Review: The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

The Leaving-ReviewTitle: The Leaving

Author: Tara Altebrando

Published: June 7th 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Genre: YA, Mystery, Contemporary

My Rating: 4/5

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.

**I received a copy of The Leaving from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

I was instantaneously interested in this book due to the cover and title alone. And then there is the description, which is equally creepy and mysterious. It’s a hard combination to pass up if you love mystery and thrill.

For the most part, The Leaving lived up to my expectations. It was a mystery about the 5 out of 6 children that were returned home after 11 years of being missing, all with their memories wiped. It’s told in 3 POVs: Scarlett and Lucas, two of the returned, and Avery, whose little brother is the only missing child that wasn’t returned home.Processed with VSCO with q4 preset

For those returned, it’s a story of discovery; both self-discovery and the discovery of answers to what the hell happened to them.

For Avery, the sister of the only child who wasn’t returned with the others, it’s about holding her family, and herself, together in the face of whatever answers they might find about her little brother.


The characters are each so vast and different, which is really refreshing with multiple points of view. It isn’t difficult to determine who the speaker is, and it’s easy to like and dislike them for their own unique character qualities.

Altebrando takes on a unique, and visual, way of writing, which can either come off as confusing or clever, seeing as how the characters are unraveling their minds from the very start.

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The Leaving is a mystery riddled with clues, begging for you to figure it all out before the characters do. The only downfall to this book, is the ending. With as creepy as the cover, the title, and the description sound, I expected more from the ending, which fell flat for me. I wanted something more climactic to match the rest of the book. Instead, it was a decrescendo from the thrilling clues leading the teens on a crazy hunt for who they are.

I do not, however, think the ending killed the book in anyway, and I would still recommend The Leaving. It’s not an easy book to put down and would make a great rainy day read. I greatly enjoyed the thrill ride it took me on, and look forward to adding mysteries to my must-read genres.

Do you plan to read The Leaving? Do you love mysteries and thrillers?


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