The Leaving by Tara Altebrando
*click on the image or link above to purchase your own copy!*
My Rating: ★★★★★
Eleven years ago, six kindergarteners mysteriously went missing. But now all of them except one are back. The five kids—now all 16 years old— who did find their way back home after all those years…seem to be perfectly fine. And none of them can remember anything that happened to them for the past eleven years. What happened to these children the last decade? Why did only five of them come back? What will happen now to their families that tried so hard to move on from something so tragic? The Leaving is one of those books that you just need to go into blindly. The less about the premise you know, the better reading experience you will have. Trust me.
Right away, Tara Altebrando makes us dive into this suspenseful book head first. This is what I look for in my mystery/thriller books: a very strong introduction. I want it to hit the ground running. I want it to pull me in and tell me “you aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.” And wow, did Altebrando ever deliver! Opening the book from the point of view of a child perfectly introduces genuine innocence to the plot, which makes this mystery/thriller book all the more eerie. The way a child sees chaos is different to that of how a grown adult might see it. So who can really help but feel uneasy just reading from this point of view?
The Leaving was so perfectly executed and crafted that I can’t say any more good things about it. But I’m going to keep trying, of course (in this review and probably to everyone else I meet from here on out, sorry not sorry). The format that it was written in was so utterly unique and almost poetic, actually. When one of the characters talk, you can feel what that character is feeling in those moments. Not only did this make it easy to become attached to the characters, this also made them so impressively three dimensional and authentic. They felt so very real to me it was almost like I was right there with them going through whatever they were going through.
Another thing that impressed me (and caught me off guard, to be quite honest, but in a good way) with Altebrando’s writing was the way she pulled me so deep into the storyline that I barely had space in my brain or the time to play the guessing game of “who did it? What really happened? How is this going to unfold?” I was too busy worrying about what was going to happen next. The beauty of it was that I was able to just sit back—on the edge of my seat, though, mind you—and let Altebrando do her majestic work. And boy, was it ever an adventure from start to finish!
Although The Leaving was more than likely meant to be just a fun and suspenseful fictional read, it definitely did not shy away from bringing into light some important things. Like how one’s childhood plays a very significant role in shaping who and what said child’s going to be like into their teenage life—and eventually adulthood. The Leaving explores the tragedy of memory loss and the complexity of the human mind, and carefully and beautifully delivers the message that perhaps there really is no greater gift than time. Altebrando hit the nail right on the head with The Leaving.
“There’s no time like the present and no present like time.”
*Thank you to Madeleine and Bloomsbury USA for my copy in exchange for an honest review*