The Leaving by Tara Altebrando
Published: June 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Rating: 3 Stars
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.
I liked this book for what it was - six children disappeared and five later returned. I enjoyed the mystery along with the characters. Their memories seems to be wiped clean. Some were sure they wanted to know where they had been and a couple thought maybe it was best they didn't know. I'd want to know. I'd want to know who to kick in the nads for stealing so much of my childhood from me.
The characters were well rounded and you could easily follow their evolution from naive teenagers to adults facing their past, one thing most of us find extremely hard to do. I think I liked Avery the most. She was not one of the taken who was brought back. She was one that lived her life with this hanging over her head. Her brother was taken, but was not brought back like the others. She wanted so badly to know where her brother was and what the truth was. Was it aliens? Was is a psycho kidnapper? Maybe mad scientists who conduct experiments on children to make super human teenagers? You could go on and on with all of the possibilities, but Avery wasn't buying the memory-story and wanted to get down to the facts. Where was her brother? Why did this horrible incident rear its ugly face again, eleven years later? You've got to admire a teen who not only faces reality, but does it with the sort of determination that should make any parent proud.
The only think that kept this book from getting a higher rating is the ending. It honestly was a good book and I'm glad to have gotten the chance to read it. I think that my love of the sci-fi and horror genres have started to run YA books for me. I expect more outrageous or unconventional endings these days, and this book was too realistic for my taste of late. If you're looking for a thrilling YA novel full of mystery, I'd suggest you pick this one up. You won't be disappointed.