Review: The Leaving by Tara Altebrando


Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller

Publication Date: June 7, 2016

Pages: 432 pages

Rating: ★★★★☆

Synopsis: 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. (From Goodreads)


“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 heart stopping 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.


4 thoughts on “Review: The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

  1. This book sounds SO creepy, I love it. I’ve been wanting to read more YA thriller because it’s such an intriguing genre, and this seems like a good place to start – especially after hearing you say that the main plot is unpredictable, haha. Great review! 🙂


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