The Leaving

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Bloomsbury 2016

Six kindergarteners disappeared without a trace. Now eleven years later, five of them have returned, Lucas, Scarlet, Kristen, Adam, and Sarah.  Where have they been? What happened to them?  Were they abducted by aliens?  Kidnapped?  They can't remember anything of the past eleven years.

Adding to the mystery is the fact that Max who disappeared with them did not come back.  Where is Max?  His younger sister, Avery, is hoping against hope that one day he too will return.  

The five survivors search their memories to patch together a picture of where they have been and what they have been through but their memories are leaving them in the dark about their own lives.  Told through the perspectives of Lucas, Scarlett and Avery,  we follow the story of the the survivors as they return to a world broken parents who have  and turned to support groups to survive.   Scarlett is returning to a single parent who believes her daughter was abducted by aliens and whose boyfriend is determined to make a profit from the abduction.   Lucas comes home to instant tragedy and now is under suspicion   by the police.

Little clues start coming forward. Scarlett has swallowed a small object; Lucas has a fresh tattoo; Scarlett can sew and Lucas can handle a gun.

There's a hint of a possible romance between Lucas and Scarlett but the tension in the story is key. The Leaving is a combination of an eerie mood, a feeling of being disoriented and a rising sense of suspense and intrigue.  This is an addictive mystery thriller for mature readers.

432 pages  Ages 14 and up  978-1619638037

Read alike:  More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

From the publisher:

Eleven years ago, six kindergartners 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--the only one who hasn't come back. Which leaves Max's sister, Avery, wanting answers. She wants to find her brother--dead or alive--and isn't buying this whole memory-loss story. But as details of the disappearance begin to unfold, no one is prepared for the truth.

This unforgettable novel--with its rich characters, high stakes, and plot twists--will leave readers breathless.


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