Bwogger Abi Peters returns to book club to review Tara Altebrando’s ‘The Leaving’.
Recommended for: Fans of mysteries and thrillers.
Summary: Eleven years before the book, six kindergartners go missing. The book beings when five of them return with no memory of where they have been or of the sixth child they disappeared with. The book spans fifteen days as the sister of the still-missing boys tries to uncover the mystery surrounding the disappearance and find her brother.
Review: The plot of this book quickly drew me in, and I was hooked from the first chapter. Altebrando effectively unravels the mystery fast enough so the reader doesn’t lose interest but slow enough so that the tension can increase throughout the book.
One element of the book that I wasn’t expecting was the way in which Altebrando plays with the placement and form words to express how confused the returned teenagers are feeling. Some words are left unfinished, some are written in spirals on the page and some are jumbled up, much like the memories of the characters. Whilst some readers may not enough this style of writing, personally, it added to my experience of reading the book.
The characters in the book are well developed, especially commendable considering most of them cannot remember anything about themselves and struggle to piece together their own identities. Altebrando also captures the different ways in which parents would suffer following such a catastrophic incident, from the mother who is adamant her daughter was abducted by aliens to the father who has dedicated his life to a sculpture in memory of the missing.
However, there were often too many subplots happening at once and the romances particularly felt out of place and underdeveloped, unmatched to the tone of the rest of the book.
Yet despite this, I really enjoyed this page-turning mystery.
book cover via Goodreads