The Leaving – Tara Altebrando

The leavingSix kindergarteners don’t return home from school.  They are missing for eleven years.  Then one night, five are returned.  Blindfolded, they are dropped off in a playground in town with a map to their home in their pocket with no memories of where they have been. Now sixteen, they try to blend into families who are strangers.  As memories slowly return, the police assist in determining what happened and why one of the missing, Max, did not return.

The premise of this story is good but would benefit from a bit more editing.  The author only focuses on two of the five returned kids, Lucas and Scarlett.  The others had such minor roles that when mentioned, I had to remind myself of who they were.  Apparently when the kindergarteners went missing, Max’s little sister, Avery, was only three or four yet she now feels a strong romantic bond to Lucas.  What four-year-old develops a close relationship with her five-year-old brother’s best friend and sustains those memories for eleven years?  When the clues are pieced together, my first thought was the at the police did not do a very good job when they were first taken.  Also, one of the kindergarteners saw a title of a book, The Leaving, on the principal’s desk and that is why they called it The Leaving.  She was able to read the title of a book with just a quick glimpse.  What kindergartener can do this, especially at the beginning of the school year?  The premise was good, the suspense built well, but the missteps detracted from the overall story.

eGalley review                                          Publication date 6.7.16

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