I won’t go into because of spoilers but I felt like everything that happened at the end was unrealistic.
Overall, the book had an intriguing and interesting concept that unfortunately was not done as well as what I was hoping for. The writing style while unique, was quite confusing at times and unflowing and some of the characters were written poorly. If you like mystery, you might like this book but I wouldn’t recommend it honestly.
Rating 2.5/5 stars