×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Leaving
  • Alternative view 1 of The Leaving
  • Alternative view 2 of The Leaving
     

The Leaving

4.5 6
by Tara Altebrando
 

See All Formats & Editions

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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 04/04/2016
In a twisting, harrowing story set over a few weeks, Altebrando (My Life in Dioramas) brings readers to a small town where six kindergartners disappeared without a trace and left an entire community grieving. The story begins on the day that five of the six return, 11 years later, their memories gone. Two of the five, Lucas and Scarlett, narrate, along with Avery, the sister of the child still missing; their alternating voices begin to piece together the mystery behind the “Leaving” and try to heal wounds of anger and loss among those left behind. In order to represent the teens’ fractured memories, Altebrando toys with the formatting and layout of the text: Scarlett’s words rise and fall in places, stretch, and are broken up by scatterings of slash marks, and Lucas’s thoughts are repeatedly interrupted by fragmented images (“bloody backpack gun carousel”) set in capitalized white text in black boxes. It’s engrossing, both as a thriller and a meditation on memory—its limits, its loss, and the ways it deceives and constructs identity. Ages 13–up. Agent: David Dunton, Harvey Klinger. (June)
From the Publisher

"You will not sleep, check your phone or even breathe once you begin reading The Leaving. Altebrando hides a meditation on memory and identity inside a top-speed page-turner. I promise, you will not even look up from the page." - E. Lockhart, author of WE WERE LIARS

"The Leaving isn't one of those books that creeps up on you: instead, it throws you in the back of an unmarked van and speeds off before you even have time to wonder what's going on. This book gripped me on the first page, and by the last, had really moved me. It's a twisty, oh no she didn't thriller that keeps the surprises firing, but also a thoughtful meditation on memory, identity, and what really makes us who we are." - Bennett Madison, author of SEPTEMBER GIRLS

"As heart-stopping as it is heart-breaking, The Leaving layers a wildly strange suspense story over a lovely and unexpected narrative of grief, loss, and the struggle to imagine a future in the shadow of the past." - Robin Wasserman, author of GIRLS ON FIRE

"Bold, inventive, and engaging, The Leaving leaps straight off the page." - Beth Kephart, author of SMALL DAMAGES and THIS IS THE STORY OF YOU

"This is no mere thriller; folded into this compulsively readable work are thought-provoking themes. . . . Teens who enjoy engrossing, contemplative titles such as Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Not will devour this insightful musing on memory and identity." - starred review, School Library Journal

"A twisting, harrowing story . . . Engrossing, both as a thriller and a meditation on memory—its limits, its loss, and the ways it deceives and constructs identity." - starred review, Publishers Weekly

"A twisting and turning mystery that will grip readers." - Kirkus Reviews

"Told in a complicated layering, Altebrando constructs an amazing story about the lives of those taken and of those who tried to carry on back home." - VOYA

"With a bit of romance, a bit of pathos, a bit of science fiction, and a bit of ripped-from-the-headlines trauma, this will appeal to fans of mystery." - BCCB

"Highly satisfying . . . A believable and clever story that will keep readers engaged from beginning to end." - Booklist

VOYA, June 2016 (Vol. 39, No. 2) - CJ Bott
Eleven years ago “the leaving” happened. The story is told in three voices, those of Scarlett and Lucas—two who were taken and returned—and Avery, not taken, but whose brother Max was taken and not returned. The book opens with the release of five of the captives now trying to understand where they were during those eleven years, where have they been dropped off, and why there was a map in each of their pockets guiding them to their homes. Told in a complicated layering, Altebrando constructs an amazing story about the lives of those taken and of those who tried to carry on back home. The entire town was haunted with the loss and took it up as their crusade. The returnees have few memories of their past experiences, though moments of those years do start to creep back. The book is expansive and yet incomplete. Important story threads are abandoned and the discovery of where the young people were kept is unrealistic. Still, the story will challenge thinking and stir conversations. Perhaps the most intriguing discussion will focus on memories. Can people exist without memories? Do people create memories or do they create people? Reviewer: CJ Bott; Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal
★ 06/01/2016
Gr 8 Up—One day, six kindergarteners disappear without a trace. Eleven years later, five of the kids, now teenagers, return, but the mysteries have only multiplied. Though Lucas, Scarlett, Kristen, Adam, and Sarah operate on a developmentally appropriate level (speaking, reading, and writing like typical adolescents), they have no memory of anything from the last 11 years—and no explanation of why Max, who also left, isn't with them. Were they kidnapped? Abducted by aliens? Were they victims of some psychological experiment? Readers follow Lucas and Scarlett, who suspect that they might have had a romantic relationship in the past, and Avery, Max's younger sister, who clings to the hope that her brother will return and who finds herself drawn to Lucas, as the teens try to piece together just what happened and why. Depicting characters with few memories, Altebrando has effectively established an often eerie and unsettling mood, and the creative use of typography adds to the feeling of disorientation. The prose has a sense of urgency, and brief chapters will keep teens turning the pages. However, this is no mere thriller; folded into this compulsively readable work are thought-provoking themes. What is the link between identity and memory? Are we better off without painful remembrances? As the book concludes, characters—and readers—will still be contemplating these challenging questions. VERDICT Teens who enjoy engrossing, contemplative titles such as Adam Silvera's More Happy Than Not will devour this insightful musing on memory and identity.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
2016-03-16
Five teens who were part of a group of six that vanished as kindergartners reappear as mysteriously as they went missing in this thriller. Scarlett, Lucas, Sarah, Adam, and Kristen are dropped off in a park, each with a map to their respective homes tucked into their pockets. None of them has any memory of how they got there, who was driving the van that dropped them off, nor where they've been for the past 11 years. The agony experienced by their families has taken its toll, and the homes they return to are troubled places. This is only further complicated by the fact that Max, the sixth boy who disappeared with them, has not returned, and none of them has any memory of who he is. This multilayered story is told from the perspectives of Scarlett, Lucas, and Max's younger sister, Avery, all of whom come from white families, though of varying economic backgrounds. Their voices are distinct from one another, with Scarlett's narrative employing the most unconventional structure: sentences curve into various shapes on the page, and typed slashes evocatively illustrate how her mind reels. The eventual reveal is intricate and a long time coming, but it will satisfy. A twisting and turning mystery that will grip readers even if it is at times a bit difficult to follow. (Thriller. 14-18)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781619638037
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
06/07/2016
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
16,510
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.60(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Tara Altebrando is the author of several middle grade and teen novels, including Roomies, an ALA 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults pick, co-written with Sara Zarr. She lives in New York City with her family.
www.taraaltebrando.com
@TaraAltebrando

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews