Book review: The Leaving -Tara Altebrando

You need to know that Tara Altebrando's The Leaving is the story of six kindergartners who vanished without a trace, leaving no clues as to who might haven taken them. Eleven years later, five of them return home with no memory of where they’ve been or what happened to the sixth child who went missing that same day. As the five begin to recover fragments of memory, two of them set out to solve the mystery of their kidnapping. Taking place over the span of 15 days and narrated in alternating chapters by returnees Lucas and Scarlett and Avery, the sister of the missing child, it’s a fast-paced thriller, full of unexpected plot twists. There's some violence -- a man is found murdered, a man falls down steps and dies, there's a school shooting and references to the original kidnapping -- but none of these incidents are described in graphic detail. Sexual content is limited to a few kisses.

the leaving - Tara Altebrando

Book review: The Leaving -Tara Altebrando

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Five teenagers return to their hometown 11 years after they mysteriously disappeared. They have no memory of who took them, where they’ve been, or even if they’ve been together during those years.  Most unsettling, none of them have any memory of Matt, the sixth child ned to solve the mystery of their kidnapping. The story unfolds with one tantalizing clue after another  — the discovery of a cult novel whose plot mirrors their disappresumed kidnapped with the five. They return to families changed and sometimes broken and while some seem content to settle into their former lives and identities, two are determipearance and captivity, notes suggesting Matt may still be alive, recovered memories that hint at a past romantic relationship between Lucas and Scarlett. And why did everyone dismiss a possible link between the disappearance and a school shooting?  


An abduction mystery that relies on a fast-paced plot filled with twists and turns rather than the all too common storyline of teens being sexually abused by their kidnapper. Interwoven in the story is a provocative question: Who are we without our memories?

While the resolution of the mystery and identity of the kidnapper are believable, packing all this into a two-week timeline is a stretch, although one not likely to bother readers caught up in the story. 

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