'THE LEAVING' - Tara Altebrando

Bloomsbury Publishing sent me this in the mail about a week ago in exchange for an honest review. As soon as I read the synopsis, I knew that this was definitely a book that I wanted to pick up straight away. I ended up finishing it in a couple of days; the aspects of mystery, fast paced plot, and constant cliff hangers definitely made this a wonderful and easy read.

"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." - Goodreads

CHARACTERS: With so many different characters mentioned in the book, I though that this would be hard to keep track of them all. However, Altebrando did a really good job at making it simple and easy to understand. However, I do have a few minor issues with some characters which I'll mention later.

Scarlett would probably have to be my favourite character from the book. Her, along with the other four who were kidnapped, obviously go through a lot. Not only can they not remember anything from after they were taken, but they return to broken families. Scarlett has an identity crisis as she can't figure out her style, her feelings for Lucas, or her mother's past. 

Lucas was another great character, however I felt a bit 'iffy' about him throughout. Along with the others, he couldn't remember who he was, however there was constant evidence that he was dangerous. He automatically knew how to load a gun, and his father mysteriously died when Lucas returned home. I still enjoyed the suspense that his character brought to the storyline. 

Avery feels almost left out because she wasn't taken, but her brother was, and he is still missing. To be honest, I didn't like Avery that much. She definitely added to the story line, but she annoyed me at times and I just didn't like reading about her. In saying this though, it was good to get a perspective from one of the characters who wasn't stolen.

These were the three characters who switched turns telling their perspectives of the story. However, there were two other characters (Adam and Kristine I think their names were) and we were not given their perspectives of the story. Although it may have been confusing to add another two characters to the perspectives, it would have given the readers a deeper insite into who they were. Scarlett and Lucas didn't even mention them much; they just popped up in the dialogue every now and then. It would have been great to hear how their lives were when they returned home.

STORY LINE / PLOT: I loved the story concept, and I think this would have to be my favourite part of the whole book. I love a good mystery and I read quite a few, but I have never read one like this before. The story line was so original and unique, and it being YA made it even better. You don't come across many YA mysteries, and so I like that it wasn't too childish. I loved reading about the characters' lives when they returned, and trying to figure out where they have been the last eleven years and why they don't have any memory of it. The constant suspense and mystery really made the read worth it. I ended up finishing it in a couple of days because I couldn't put it down; it's such a page turner. I was reading it on the bus to and from uni, and so I had to tame myself to not show everyone that I am going too crazy. But overall, I really enjoyed this suspenseful and original story line.

ENDING: The ending is probably the part that disappointed me the most.Although it was a little bit shocking, and quite emotional, it wasn't as amazing as I expected it to be. The readers are built up so much while reading this book to discover who the kidnapper is and what happened to the characters during these eleven years. However, when  I did find out, it was a bit 'meh'. Although I didn't expect it so therefore it wasn't predictable, it was a bit random for me. It was really rushed over as you find out with like 30 pages of the book left, and so it wasn't as clear as I would like it to be. I was expecting this massive plot twist, but to be honest it left me unsatisfied. This is probably my biggest criticism on the book, as I really enjoyed everything else. I was just left disappointed with the ending.

RATING: Overall, I decided to give this book 4.5 stars. When I was reading it, I was certain that it was going to be 5 stars, however the ending brought this down a bit. I was struggling whether to give it 4 stars or 4.5, but I didn't think it deserved to lose a whole star because I personally didn't enjoy the ending. I still highly recommend this book to readers of YA and mystery. It took me on an amazing roller coaster of suspense and emotion. Overall, it was an amazing read.

Release date; June 7th

Youtube review coming soon; youtube.com/readbooksread

Find this book on;
Goodreads; https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26073074-the-leaving?from_search=true&search_version=service
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Leaving-Tara-Altebrando/dp/1619638037/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1464326439&sr=1-1&keywords=the+leaving


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