In this young adult debut, a teen must try to uncover his missing girlfriend's secrets without revealing his own.
Flynn's girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking questions he can't answer, and her friends are telling stories that don't add up. All eyes are on Flynnas January's boyfriend, he must know something.
But Flynn is harboring a secret of his own. As he struggles to find out what happened to January, he must also come to terms with his own truth.
Caleb Roehrig's debut is a complex and winding tale of tragedy, discovery, and self-acceptance.
Praise for Last Seen Leaving:
A Buzzfeed Best YA Novel of 2016
Best YA Novel of 2016 - Paste Magazine
A Kirkus Best of 2016 Book - Teen
"Flynn Doherty's competing desires to uncover the secrets behind his ex-girlfriend's disappearance and keep his own secrets hidden propel debut author Roehrig's powerful thriller. . . . A compelling mystery and characters with fully developed strengths and flaws make Roehrig's novel an important addition in the world of queer young adult fiction." Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Debut novelist Roehrig peoples his sensationalistic, twisty mystery with credible characters, especially narrator Flynn, whose struggles with coming out will resonate with young gay teens in more mundane circumstances. Witty, realistically foulmouthed dialogue and the suspenseful, well-laid mystery will keep pages turning . . . Readers won't be able to put it down." Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"This truly hair-raising, stand-out mystery thriller from debut author Roehrig will keep readers guessing, even until the end." Booklist, starred review
"The characters are believable, the mystery is interesting, and the action is often fast-paced. Flynn’s internal struggle to open up about his sexuality carries weight, and readers will be drawn into his emotional journey and his adventures in amateur sleuthing . . . A fun mystery with a credible emotional pull." School Library Journal
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)|
|Age Range:||13 - 18 Years|
About the Author
Caleb Roehrig is an author and television producer originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan. A former actor, Roehrig has experience on both sides of the camera, with a résumé that includes appearances on film and TV as well as seven years in the stranger-than-fiction salt mines of reality television. Last Seen Leaving is his first novel.
Read an Excerpt
Last Seen Leaving
By Caleb Roehrig
Feiwel and FriendsCopyright © 2016 Caleb Roehrig
All rights reserved.
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely.
— EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY
THERE WAS A corpse in my neighbor's front yard. Sprawled before a hedge of juniper bushes, its twisted arms and legs flung out bonelessly, as if it had plummeted there from a passing helicopter, there was an enormous granite boulder where its head should have been. The gardening glove on its right hand was pulling away from the cuff of a flannel shirt, and a chunk of ghostly white foam rubber innards peeked through the opening.
It was one week until Halloween, and everyone on my block seemed to be already getting into the spirit. Across the street, the Harrisons had a series of tombstones lining the walk to their front door, each one engraved with a different "funny" epitaph. HERE LIES THE MILKMAN — HE PASSED HIS EXPIRATION DATE. That kind of thing. It was a gauntlet of terrible jokes, and if you survived it, Mrs. Harrison — dressed in a peaked hat and a warty latex nose — would award you a miniature Charleston Chew. The last time I had gone trick-or-treating, which was nearly five years ago, I had skipped the Harrisons' house.
Up and down the street, you could see ghosts and skeletons, jack-o'-lanterns and candle bags, bats and black cats. Rubber spiders dangled from eaves, zombie hands thrust up from garden beds, and shrubs were cocooned in fake cobwebs as thick as cotton batting, my neighbors competing to see whose house could be the lamest and the "scariest." Mine had them all beat, however. Among that rogues' gallery of party-store clearance-sale showcases, my house alone on that chilly October afternoon was truly frightening.
My house had a cop car parked in the driveway.
"Dude, how much did your parents pay to rent that thing?" My best friend, Micah Feldman, was standing next to me on the sidewalk in front of my boring, two-story Colonial, and he was apparently being serious.
"They didn't, dumbass," I said, kicking up my skateboard — and if I sounded tense, it was an accurate reflection of my mood. What the hell were the cops doing at my house?
"Well, what the hell are the cops doing at your house?"
"How do I know?" I looked around nervously. The street was quiet, save for the rattling of dried leaves as wind shook the army of trees that occupied our neighborhood. A couple of weeks ago, my block had looked like a greeting card, the autumnal display of oaks and maples like jewel-tone fireworks in the midday sunshine. Now their branches were half bare, flocked intermittently with dried-out brown curls that as yet refused to fall.
"You don't think ..." Micah's face lost a little bit of color. "You don't think maybe they found out about that weed you bought?"
That weed you bought. Nice. "You paid for half of it, Micah."
"Yeah, but you were the one who actually, you know, held the money." My so-called best friend squirmed like the snake he was. "Maybe the guy fingered you."
"We bought, like, half an ounce! The cops have better things to do than bust some kids for buying two bowls' worth of pot"— I hoped —"especially in Ann Arbor."
"If you say so." Micah shrugged uneasily and then started backing away, down the sidewalk. "I gotta get home. Call me if you don't get arrested, okay?"
"Fuck off," I mumbled, but cold needles were pricking the back of my neck and drawing beads of sweat. Were the police here about the pot? If they'd arrested the guy who'd sold it to me, could he have given up the names of his customers in an exchange for leniency?
I shook my head to clear it. I was being an idiot. The guy had been the roommate of the brother of a friend of a friend; he didn't even know my real name. Still, if the cops were searching our house for ... well, anything, they could easily find the little breath-mint box at the back of my desk drawer, open it up, identify the leafy contents as Not Altoids, and nail me for possession. My mouth felt dry and tacky as I tucked my skateboard under my elbow and started for the door. If the police hadn't found the pot yet, I wouldn't give them a chance; first thing I would do as soon as I got inside was find that box and flush the weed.
I didn't get to execute my plan. No sooner had I set foot in the foyer than I heard my mother call out from the living room, "Flynn? Is that you?" She sounded ... strained. Not angry, but anxious. Was that better? My palms were starting to feel a little clammy. "Uh, yeah."
"Come into the living room, okay?"
I glanced at the stairs leading to the second floor, where my bedroom was, and swallowed around an ungainly lump in my throat. The living room was dead ahead, and before I could pretend not to have heard her, my mother stepped into view. Standing in front of the sliding doors that let out into the backyard, she smiled at me, but it was a spooky, rigid smile that did nothing to calm my nerves.
"I'm just gonna go up to my room and put my stuff down —" I tried, but she cut me off.
"Don't worry about that right now, sweetie. You can leave your stuff there."
Sweetie. Uh-oh. My mom hadn't called me "sweetie" since ... Actually, I couldn't remember the last time she'd called me that. Numbly, I dropped my bag and my skateboard, shrugged out of my coat, and shuffled into the living room. With the set of glass doors and a massive picture window, it was a space that received a ton of light, but my vision tunneled until I could see only two things: a police officer seated in my dad's recliner, and a second officer standing by the fireplace. The one in the recliner was a man with thinning ginger hair and a bulbous nose; the one by the fireplace was younger, twenties maybe, a black woman with eyes that looked straight through me to the marijuana hidden in my bedroom. They both wore heavy utility belts with holstered guns.
I swallowed again, and tried not to look like I was trying not to piss myself.
"Why don't you have a seat, son?" The male officer spoke, but it didn't sound like a suggestion so much as a command. My mom, not taking her eyes off me for a second, circled the couch and sat down first, patting the cushion beside her like I was a terrier or something. Obediently, I followed the implied order, and once I was situated the man said, "I'm Detective Wilkerson, and this is Detective Moses. We just have a few questions we need to ask you." He gave me a smile that fell somewhere between avuncular and "don't fuck with me," and my stomach gurgled. "I know it sounds silly, but since this is an official visit, I just need to confirm that you are Flynn Doherty — is that correct?"
"Yes, sir," I replied automatically, my voice sounding like it was coming from another room. Sir? I never called anyone "sir."
"Your mother tells us you're a sophomore at Riverside."
"Uh ... yes?"
Wilkerson grinned. "My boy's going to be a freshman there next year. He's a wrestler, but I'm hoping I can convince him to try out for football. You guys have a pretty good team this year, don't you?"
"Sure," I said, trying to sound accommodating. I knew fuck-all about football, and even less about what our team was like. I'm a small guy, shorter and skinnier than most guys my age, and fifteen-year-olds who clock in at less than 120 don't exactly make for star athletes in contact sports. I figured out in the third grade that I was never going to bring home any such trophies, and every gym class since has been an exercise in sheer misery. Guys take sports incredibly seriously, and after getting slide-tackled six or seven times in a twenty-minute period of a middle school soccer game, I realized it was best if I focused my energies elsewhere.
A silence filled with apprehension stretched out, while Wilkerson and Moses stared at me. If they were expecting me to confess to something, I disappointed them. The older detective cleared his throat. "Son, your girlfriend is January McConville, isn't that right?"
Whatever I'd been expecting him to say, it wasn't that. My mom took my hand then, squeezing it hard enough to pulverize the boulder on the neighbor's lawn, and it was my first indication that whatever was going on was a lot more serious than a half ounce of pot. Licking my lips, I asked, "Why? What's happened?" "Just answer the question, please."
My mom was still staring at me, radiating worry, and I decided not to overcomplicate things. "Yeah. Uh, yes, sir. Why?"
"Son, when's the last time you saw her?"
I looked at him uncomprehendingly. "Last Friday. Why?"
Wilkerson and Moses exchanged a look. "Last Friday. Are you sure?"
"Yeah, I know how to use a calendar," I blurted before I could stop myself.
"Why are you asking me about January? What's happened?"
Acting like I'd said nothing at all, Wilkerson forged ahead with that avuncular/hard-assed expression on his face. "You didn't happen to see her on Tuesday night, did you?"
"He just told you that he hasn't seen her since Friday," my mother interjected sharply. It was a tone that usually struck fear into the hearts of men — she once used it on my sadistic homeroom teacher in the sixth grade, and I got three tardies excused retroactively — but Wilkerson didn't even flinch.
"I'd like him to answer the questions, ma'am." Avuncular had given way fully to hard-assed. "Are you sure you didn't see her on Tuesday night?"
"Of course I'm sure," I insisted. My heart was starting to thud, and I felt something cold uncoiling in my gut. "I was here Tuesday night, writing a crappy history paper. The last time I saw January was Friday. Like I said."
Wilkerson's mouth shifted. "How did she seem?"
"Was she upset? Angry?" Wilkerson made a revolving motion with one hand. "What did the two of you talk about?"
I flashed back to Friday night, January's breath fogging the air between us, her hands pawing at my jeans, her eyes a shimmering slick of tears, and I shifted on the couch. My mom was watching me like I was something under glass at the zoo, and I could feel my chest constricting. "I don't know. We talked about normal stuff."
I was sure they could see the sweat leaking at my temples. This was my worst nightmare. Why were they asking me about Friday night in front of my mom?
"Could you elaborate?"
It was like being called to the chalkboard to give a presentation you had forgotten you were supposed to prepare. I started talking, saying things that popped into my head, desperately avoiding the truth. I didn't want to mislead the cops — not if something bad had happened — but they wouldn't tell me what was going on, and I wasn't going to back willingly into this particular corner if I could help it. "We did some stargazing. January's really into that kind of thing, and it was a pretty clear night, so we went out and ... you know, looked at stars for a while. And we talked about what we're going to do when we finally graduate, and we talked about her big, fancy new house and her big, fancy new school, and ... and that's about it."
It sounded pitiful even to my own ears, and I could see the cops didn't believe me. Looking at me dubiously, Wilkerson asked, "Did she seem depressed at all, or preoccupied? Was she acting unusual in any way?"
Again, I flashed on January's torn expression, stark in the moonlight with bitter tears making silver lines down her cheeks, and I felt ashamed. "Not really."
Wilkerson frowned, and Detective Moses narrowed her eyes a little like she was trying to picture me in handcuffs. Then she spoke for the first time. "She's your girlfriend, but you haven't seen her in almost a week?" It was Thursday now, so technically she was right. "Not over the weekend? Not on Tuesday night?"
"Why do you keep asking me about Tuesday?" My pitch was climbing into the upper register and, like watching a cat run up a tree, I couldn't seem to stop it. "Why do you keep asking me about January? What's happened?"
Maddeningly, the detectives shared another glance, and then Wilkerson finally said, "January McConville is missing, son. She never came home from school on Tuesday night, and no one's seen or heard from her since." He watched me for a moment, as if he expected me to respond, but I merely stared back in quiet astonishment until he added, "So I think you can see why we'd like to know exactly what the two of you talked about the last time you saw her."
I looked from my mom's worried expression to the businesslike ones of the cops, and I swallowed hard. Oh, shit.CHAPTER 2
TWO WEEKS TO go before Halloween and the moon was full, a bone-white disc that glowed so brightly it rendered streetlamps redundant, so bright I actually cast a shadow over the waves of blond hair that trailed down January's back as she trudged quietly through the tall grass in front of me. A few small, wispy clouds hovered at the edge of the night sky, and the fields that stretched out around us were cast in a sharp, bluish relief. It was a startlingly cold night, and our breath streamed visibly into the air, white phantoms that vanished as soon as you looked at them.
I hadn't heard from her in days — not a call, not a text, nothing — and then, out of nowhere, she wrote and asked me to come over. The second I arrived, she'd told her mom and stepdad we were going stargazing, and we'd be back later. "Don't wait up," she'd said sarcastically, knowing they probably weren't even listening.
Ever since her mom married Jonathan Walker, a rich-as-hell state senator with national aspirations, January had become increasingly, incongruously pessimistic about her life. She went from a tiny, rented condo to the biggest house I'd ever seen in real life — a house so big it could double as a hotel — and she hated it. It was an "estate" in the sprawling and largely rural Superior Charter Township area northeast of Ann Arbor, sitting on more acreage than my entire neighborhood, and she bitched about how far away it was. Her bedroom was enormous — her bed was enormous — and she'd already been promised a convertible when she turned sixteen.
Still, she complained. "Mom and I used to be close, you know? We used to actually talk. Now it's the 'Tammy and Jonathan Walker Show' all the time, and I'm the teenage daughter who gets reduced from 'starring' to 'recurring' because my character's no longer useful. Mom always takes his side, and she barely even sounds like herself at all!"
She was right, though. I could see it happening before my eyes. When I'd met January freshman year, her mom had only just started dating Walker, and January was convinced it wouldn't last. Tammy was a struggling office manager and single mother, and Walker was one of the richest men in the state; they had nothing in common. But then I watched as January's mom went from mousy brown to platinum blond, from Sears to Saks, and from "Tammy" to "Mrs. Walker." Mr. Walker had stamped a new identity on her, like a kid playing with a doll, and his girlfriend/fiancée/wife had been an eager and cooperative subject. January, however, resisted the interference every step of the way, becoming harder and pricklier until neither her mom nor her stepdad particularly wanted to handle her anymore.
She still hadn't spoken yet, and we were reaching the little stream that marked the back end of the Walker property. Beyond it, a garrison of black trees rose up toward the wispy shreds of cirrus clouds that drifted like torn gauze above our heads. Past the trees and to the left was a sloping meadow where January liked to watch the stars, far enough from any houses that you could easily pretend you were the only person left in the world, but instead of heading for it, she veered right.
We hopped the stream, shoved through a cluster of pines, and emerged in the moonlight only a few yards from what had once been a functioning barn. Now it was an abandoned, moldering shipwreck of a building, its boards hoary and warped with age, its roof sagging perilously in more than one spot, with an encampment of weeds spreading out around its foundation. Without a word, January headed for the wide doors, the lock on them long since rusted through.
"Uh ... I thought we were going to look at the stars," I said uncertainly.
"We will," she answered, her breath vaporizing before my eyes. "I just want to go in here first."
"Why?" I halted in my tracks, eyeing the structure nervously, scared not of the building's safety rating but of what this unannounced stop might represent.
"Because it's cold," January told me simply, dragging one of the doors open with an ominous croak from its ancient hinges, "and I want to."
Excerpted from Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig. Copyright © 2016 Caleb Roehrig. Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Kept me wondering who, what, when, where until the end.
This book was amazing. The characters were everything I wanted and kept me reading the whole time. The author had amazing character development while still keeping the plot moving. Sometimes in books I have read the author has to stop the plot to explain characters and I feel that makes the book stop and us readers lose interest. However Roehrig did an amazing job with his plot and the intensity of the storyline. Overall the book was very good and I almost wish there were another to follow!
Wonderfully gay, super twisty, and kept me up reading until 1:30 in the morning. Couldn't put it down!
This was a great thriller with incredible characterization and voice and so much heart. Flynn is a great protagonist and seeing him grapple with his sexual orientation and identity and what that meant for him, as well as his genuine care and respect for January, was really meaningful. This is a really wonderful book.
I enjoyed LAST SEEN LEAVING so much more than I expected to because there are so many more elements at play here than just the mystery. There's the added deception that Flynn perpetuates as he struggles to keep his sexuality a secret, and the romantic tension that develops when he finds himself falling for one of the other characters. There's an exploration of families, both good and bad, and an ongoing discussion of how girls who attempt to report crimes are rarely, if ever, taken seriously. There are more than enough plausible suspects to keep readers guessing, and the fact that I correctly guessed the perpetrator for a change did nothing to lessen my enjoyment of the story. I'm already eager to get my hands on whatever Caleb Roehrig writes next.
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and NetGalley.) “I have this awful feeling that… that we’re never going to see January again. That she’s just… gone.” This was a YA mystery story, about a boy whose girlfriend went missing. Flynn was an interesting character, and I felt quite sorry for him the way January went missing and the police wanted to know if he was involved. He should have been more honest with her about his sexuality though. The storyline in this was about Flynn’s girlfriend January going missing, and about Flynn trying to work out what had happened to her. We did get a couple of twists, and a GLBT romance as well. The ending to this was okay, although it wasn’t quite what I wanted. 7 out of 10
Flynn is 15-years-old. Flynn's girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking Flynn some questions that he can't answer. Flynn has a secret. Flynn teams with January's former co-worker to discover what happened to her. But he's learning there was much more to January than he knew. Why was she lying to her friends about Flynn? And where is she? LAST SEEN LEAVING is mostly about friendships and love .... discovering who you are and where you fit in the world. The mystery part is fairly predictable. The story is told in Flynn's voice. He is such a likeable character, full of that teenage angst that a lot of us remember from our own teen years. I didn't care as much for January. Her mother married a rich man and all January seems to do is complain. I didn't find her sympathetic at all. There are secondary characters that play an important role, but they weren't as completely defined as was Flynn. While I can't give it a solid 5 stars, it was an interesting read. Teens and young adults should definitely read this one. Many thanks to the author / Macmillan Children's Publishing Group / Negalley for the digital copy of LAST SEEN LEAVING. Opinion expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
I loved it! Great first novel and will be looking for more by this author
This is a thrilling page-turner of a mystery, and the question of what happened to January McConville is only part of it. As Flynn pokes into the parts of her life that January kept from him – her new school, the troubles in her family, the workplace she never let him visit – the discovery of the conflicting realities she has constructed in different parts of her life make him question his own understanding of her. Flynn is a likeable and conflicted protagonist, and uncovering the truths about January also forces him to confront his own long-held secret. Where this thriller really shines is in the romance between Flynn and Kaz, simultaneously tentative due to the extreme circumstances under which they meet and made braver because of them. What could have been lurid sensationalism, given the genre, becomes a sensitive story of a young man struggling to live authentically.
Wonderfully written (really enjoyed it at first!), but there were horrendous character inconsistencies and an annoyingly "edgy" climax that really ruined the novel for me. Definite pass.
Caleb Roehrig's LAST SEEN LEAVING is a wonderfully dark and twisty mystery that is absolutely riveting from beginning to end. I was so tense following along as Flynn slowly uncovered what was going on, peeling back layers and layers of January's life, and realizing a lot of uncomfortable truth about her and himself in the process. The mystery is incredibly well done--so many twists and turns! so many plausible possibilities!--but what I really adore about this book are the two main characters. Flynn is wonderful and genuine and believable in both the good and bad choices he makes, the assumptions about himself and others he is forced to confront, and the way he learns that what people see of the world is always colored by their own experiences and perceptions. His process of admitting and accepting his sexuality and the charming romance that follows are realistic and touching. And January--I know it sounds strange to refer to the character who is by definition not present as the other main character, but she really is. I know the description of the book makes it sound like a girl character is fridged to give the boy character a story, but that's... really not how the plot plays out. But it's impossible to explain without spoiling literally everything about the mystery, so I'll just say that January is a wonderfully complex character with a great deal more agency than the one-line description suggests, and while the story deals very extensively with sexism and misogyny faced by teenage girls, the narrative itself is free of the usual sexist trappings one is braced to expect from "missing troubled girl"-type thrillers. Definitely recommend this one. I enjoyed the hell out of it. It's fast-paced and tense and really quite stressful at times, but in the best way, and it's made me eager to read whatever the author comes up with next.
Alright! So if you loved Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, this book is a must read. There's plenty of teen drama, suspense, and cringe worthy moments mixed in also. My favorite part of the whole book would have to be the love story. He definitely brings you into the character as you experience the conflicting emotions, and the love interest is a total hottie!! The romance is adorable and makes you melt, begging for more! (Don't want to put names, so we don't spoil anything, go buy the book!) My other favorite would have to be the suspenseful apartment scene where you REALLY don't want to stop reading. I found myself back and forth with January, between hating her and aching for her. Great story if you're looking for a thriller for Halloween!!
LAST SEEN LEAVING by Caleb Roehrig is a compelling & unexpectedly thrilling read about a boy whose girlfriend suddenly goes missing. This book was full of twists & turns that kept me guessing (and gasping) to the very last page. Flynn is a fascinating, complex, and layered main character. Although I guessed (as many readers likely will) his secret early on, it was absolutely mesmerizing to watch his journey unfold. What a brave way to explore issues of growing up and self-discovery under the most extreme circumstances. Bravo! Extremely well written. Beautiful character development. An absolute must read! Note: I received a FREE ARC (advanced reader copy) from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
It is going to be hard to tell you about Last Seen Leaving. I just don't really have the words that are going to do this book justice. It is a story I really enjoyed reading and found myself totally lost in, but it left me some what speechless at the same time. Last Seen Leaving is about Flynn. His girlfriend, January, has disappeared - seemingly into thin air and he is set on solving the mystery of what happened to her. But really, that story line is kind of second to what Last Seen Leaving is truly about. Really, Last Seen Leaving is about a boy, Flynn, who is trying to come to terms with himself and who he really is. It is a story about self discovery with a mystery plot line to help that discovery along. It is quite beautiful. I will admit that I thought that there were parts in the first half of the book that were a little awkward and didn't flow too well, but there was world building to be had and a character we had to get to know so we could understand his dilemma. And I think Caleb Roehrig did a pretty good job bringing a confused teenager to life in Last Seen Leaving. I had absolutely no problems believing in the existence of Flynn. And there were quite a few jokes that Caleb stuck into his book that worked. They had me laughing out loud (thankfully no one was around me when I read these) and they helped in building a teen aged character. As for January. I really really didn't like her in the beginning of the story. But promise me this as you read through the story - keep an open mind about her. Your opinion, like mine, just might change. Also, the mystery. Man, this book was a lot darker than I thought it was going to be. There are some tough topics contained within...and with that being said TRIGGER WARNING. Some of it is a little predictable and other bits of it are not, but the whole thing was masterfully crafted. I think it is rather obvious that I loved Last Seen Leaving. I cannot wait to get to read more of Caleb Roehrig's work. This was such a wonderfully crafted debut novel. This review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher through Irish Banana Blog Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Find more of my reviews here: http://readingwithcupcakes.blogspot.com/
The author combined this novel into a mystery, coming of age story captivating me at time where nothing else mattered except figuring out who was behind January’s disappearance and why Flynn was acting the way he was. Caught up in the mystery of the story, there were times where Flynn’s coming of age element was lost in the enthusiasm and flurry of January’s story. I enjoyed both of their stories but January’s story had more vigor and more drama and therefore stole the stage. Flynn’s story was more emotional and not being an outspoken individual, he took the backstage. It’s unfortunate as I feel both stories should have carried the same amount of weight. January was Flynn’s girlfriend, was is the word that we need to remember. January is missing and her whereabouts are unknown. Lately, things are home have been difficult for January. Her parents have made her change schools as her mother just recently got remarried (to the state senator) and they moved to a luscious estate. Her mother has changed because of this and their relationship has deteriorated. January has been acting different lately but people have thought it was because of the changes and that given time she would adjust. January has not returned home and is considered missing. Flynn is worried and thoughts rush through his head. Is it suicide? Is she doing this to prove a point to her parents? Was she kidnapped? Or is she mad that Flynn did not accept her advances toward him? Flynn, he’s going through some changes of his own and he’s just figuring out his sexual orientation. He has realized that he is gay, a position he hasn’t told anyone about. January’s parents begin to work on finding their daughter but it looks more like a political situation on one hand and a mother who is falling apart on the other. I enjoyed this confrontation between these adults. I felt the furry of her mother and the righteousness of her stepfather as he tries to be the political statue he portrays to the masses. I wanted to be a fly on the wall as these two went at it, for finally the mother was seeing things for what they were and there was her stepfather playing this tragedy like a strategic game. Flynn takes matters into his own hands and tries to piece together what happened to January while at the same time he is being treated like a suspect. As a suspect, his sexual orientation and the advances that January made on him are brought to the surface and soon it’s a topic that is out of the closet and out in the open. Flynn should get a job as a detective as he does an outstanding job, much better than anyone else working on the case. Lining up the piecing and making them fit, the questions were answered by the time the final pages are read. This was an exciting, fun novel to read. I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Feiwel & Friends in exchange for an honest review.
This was one interesting read. A girl is missing. They find her clothes, very bloody, but not her body. They find her backpack in the apartment dumpster of someone, but I'm not telling you who, not going to spoil it. No one knows where January has disappeared to. There are a whole lot of suspects however including her stepdad who is running for some political office. January is not really the type of political daughter you want standing up on the podium with you. So there is one suspect. I won't go on about the other suspects. I will tell you January is not a nice girl. She lies to everyone including her boyfriend. She has been moved to a new school and no one there likes her at all. While reading the book, I didn't like her. I felt so sorry for the boyfriend. This was a very enjoyable read that I just could not put down. I had to know what happened to January. She had been gone for months and no one had heard from her and her body had not been found. It was a real mystery with lots of suspects. And her boyfriend had been holding back a huge surprise. Thanks to the MacMillan Children's Publishing Group and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review. I truly enjoyed reading this one!
While looking into his girlfriend’s disappearance, Flynn begins to realize that maybe he didn’t know her that well after all. And that things are rarely as they seem. What’s not to love about this book? I can’t think of a single thing. Ok, well, maybe I didn’t love the missing girlfriend January so much, though I fully sympathized with her situation. But that’s fine because I don’t think it mattered whether I liked her or not. I really loved Flynn. And I loved his relationship with (fill in the blank because spoilers). His journey to finding out what happened to January turns out to be a journey to finding himself as well, and it was a treat to get to know him along the way. As to the mystery itself, I had strong suspicions about what ultimately happened to January, just not the how’s or the why’s. The how was pretty damn creative. I never, ever would have guessed. The story was compelling and entertaining and well written. One of the better YA mysteries I’ve read this year. And I really loved that the main character was male because I have to say, nearly all of what I’ve read this year has been written by women (gasp!) and had female main characters (egad!). No idea why, just how it’s gone this year. Regardless, it was refreshing to get a male perspective. And I truly, truly loved the LGBTQA subplot. Definitely want to see more of that, and for some reason, it is particularly compelling in YA. One of the best parts about reading is the opportunity to walk in someone else’s shoes for a while, someone whose reality is, in some way, very different from your own. It builds empathy and increases understanding. This is a pair of shoes that more of us should be trying on, and much more frequently. The world is a diverse place, let’s see more of that reflected in mainstream books, please and thank you. Definitely, definitely recommend. Note: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley.
A Fast-paced YA mystery that will keep you up late reading! Please note: I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence the opinions in my review in any way. I must say that usually I do not read mystery novels. I often find them too predictable and cheesy. But after I read The Girl On The Train, by Paula Hawkins, I've been much more enthusiastic about this genre. I found Last Seen Leaving, by Caleb Roehrig to be fun, suspenseful and, once I started it, I could not put it down. What I Liked: Characters: Flynn and January are high school sophomores who have finally taken their long friendship to the next level. But their new romantic relationship has a host of problems: January transfers to a new school and seems to be distancing herself from Flynn. When he tries to make plans with her, she makes excuses that she must work, or has play practice. When they do get together, they fight. I love how there are so many things happening all at once in this book. January's complicated family and social life are slowly revealed as she goes missing. Flynn also is pressured into a major life change once his girlfriend goes missing and the police start asking him tough questions. Plot: As the book progresses, we see many people who didn't like January at all such as her politician step-father, creepy step-brother, and her new classmates. But could any of these people actually have wanted to harm her? I love how Flynn, feeling guilty for being a terrible boyfriend, starts his own quest to see what happened to January. Did she run away? Was she kidnapped? Murdered? As her boyfriend, Flynn is in a unique position to know more than the police and find connections they may have missed. But is Flynn also a suspect? The twists and turns in this book made me so invested in the outcome that at times I had to put the book down and breath because the suspense was unbearable. Once I calmed down, I immediately dove back in to see what had happened. If you love mystery and suspense, I think you will thoroughly enjoy this book. It was a quick read that I couldn't put down with an ending that was riveting. I hope this author writes more books soon so I can devour them as well.
I love twisty mysteries, so when I saw the synopsis, I was all over it. Added bonus for it being in boy POV. I liked Flynn well enough. He's a bit too dramatic for my tastes and I struggled with the juxtaposition between his constant use of "dude" and then a word like "metatarsal". There's a group of secondary characters, but I didn't feel like we really got to know any of them. The plot was interesting. I didn't get it figured out until almost the end and there are an abundance of creepy characters to wonder about. I liked the use of the flashbacks to slowly learn about January and her relationship with Flynn. Overall, it was captivating enough to keep me reading, but I wasn't clamoring to find out how it ended. **Huge thanks to Feiwel and Friends and NetGalley for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**