Welcome to Day 1 of 5 Days of Boldly Bookish, where you’ll find reviews, event recaps for the Boldly Bookish tour, and an great giveaway to be announced.

by Tara Altebrando
Release Date: June 7th 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Source: Netgalley
Rating:  ♥♥♥♥

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. 

My Thoughts:

While everyone is out reading summer contemporaries, I'm devouring mysteries and thrillers like there's no tomorrow. The Leaving is a great way to kick the summer mystery-thriller off because whoa, is it a ride. Literally, because it's one of those books I highly recommend picking up in person as the physical placement of text on the page is a component of the storytelling. 

We see the horror stories in the news - kids taken and (very rarely) returned years later. If they do return to their families, there are always questions about the circumstances they were held in and their escape. 

In The Leaving, five kids, now teens, return with no memory of their abduction, the eleven years following, or why Max, the sixth abductee, is no where to be found. The story is told in the multiple, third person perspectives of Lucas, Scarlett, and Avery. Lucas and Scarlett are desperate to remember something, anything, and Avery is desperate to find Max, her brother. In the eleven years since their disappearance, the families and their community have tried to move on, including erecting a community monument to honor them. 

The reality is people don't fully recover from something like a mass abduction. Avery could tell her family changed after Max's disappearance, even though she was very young. Lucas' father has a heart attack upon seeing his return. Scarlett's mom is convinced she was taken by aliens and later tries to force Scarlett to engage with the media. I was slightly put off with how the adults in this book happens, and I also have no idea how I would personally react if I experienced something similar. Not fully excusable but tragedy does often help us learn who a person truly is. 

Imagine not knowing who you really are, not just your name but little things like the type of clothes you like. Feeling constantly like things aren't correct but not knowing why or how to fix it. Never knowing if the emotions you're experiencing are real or a component of recovering your identity. While Lucas and Scarlett are piecing together what happened and who they are, their remaining three peers are mostly trying to move on, some going through hypnotherapy and others just ignoring what took place. Each of the teens holds one unique memory, which Lucas and Scarlett use in their exploration. A comprehensive set of research material ends up being available to Lucas and Scarlett, including a book called The Leaving. The Leaving explores memory and PTSD. Hmm. Over time, we learn that each of the kids experienced a school shooting, up close and personal. This element ends up being an important catalyst in their memory recovery process and I wish Altebrando had spent a little more time exploring this. 

The last 15% of the book is highly addictive and much of the answers are contained there. I thought I had the mystery figured out but I ended up being partially correct. There's complete resolution so you leave the book feeling satisfied. I personally accepted the answers, but definitely wish a little more had been explored, possibly in an epilogue.

Take a moment to listen to Tara Altebrando as she reads from THE LEAVING

Now a little something extra from Tara 


  1. I'm glad you liked this one! I have a copy and I can't wait to start it.
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

    1. You'll have to come back and tell us how you like it! I love that the physical placement of the words tell a story along with the actual words.


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