The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

the leaving

The Leaving by Tara Altenbrando

Published: June 7th 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

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 have had this on my TBR for ages. I was really excited to read it because… well, hello? Six children taken, five come back and no one knows what happened to them – not event he kids? I was sold. I needed to know what happened just like my body needs kidneys. However, when I closed the book, I was left with the feeling of “What did I just read?” I was totally underwhelmed by the book and actually disappointed. I think I am going to go all listy on this review just because I think it will probably be the most coherent way to get my thoughts out about this book. There may be spoilers! So read at your own risk!


  • The mystery element. We as a reader know as much as the kids who have just randomly reappeared and I loved it! I loved not knowing what happened to them and wanting to find out what was going on and why they were gone for the past eleven years. The mystery behind it actually left me turning the pages until I had finished the book itself.
  • The book is told from the POV of three different characters. Normally there is a danger, when a book is so written, that the characters blend and don’t have their own voice or the just all sound exactly the same and there is no defining element to them. This was no the case! Scarlett (one kidnapped kid) was very disjointed and it actually showed in the way in which the words were written on the page. There were loops and cliffs and steps and it was amazing! Lucas (another kidnapped kid) is angry and wants revenge on whoever did this to him. He needs to know what happened to him and can’t just let it go like some of the other kidnappees have done. Avery is the sister of the kidnapped kid who didn’t come back and she wants to know what happened to her brother. But she also wants it to be over and she is actually really irritating… at least, I found her annoying.
  • I love the way that there was a book in this book that was also called The Leaving. Talk about crazy elements!
  • The psychology behind it. I was actually a psychology student myself during sixth form and Freud was my all time favourite person to study! He is like a psychology experiment himself! So, of course, I really should have guessed that it would have somehow come back around to him because he is the bane of psychology!
  • The layout of the book itself had me sold from the beginning. I loved the way in which some of the words were represented in other formats rather than straight and formatted lines. I loved the loops and swirls and steps etc. I definitely think it added something to the story itself in the sense that you could feel the way in which the character was feeling.


  • Avery bugged me (which I mentioned earlier). She was actually a really petty character who seemed to only really care about her jealousy over Scarlett and Luke having been a thing and the way int which she treats others around her bugged me too. I just wanted to slap her really really hard.
  • The reactions to the kids coming back were just… not realistic. They would cry and hug and whatever, but 5 minutes later, its just like they don’t really care. They leave the kids to go off and do their own thing and what not. Pretty sure if my son went missing for 11 years and then randomly came back, I would superglue my hand to his and never let him out of my sight again!!
  • The explanation behind it was a little underwhelming. I think the explanation could have been better and I was just disappointed by it. Interesting experiment… but still.
  • I did not ship any of the romance. There was no real depth to it in my opinion and it felt insta love like. Lucas and Scarlett thought they had feelings for each other so they just went for it on a whim? Seriously? No. The rest of the romances were not much better!
  • I wanted to see more of the other kidnapped kids. We obviously see a lot of Lucas and Scarlett, but I wanted more from Adam, Kristen, Sarah (I think her name was)… I wanted to know what was going on with them, how they were dealing etc. I saw so little of them I have even forgotten one of their names! But I am pretty sure it is Sarah.
  • We are never even introduced to the guy who did it! I mean, I think it would have been much better if it had been someone we already knew in the book, like the memory guy. No, I was left feeling confused and irritated because we didn’t even know the guy who did it. Plus, he is never even caught! -.-

All in all I was left feeling pretty underwhelmed by this book. I loved the mystery aspect and the actual layout of the book, but I wanted more! I gave this book 3/5 stars.


3 thoughts on “The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

  1. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    I skimmed this review again, I’m a little worried about spoilers in case I do ever pick this book up and I think a book like this is one where I’m going to want to be surprised. I agree the blurb sounds amazing but it’s a shame it didn’t really hit the mark for you; still 3/5 is a good rating nonetheless! 🙂

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