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The Leaving

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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.

421 pages, Hardcover

First published June 7, 2016

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About the author

Tara Altebrando

12 books360 followers
Tara Altebrando is the author of numerous books for young adult and middle-grade readers. Her upcoming book, THE LEAVING (Bloomsbury), is a YA thriller that received a starred PW review and is a Junior Library Guild selection. Her other YA novels include ROOMIES, coauthored with Sara Zarr; Dreamland Social Club (A Kirkus Reviews Best Books for Teens), The Best Night of (Your) Pathetic Life, What Happens Here, and The Pursuit of Happiness.

Tara is a Harvard graduate who lives in Queens, NY, with her husband and children.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,383 reviews
Profile Image for Lala BooksandLala.
500 reviews63.8k followers
May 23, 2016
This story has 2 mysteries: where these kids have been for the past eleven years, and what happened to Max - the one kid still missing. The concept was so fascinating to me, but while the journey to get there was almost bearable, the reveal to both mysteries was extremely unsatisfying.

That's basically what I took away from this book. And since I've already dedicated too much time (aka 432 pages) to this story, I don't have the desire to write a well structured, thought out review. So here are some bullet points of what I didn't enjoy.
• The choice to only have 2 of the 6 missing characters get chapters. I really didn't understand this decision. It felt lazy, and if your fear was that you lacked the ability to create 6 distinct voices, maybe you shouldn't have had 6 missing kids. There was literally no reason that it couldn't have just been those 2 kids who went missing - we got no insight into the other kid's lives anyway, they served absolutely no purpose.
• The choice to write this in third person. I feel like it would have been much stronger if we actually had the characters narrate.
• The writing style. It was cringe worthy. It was also confusing because the words were all artsy, swirling around the page and put in boxes and what not, but then the "voice" of the chapters were identical. This gimmick helped distinguish whose chapter was whose, but then shouldn't the rest of the chapter read like a different person each time?
• The timeline being linear. There could have been a psychological element to this if we got flashbacks, especially if we didn't know what time frame we were reading. Especially if they were from Max. A missed opportunity for sure.
• The love stories. Were they really necessary? The love triangles were such a waste of time, and some of the romances (*cough cough Avery's) were so painfully unrealistic. I never connected to any of the characters, let alone their love lives.
• The concluding of everything. We never got answers for a LOT of stuff, and the things we DID get answers for, were beyond boring. There were a few plot twists that got my attention, but overall everything left me saying, "Really? That's it?" All the mystery got wrapped up in 10 pages, and not in a good out-of-nowhere catch-you-off-guard kind of way.

*Galley provided by the publisher
325 reviews302 followers
July 16, 2018
Ugh! I wanted to love this book. I’ve been hyped for it since I first read the description! Six kindergarteners go missing on the first "real" day of school. Eleven years later, five of the six missing kids return home with no memory of where they were or what they were doing for the past decade. The newly returned Scarlett and Lucas want to regain their memories, but maybe it's best for them both if they don’t.

What was love if not a kind of forgetting? A forgetting about the inevitability of loss. Or was love more a kind of remembering? Remembering how badly we need to be needed, understood. Remembering that maybe it was the whole reason we were here.

I haven't been able to concentrate or even string two thoughts together lately, so I thought reaching way back into my TBR list for a thriller might be the cure. I didn't realize The Leaving was a young adult mystery until a few chapters in. I’ve had such bad luck with YA baiting me with a compelling premise only to blindside me with 75% romantic hand-wringing and this book falls into that same territory. The chapters alternate between two of the returned (Scarlett & Lucas) and the sister of the boy who's still missing (Avery). The entire book covers a little over two weeks. A large portion of this story was either (A) Lucas and Scarlett wondering if they had a romantic relationship while they were missing or (B) Avery obsessing over the “electric” connection she felt with Lucas during their brief meeting. To be fair, I'm not a big fan of romantic storylines anyway, so I might be overly sensitive to it. However, I don't think any of the romance would've been compelling even if I was interested, because the characters were so one-note. Lucas is angry, Scarlett struggles with feelings of not belonging, and Avery is so self-absorbed and selfish (ex.: her bitterness about a happy bride, throwing ice cream out of her boyfriend's moving car, her misplaced feelings of ownership over Lucas inspiring her to stalk Scarlett, etc.).

[Avery] felt like she was digging deep and hitting stone. Then felt a strange panic about how much she had forgotten, just in the course of a normal life. People who were gone only lived on in your memory if you had memories. Why hadn’t she held on tighter?

The cops and families behaved so strangely the entire time. The big return seemed like barely a blip on any of their radars! Their reactions and the investigation were oddly subdued for such a major event. It was like,"Oh. They're back." I kept forgetting about the kid who was still missing, which I assumed would be one of the main focal points. Avery wants to find her brother, but she seems more concerned about her love life. The more alluring mysteries and interesting concepts took a backseat to the teenage drama, which was happening almost entirely in the characters' heads. A hint about what happened to the teens was introduced so early that I was disappointed by the actual ending.

Without memory you were a goldfish.

Swimming  i n  c i r c l e s

Without memories you were . . .



. . . no one.

I also wasn't a big fan of the weird textual quirks and word art. "Scarlett’s" chapters are filled with backslashes, which represent the “clicking” in her head. I actually thought my ebook file was corrupt at first, so that effect didn't really work for me! Lucas's chapters are distinguished by text banners illustrating his occasional memory flashes. And then there was the word art! I was already annoyed by the hints of a love triangle, so my irritation intensified when the characters' names were literally arranged in the shape of a triangle. (A different triangle than the one I just complained about— the characters were speculating about a love triangle they might've been a part of while they were missing.)

“[H]ow do you form and maintain your identity if you have no memories?”
“You have the whole rest of your life ahead of you to make memories.”
“But how do I know how to be?”
“How does anybody? Most people only come into adulthood with a handful of vivid memories of their childhood anyway. There’s a forgetting curve that has been researched and documented. The longer you live, the less you remember. Don’t overvalue what you’ve lost.”

Is it best to forget some things or do the totality of our experiences make us better equipped for the future? Scarlett and Lucas feel like nonentities because they can't remember the last 2/3s of their lives, but maybe they aren't so different from the rest of us. How much do any of us remember from our childhoods? And how many of those memories real? One doctor informs Lucas that "[p]eople aren’t shaped by conscious memories so much as they are by their overall life experience and bonds. The important thing is arriving at adulthood feeling secure." I don't feel like this story actually delved into any of these issues, as much as it just raised the questions.

We are all dust. All dying. All losing. All forgetting. We are all leaving all the time.

Where were the missing kids the whole time? Who took them and why? Where is the one kid who's still missing? What's the mysterious object in Scarlett's poop? The Leaving was a really odd read for me. All the elements were there, but they didn't coalesce into anything satisfying. The beginning and end were entertaining enough, but I could’ve skipped the entire middle half and not missed much. On the positive side, the unique formatting made it a quick read and the passages about the memory formation were interesting. Many of the things that I didn't like in this book reminded me of the The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillian (unnatural behavior, unnecessary perspectives). If you liked the subject of this book, you might be interested in The Clarity by Keith Thomas. It's about an eleven-year-old girl who has memories of serving in a war 90 years ago.
Profile Image for Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings).
1,564 reviews173 followers
October 9, 2017
FIRSTLY, I must say I did not like the author Tara Altebrando's writing style during Scarlett's/Lucas' chapters at all. In my opinion it was totally unnecessary and broke up the free flow of the text. However, I do appreciate that this is a YA thriller so the very unique design of writing would probably be more suited and be attractive to younger readers of that genre better.
BUT - I did love the opening chapters, I was thoroughly hooked and couldn't wait to see how the story panned out. Six five year old children go missing on a school trip to 'The Leaving'. After eleven years only five come back with no memory whatsoever of where they have been or for how long. Now everyone wants answers.
UNFORTUNATELY - There were quite a few gripes that I had with the story in general - reactions, emotions, unnecessary relationships and memories from being five years old etc - to do with the characters and the plot line but I can honestly say I COULDN'T put this book down, and really wanted to see how it all came together at the end.
Despite the various flaws, this for me was a seriously addictive book, I would recommend it, I hugely enjoyed it - not too sure about the ending- but I'm pleased I read "The Leaving" (although this must sound a very conflicting review to anyone reading this) and I would like to thank the Goodreads Giveaways for my copy.

4 stars.
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,780 reviews14.2k followers
December 22, 2017
3.5 Addicting, I was seriously addicted to this story. Six children disappear on their first day of kindergarten, eleven years later five come home. No memory of where they had been, nor who took them to begin with. No memory of Matt, the missing child. The story is narrated, in alternating chapters by Avery, the missing boys sister, Scarlet and Lucas, two of the returned. They each try together, and separately try to figure out where they have been. The writing during Scarlet's narration was kind of strange, not sure why it was written that way, but really the whole book is mysterious.

Not that this is perfect, I could poke my usual holes in some of the plot occurrences. Why I went down to 3.5, but.....I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Such a strange story, and I enjoyed trying to put things together, just as the characters were trying to do. There are clues strewn throughout, things they each remember, feelings, other things that happened from before they were taken, but this was for me, impossible. I do wish the ending was a little less emotionally dramatic, but this is marketed for the young adult audience, and at that age I probably would have loved it.
Profile Image for lauren ❀.
294 reviews432 followers
July 7, 2017
UPDATE 7/Jul/2017

I have been wanting to lower my rating for this book ever since I read it but I just haven't been bothered. The more I thought about this book, the more I realised how anticlimactic it actually is. This book was so good and compelling right until everything is revealed and then it's so disappointing. I have no idea why I would give such a high rating so I am taking it down to 3 stars. I think that rating is much more accurate.

4.5 stars!!

Spectacular! This book was astounding and I was so close to giving it five stars! I have been anticipating this book for 6 months and I was so eager to read it and had high expectations. This novel kept me on the tip of my seat and putting it down was so difficult because in every chapter something drastic happened that just made me want to carry on reading to find out what occurs next.

Throughout this whole book, I was on the edge of my seat and the suspense was killing me. The book was told through the perspective of three different people: Lucas (a victim), Scarlet (another one of the victims) and Avery (Max’s brother). The book alternated among these three points of view. Usually having various viewpoints is a good thing and when reading this book, it was BUT it was also killing me! In almost all the chapters it just has to end on a cliffhanger. Now here am trying so hard not to skip all the way to their perspective just to find out what happens next and I managed to stop myself. Then I carried on to the next point of view which also had a cliffhanger at the end. Then I had to wait AGAIN! I was about to die because of the suspense and the continuous need to skip and find out what happens. Due to this, I was so engrossed in this book and I probably would have finished it in a day. Actually, I probably could have finished it in one sitting but I just didn’t have time. Days are just too short!!

The writing style of this book was just so cool!!! There are so many cool effects that are used in the book and it just makes you read it in a different way than if the same thing had been written normally. An example would be that when it was talking about a flock of birds the words were flipped around and arranged so that the words were positioned in the shape of a bird. Or when it was talking about a wave, the words were shaped like waves. That made the book so much more unique and made you add emphasis to those certain areas. This book may have been 400 pages but it was just a quick read. I flew through it and all the cool stuff with the words took up a lot of space so it was actually much shorter. Some pages also just had only one word in the middle of the page.

I was so so so close to giving it 5 five stars but I just couldn’t. It was all because of the ending. My expectations were really high and the book just wasn't able to meet my expectations of ending. Before I read this book I read a couple reviews saying the ending was unsatisfying and I kind of have to agree.

This is why:

Although some things bugged me (they are listed in the spoilers) overall this book was great!!! Amazing and such a quick read! It went straight into it and I didn’t have to wait 100 pages before something happened. This is why I love mystery/thriller book because as soon as you start reading it dives straight away into the story. This book was exactly like that. People have to read it because it’s a book you cannot put down and won't regret!
Profile Image for Jeann (Happy Indulgence) .
1,010 reviews4,138 followers
August 31, 2016
This review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!

I have a penchant for devouring YA thrillers, so when I heard about the mystery behind The Leaving, I had to pick it up.

Five teenagers get dropped off home with no knowledge for the past 11 years. They have procedural memory, but they have no memory of their relationships with each other, or what they've done and where they've spent their time. We get three perspectives - two of the missing teenagers, Lucas and Scarlett, and Avery, the younger sister of one of the missing people who didn't return.

The mystery of where they've been and what happened to the 6th teenager is unfolded throughout the course of the book, with a few twists and turns along the way. This kept me reading, as I wanted to unravel the mystery. Unfortunately, the book dragged on at times with a lot of unnecessary detail that made no impact on the final outcome. There also wasn't very much excitement along the way,

I also found the three characters bland and emotionless, with the relationship between them seemingly more important than the gaps in their memory. I felt the mystery was thrown to the sidelines as Avery would pine over Lucas and Lucas and Scarlett would attempt to figure out where they stand with each other. The different characters and their messy relationships left my head spinning.

I did like the narrative of the book, with creative formatting and choppy writing to illustrate the gaps in Lucas and Scarlett's memory. The ending, which is usually the best part of a thriller, was also incredibly underwhelming as it kind of fizzles out towards the end.

Overall, The Leaving left me disappointed with my search for answers by the end of the book. It all seemed a bit too convenient with much of the book dragging out with characters I couldn't really connect with. The mystery did keep me reading though and there were some unique aspects of the twist, but it was a bit too messy for me.

I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Michelle (Pink Polka Dot Books).
517 reviews345 followers
June 4, 2016
I think 3.5 Stars. I HAD to know what the end result was, but I didn't much like the characters or the end result???

6 kindergarteners went missing-- 10 years later, 5 of them return unharmed, but without memory of where they've been or why they were taken. Some people think they're faking it, some think they're dangerous, some even think maybe they were abducted by aliens.

Avery is the sister of the one boy who didn't come back, and she's not giving up until she finds out the truth about her brother.

My Thoughts:
Kudos to this book for making me not want to put it down. I really got INVOLVED in the story, but the characters?? Not so much. There wasn't a single one that I actually liked or ever really found myself caring about (except maybe the one boy who wasn't even in the book because he was still missing). Usually the way I felt about these characters would kill the mystery for me-- because I just wouldn't care, but this mystery was so odd and exciting that I had to find out what the hell was going on- for me, not for them.

The Characters: Like I said I felt blah about them. There's the returned kids- Scarlett, Sarah, Adam, Kristin, and Lucas. Lucas and Scarlett are the only 2 POVs we get to hear out of the returned teens... and there isn't anything about either one of them that stands out. I didn't hate them, but there wasn't anything about them to really like either. Adam and Sarah are barely in the book and when they are, they're not very nice. Kristin is one character I felt like I could like, but she's not around enough for me to really get to know. Now we get to Avery.... ughhh Avery. She was terrible. SO judgmental, so too-cool-for-school. Everything annoyed her, everything was cliche to her. She's a bad friend and a bad girlfriend... and kind of a stalker. Her brother is missing and she claims it's her mission to find out about that, but really all she cares about is her instalove-crush on Lucas and how she can go about making that relationship happen. It felt creepy to me. I started worrying for his safety not from his kidnappers, but from this girl who kept being jealous and obsessive over him.

The thing this book has going for it is you (the reader) really have no idea what the answers are. There aren't many clues, so you start thinking it could literally be anything in (or out of) the realm of possibility. I mean, I really did think it was aliens at one point.

The Ending: I didn't love it. It was just like, oh that's it?? All that, and that's all there is? It wrapped up super fast, and maybe that's my issue. I didn't dislike what happened, it was just the speed of it.

PS- I read an advanced e-copy so I'm wondering if the "//// // ////" marks and the backwards random words scattered throughout are staying for the final copies? I hope not...

OVERALL: I say it's definitely worth a try. I didn't like the characters, but I didn't necessarily need to in order to want to read the book late into the night. I'd recommend it for beach reading (because I like reading mysteries on the beach) or just to anyone looking for a book that will keep you guessing.

My Blog:

Pink Polka Dot Books
Profile Image for Elena Salvatore.
220 reviews112 followers
February 26, 2017
The book starts with Avery who is just a toddler, wondering where her brother is.

And then we jump 11 year ahead... 5 Teenagers wake up with a blindfold covering their eyes, a van taking off and them having no recolection of how they got there, where there is and who they are as much as they lives beyond this exect moment.
After taking off the blindfold, they only saw the van leaving and realized they were all wering the same clothes and discovered a map in their pocets with a "X" marking a spot of each of their homes.

So after each going home, they have to find answers to 5 questions which will explain everything:
- Who abducted them?
- Why can't they remember anything?
- Why return them now?
- Who is Max and
- Where is Max?

Searching for these answers is basicaly the entire book.

Lucas and Scarlett follow clues that will bring back memories of their previous life until all their questions are answered in the most unsatisfactory way ever.
And I was like

What I didn't get was why we only got Lucas's and Scarlett's POV and not every kid from the "Leaving" trying to sort themselves back into the lives of their families.

All in all the book had me on edge till the end guessing who's behind in all this and if the reveling would be written differently and the reason behind the abduction would be a more "dark" reason, this book could be a 5 Star.
Still 3.5/5 Stars
Profile Image for Rose.
1,878 reviews1,064 followers
March 21, 2017
Quick review for quite a strenuous read. I think "The Leaving" had good ideas and intentions, but in the end, none of it worked for me. I'll admit I really had to push myself in a marathon just to get through this book. It was very sluggishly paced (for little to no reason at all), the characters were lacking (you have three perspectives: two of the abducted kids and one who's the sister, and there seems to be a mismatch with the gravity of the emotional events with the voices of the characters, who seemed very removed from it all despite having gaping holes in their memory and a potential missing kid that they don't even remember who might still be out there somewhere), and the mystery had little to no buildup. Matter in point, the story ends with such a telegraphed ending with very little expansion that I just felt underwhelmed at the whole deal despite this being in a genre I usually like. I spent more than 3 hours in spurts just to get that ending? *sighs*

The variant font stylistics also added nothing to the story, so don't think you're missing much if you don't get the inclusion or why it was done that way.

In the end, not my cuppa and not really worth the time I spent on it. A shame since the premise and certain reveals in the book had potential, but the cast of characters, pacing and narrative focus just weren't there.

Overall score: 1.5/5 stars.
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,221 reviews1,560 followers
September 2, 2016
Eleven years ago six kindergartners went missing from their school with the search turning up absolutely nothing to what had happened to them. The families tried their best to go on with their lives slowly losing hope over the years that they would ever be returned.

Now, at sixteen, five of the missing children have returned. The teenagers are foggy and think that they have been drugged but have absolutely no memory of what had happened to them for the last eleven years. With only glimpses of memories to give any sort of clue everyone of course wants answers to where they have been and what had happened to them.

The Leaving is a young adult mystery/thriller told from multiple POVs of those involved in the story. It's written in a somewhat poetic prose style. Definitely a unique writing style for this type of story so I was kind of hoping for something good to come out of the story with the uniqueness but in the end I was rather disappointed.

The story started off completely engaging me and I couldn't wait to keep reading and find out what had happened to these kids. Unfortunately it didn't take too long for the pace to completely slow down and perhaps even stall out a bit for me and found myself losing interest.

Once finished with this book I found myself with yet another disappointment unfortunately. The book is in the thriller family that seems to give you the situation, point to a solution then wrap up with something out of nowhere. This formula doesn't work for me since I like to have clues and suspects and try to figure things out myself while I read.

Overall, unusual writing style, an amazingly gripping story line but unfortunately fell short for me with the execution.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.wordpress....
Profile Image for Odette Brethouwer.
1,447 reviews238 followers
November 27, 2016
This book intrigued me as soon as I saw the cover. 'Six kids disappeared. Five teenagers returned.' I wanted to knew what happened right away.

This book lived up to it's expectations. Sometimes they did special things with the layout of thoughts, which really added to the story.

I noticed when I red the second third of the book that I was still intrigued every page and wanted to know what happened, it was a real page-turner, but that I didn't learned anything about what happened.. This is really remarkable for a book to do that to me! i also really liked how the story played out, the plot is really well worked out!

I highly recommend this book to al YA thriller lovers!

This is the first hard copy edition for review I ever received, which is really cool. I really love it that publishers are starting to look beyond bloggers and booktubers. Of course, they have their value, of course, but there are other ways to pay attention for a book as well so kudos to the Dutch publisher Young&Awesome for their broader view!
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,737 reviews709 followers
May 14, 2016
This synopsis of this sounded like something I would absolutely enjoy, so I was eager to start reading it.

I did get sucked in right away. The idea was intriguing and the way the story was broken up between the characters kept me quickly turning the pages. I loved the misdirection and how I felt like every time I might have something figured out, everything shattered.

It was a bit long...granted there's a lot of story to tell and it did need to be told. Some scenes did seem a bit repetitive.

I am purposely leaving this review vague because anything I want to say could be spoilery. Overall, it was a captivating idea and a book I know I'll read again.

**Huge thanks to Bloomsbury and NetGalley for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for Meli.
626 reviews408 followers
September 17, 2016
Podría ser perfecto, lo tiene todo para serlo, pero falla.

La premisa es espectacular, la trama viene fantástica, mega misteriosa, manejas mil hipótesis, promete volarte la cabeza con todo. Pero no, lamentablemente la resolución es conformista y poco emocionante, bastante tirada de los pelos.

Lo amaba tanto, y me rompió el corazón.

Un libro entretenido y bastante bueno, pero no espectacular.
Profile Image for Neil (or bleed).
982 reviews749 followers
July 21, 2016
"A whole generation oblivious to the truth of the human condition is a recipe for the collapse of society."

This is not my first novel of Tara Alterbrando since I've already read her co-authored novel with Sara Zarr, entitled Roomies (which I loved). Roomies is a contemporary, realistic fiction novel. The Leaving is a mystery-thriller. So, I don't know what to expect, at first, with this book. And now, having read this book, I could say that Tara has the talent to write these kinds of novels. Even the novel has lacked of intensity, it was well-crafted and intelligently-written.

The Leaving is a mysterious tale of six children who went missing without a trace and came back as 16-year-old teens who don't exactly remember everything happens to them in the past few years of their disappearances.

And now everyone wants answers. Everyone wants to know the truth. And that everyone includes me, of course.

In my honest opinion, it is a slow journey, at first, but as I went along, it diverts to an engaging and intriguing read. Then, it comes back to being slow and backs again for being compelling, and so on. It's like the book is giving you a time to rest; which I don't know if it is a good thing or not. Probably not since as for a mystery-thriller novel, I like me a spontaneous heartstopping revelations and mind-blowing twists that will truly shock the hell out of me and will leave me gasping for breaths.

Anyway, as I've mentioned earlier even The Leaving does lack of intensity, I do think it was brilliantly thought of. It was well-plotted and well-developed. Intricate details are subtly and obviously told at the same time. And the twists after twists are sensible and reasonable. Besides, the main concept/ point of the story-- of why the children has gone missing, is absolutely fascinating and unpredictable.

It's not perfect but it is still worth a try.
Profile Image for Marcia.
1,053 reviews110 followers
November 6, 2016
Helaas kon Verdwenen niet aan mijn verwachtingen voldoen. Het idee van 5 jongeren die na 11 jaar vermissing opeens opnieuw opduiken vond ik erg tof - zeker omdat ze zich niets kunnen herinneren van de afgelopen jaren. Zo weet niemand van hen wie Max is - de zesde persoon die 11 jaar geleden met hen van de aardbol verdween.
Helaas laat de uitwerking van het boek te wensen over. Er gaat veel aandacht naar de onderlinge liefdesrelaties, terwijl het echte mysterie aan het einde wel heel snel ontrafeld wordt - en mij bovendien met veel te veel vragen achterliet. Dit boek had zo goed kunnen zijn, maar helaas is dit niet het geval.
Ik vraag me overigens wel af of 'Het vertrek' een echt bestaand boek is, want dat zou ik wel graag lezen! Deze theorie was namelijk een van de weinige zaken die me aansprak in Verdwenen.
Profile Image for Book Madness (Elif Tazegül).
269 reviews46 followers
November 17, 2019
Sanırım daha önce hiç böyle bir kitap okumadım. Ve bu kitabı belki de bu yüzden çok sevdim. Spoiler olmasın diye içeriğe hiç girmeyeceğim. Çünkü en ufak bir şey spoiler olabilir. Okuyun bence. Sonunun böyle çıkmasını hiç beklemiyordum. Ben daha uçlarda bir son beklemiştim. Bu daha normal geldi. Yazarın anlatım tarzı biraz tuhaf. Sanki bazı yerlerde cümle kurmaya üşenmiş gibi geldi. Sadece birkaç kelime yazmış geçmiş. Sonuç olarak güzel bir gerilim kitabıydı. Hangi kategoriye girer bilemedim ama bence gerilimdi ve de iyiydi 👍🏻
Profile Image for Kelly (Diva Booknerd).
1,106 reviews299 followers
June 16, 2016
3.5 Stars.
The Leaving was a bizarre blend of contemporary and intrigue that will leave readers wondering what is real and what we're manipulated to believe. Told from several points of view, Lucas and Scarlett who were both taken at five years of age and from the perspective of Avery, who's brother Max was taken and has yet to return with the other five teens. Scarlett is returning to a single mother, a former alcoholic who believes her daughter was abducted by aliens and has immersed herself in a support group of other returnees. Lucas returns to a tragic accident and now being questioned by the police. Based on how they gravitate towards one another, Lucas and Scarlett believe they may have been once in love, but the memory has been altered upon their return, along with Kristen, Sarah and Adam. It's Avery who is waiting for her brother Max to come home, the sixth child stolen and now seemingly missing. Avery doesn't believe that the returned group can't remember where they've been or who Max is, and is determined to conduct her own investigation fueled by jealousy and anger.

The core storyline of the children being taken and returned eleven years later was brilliant. I loved the intrigue as the storyline unraveled as to why the children were taken and where they've been. What did disappoint me was Avery's character. She fluctuated from being jealous of not only the attention the group were receiving, but also of Scarlett and her relationship with Lucas. She's one of the most narcissistic characters I've come across in young adult and I found unable to tolerate her attitude. She could have been forgiven, as her brother is still missing while the others have returned with an unlikely story but in the same breath, she's disappointed that a body recovered was not that of her brother.

Each point of view is vivid and uniquely told using the page formatting to represent each character of Scarlett and Lucas. With memory loss comes confusion and voids within their thoughts and is formatted to give the reader a sense of their inner turmoil. Scarlett's thoughts are scattered with dashes reaching across paragraphs and pages, often in the middle of her thoughts or sentences while Lucas's memories are heard in sounds, such as a gun being loaded and formatted as large black boxed quotes.

It was the final few chapters that left me bewildered. Avery determined to lure Lucas into a romantic relationship even though her brother is still missing was awkward and uncomfortable. It didn't feel genuine and that she pined away for Lucas only because she wanted what she believed Scarlett held. The disappearance of Kristen, Sarah and Adam from the storyline, we see brief updates of their lives only to fade into obscurity and of course the conclusion. It felt almost unplanned and I didn't fully grasp what was happening without having to reread due to it being so utterly random.

Overall, I really did enjoy it despite it's issues. But the ending left me unsatisfied and Avery's character, who also let the storyline down with her constant narcissistic attitude and indulgent personality.
Profile Image for Ingerlisa.
297 reviews48 followers
September 23, 2020

This one was very consistent for the most part. It was a solid 3 stars throughout and I knew that the ending could shift it either way. Unfortunately the ending was such a disappointment. It was far to predictable and everything slotted into place far too conveniently that some questions remained. The characters never really questioned what they were being told despite having bad memories they always went with the first thing that came to their mind. And similarly, the characters who didn’t suffer the memory loss because they were not taken, also accepted whatever the 5 with terrible memories said. I’m pretty sure if someone who couldn’t remember the last 11 years of their life waltzed in a told me ABC I would be a bit more skeptical than these people.

This was also fairly slow pacing for a thriller, even the end reveal just kind of unravelled at a snails pace. I like thrillers that have a little for traction.

It also screamed YA. Don’t get me wrong I love YA but I have never had much luck with YA thrillers I don’t know what it is about them but I never seem fully satisfied with them. The characters typically are quite one dimensional and you always have a weird romance as a plot line that really doesn’t add much of anything to the book. Which unfortunately this book also was guilty of.

What I did enjoy about this one was the atmosphere. I think it did allow you to allude to all different conspiracies of what happened to the 6 missing kids and where they had been. It was even rumoured aliens which honestly I wouldn’t have complained about. The actual reveal was just so underwhelming for me.
Profile Image for Ryan Buckby.
664 reviews88 followers
August 22, 2016
actual rating: 3.5

i did enjoy this book but there were some flaws in the writing style and story that i had an issue with but don't get me wrong the whole story concept is very interesting and i still enjoyed it.

6 children go missing when they're all six and only 5 children return 11 years later with no memory of what had happened to them. we go back from perspectives of two of the missing children and one of the sisters of the child who never returned with the other 5. I would have love to see more perspectives of the missing children so i could of gotten a sense of how they were feeling with the whole situation. I enjoyed Scarlett's and Lucas chapters very much however i didn't like Avery's chapters i felt that character was the weakest one throughout the book.

I found the clues very predictable to they were there were you could plainly see them which left me scratching my head because when i read mystery/thriller books i want to be left with questions and get the answers at the end instead of while i'm reading.

The ending was disappointing for me as well but i won't go into to much detail on what i didn't dislike because i want people to read and find out about it for themselves

If you love mystery/thriller novels i think you will love this book.
Profile Image for Read Me Like….
201 reviews80 followers
June 25, 2016
*****You can read my full review at Darling & Co.*****

I discovered The Leaving in an article about the best young adult books being released in June and after reading the synopsis, I went to Amazon and purchased it. When it arrived, I started reading it right away, even though I currently have 3 other books I'm reading; I needed to read this ASAP. I finished it in a day, and it's been a long time since I've done that with a book. This book is definitely on my must read list! I will be recommending this to everyone!

All of the characters are very well thought out and their development through the book is so real (aside from Avery's infatuation with Lucas). Some of the characters I loved the most weren't even the main characters.

This novel is beautifully written, the suspense is never-ending, and the "bad people" are people who you would never think of. I loved every second of this book!
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 28 books5,675 followers
July 27, 2016
I was UNABLE to put this book DOWN.
Super twisty mystery, not unlike GONE GIRL, without being completely repulsive, not unlike a Scandinavian crime thriller, without being totally gory. The perfect mystery/thriller, in fact for a teen looking for a great page turner! I even admired the characters I thought were horrible! And I was trying to figure out what the HECK was going on right up until the very end!

Profile Image for Hallie.
954 reviews123 followers
October 11, 2016
Would have been much better if a stupid romance hadn't been forced into it. That and cut down the drama a lot . Then this would have been an interesting thriller, with smart teens using their brains, and just a much tighter story.
Profile Image for maddi j.
40 reviews66 followers
January 8, 2022
4/5 stars

I enjoyed this book very much. At times the plot was a little slow, though I did like the author's writing style. This is an easy, weekend read when you are looking for some mystery and a little romance woven in.

I definitely recommend this book for any middle-grade readers.
Profile Image for Hannah Cassie.
404 reviews143 followers
March 17, 2019

MORE? MORE! @ P.S. I love that book!

THE WORLD: In this book we are in this small town in US where six kids at age of 5 got kidnapped from the kindergarten and after 11 years they come back without any memory. But! Only 5 of the kids come back and nobody knows what happened to the sixth one. The parents of the kids of course were traumatized and their lives ruined more or less so the kids do not come back to the happy longing families we are so used to seeing in the movies. They come back to broken, depressed, alcoholic parents who never thought they will see their child again.

CHARACTERS: Despite there being five kids that come back from the kidnapping only two of them are the main character: Lucas and Scarlett. Additionally, a third main character we also get POV of is a little sister Avery of the kid that did not come back. Frankly, I really love reading about Lucas and Scarlett. These kids...well teenagers now, they were not your typical teenagers. They were raised in secret, they know nothing of pop culture of tantrums and typical teenager behavior. It is like they a these little adults trying to find out what happened to them. Avery on the other hand, she was this typical rich spoiled brat who starts crushing on Lucas and suddenly all her decisions are shaped by it. I obviously did not like her much because hey who likes dealing with teenagers. But I must say, what the author did was brilliant because by getting to see things wrong Lucas and Scarlett POV and then being able to compare it to Avery's POV, oh wow the effect could not have been bigger. You see how Lucas and Scarlett struggling to find their identity, they remember things from their childhood but everything of last 11 years is gone. And on the other hand we see Avery, a rich girl who thinks her life was so tragically because she was a sister of a missing boy. Well, it really made me want to slap her, but I could not stop being mesmerized how well author portrait her and handled the situation in general. Really really impressed!

LOVE: This is the second book I come upon that deals with memory (not intentional) and the second time we are told that even tho we forget the actual faces and actions our body remembers. It turns out Scarlett can sew, Lucas is really good with a camera, Sarah can draw...And even little things, like Lucas being able to load a gun or Scarlett to drive, these were instincts and that you cannot delete from your memory. Same with emotions, Scarlett and Lucas feel drawn to each other more than other kids that came back with them and eventually they figure out that they used to be in love. Now, there is no romance here really, it is more of emotional memories but again I loved how it was handled. Just because they loved each other once does not mean they do now. It is strange but it fit perfectly in this book.

PLUS: So you know like almost every movie about people losing their memories ends up with them starting to remember little details and then put things together? This does not happen here. They don't remember, period. But what they have are actually little things they did whenever they figured things in the past and before their memories got erased again. Yes, they got erased multiple times which makes actually sense but I do not want to get too much into detail because spoilers.

MINUS: I really cannot find out. I loved this book so much!

OVERALL: Recommend! Recommend! Recommend! It was so so good, I expect so much of it and got all of it back. And the ending, yes it ends not with your typical happy ending. They do find out the truth but just because they know does not mean bad guys get caught. No fantastic happy ending! Ah, it was a wonderful read!

MORE? MORE! @ P.S. I love that book!
Profile Image for Jen Ryland.
1,548 reviews912 followers
Shelved as 'setting-aside-for-now'
June 8, 2016
Hmmmm. Not sure about this one. Three POVs and regular prose is interspersed with free verse and letters that make designs and that is a little much for me. I love thrillers, so I think I will set this aside for now and perhaps return to it later.

Read more of my reviews on YA Romantics or follow me on Bloglovin

Thanks to the publisher for providing a free advance copy of this book for me to review.
Profile Image for Shannon (It Starts At Midnight).
1,189 reviews1,017 followers
June 11, 2016
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight
This was quite an enjoyable book. I won't say much because frankly, I like to keep reviews of this type of book vague and short. As far as said mystery goes, I was definitely intrigued. I mean, kids disappearing, then coming back eleven years later? Yeah, that's messed up. And by the by, they don't know where they've been, who with, or even who they are.

I liked that there was skepticism, because let's be real, you know full well that there would be like "sure, you 'don't remember', now where's the sixth dude?!", but I also liked that there was a lot of support. I felt the most connected with Lucas for some reason, and I enjoyed his character the most. I wish that Avery, the only POV that wasn't one of the missing, was more fleshed out. Maybe that was kind of the point though, since she'd been living in her missing brother's shadow? I have no idea. And there were of course romances and friendships, but they were... kind of weird, as you'd expect in this situation. Most of them kind of made sense, but there was one romantic thing that while I did feel some chemistry, it kind of didn't make a ton of sense, logically.

I also felt that the family portrayals were great. Seeing the aftermath of such a horrible, life ruining event felt sadly realistic. And while I did see a few twists coming, most of them I only realized close to when they were going to happen- and a lot were flat out surprising. But I wasn't in love with how the whole thing wrapped up, and I'll leave it at that.

Oh, and I think Scarlett's POV chapters were supposed to have some kind of "unique" formatting, but on my eARC, it just showed up as random characters and/or letters in the middle of paragraphs, so I do feel like that may have taken some of the "oomph" out of her character for me- and obviously won't be the case for anyone reading a finished copy!

Bottom Line: I liked it! While there were a few weaker spots, it was overall quite enjoyable, and I was definitely invested in the outcome.

**Copy provided by publisher for review
Profile Image for Femke.
168 reviews26 followers
February 9, 2017
Van sommige boeken verwacht je gewoon dat ze je nieuwe favoriet worden. Had ik het in het geval van Verdwenen bij het juiste eind of kon dit niet anders dan tegenvallen? Je leest het in deze recensie! Al verklapt mijn sterrenbeoordeling wel al dat ik het vond tegenvallen. Ik vertel je in mijn recensie waarom: http://bibliofem.nl/recensie-verdwene...

Laat ik eerst even vertellen waarop ik mijn hoge verwachtingen gebaseerd had. Het boek valt volgens de omschrijving onder het genre psychologische thriller en daar ben ik fan van. Daarnaast had ik hoge verwachtingen van de nieuwe uitgeverij Young & Awesome, die dit boek hebben uitgegeven.

Maar het was vooral de ondertitel waardoor ik benieuwd was naar dit boek. Die is zo raak en zo treffend: het vat precies samen waar het boek over gaat en het maakte me meteen al nieuwsgierig. Zes kinderen verdwenen. Vijf tieners komen terug. Kort maar krachtig! Ik was ontzettend benieuwd wat daarachter zat.
Profile Image for Tessa.
13 reviews16 followers
February 24, 2017
Ik zit te twijfelen tussen 3 of 4 sterren.
Toch voor vier sterren gekozen.
Ik vond het verhaal origineel en het las ook lekker snel weg. Ik had het boek zo uit, echter miste ik de diepgang.
Ik vond dat het verhaal uitgebreide beschreven kon worden. Vooral de ontvoering en de gevoelens van de personages.
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