Last Seen Leaving

Last Seen Leaving

Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig (YA Mystery/Thriller)

Fans of John Green will love Last Seen Leaving. Flynn Doherty, the fifteen-year-old narrator of the story, is laugh-out-loud funny even as he struggles with two major dilemmas: the disappearance of his girlfriend, January, and his own personal secret that complicates his life and makes him appear to be a suspect in her disappearance. At first, I thought this was just another version of Looking for Alaska or Paper Towns, but it’s so much more.

Caleb Roehrig has created believable, likable characters who immediately drew me into their world and made me care about what was happening to them. At the same time, he introduces plenty of potential suspects as the person responsible for January’s disappearance and sends Flynn on a mission to identify that person. As Flynn learns more and more about January’s “other” life, he’s filled with doubts about how well he knew her, but he hasn’t been completely honest with her, either.

This book kept me reading non-stop until I finished it. I loved Flynn’s take on what was happening around and to him, and his similes continuously had me chuckling out loud. The author also did a great job of building the tension and creating a cliff-hanger, then inserting a little relevant backstory to prolong the suspense before getting back to the action. I can see myself quickly becoming a fan of Caleb Roehrig novels.

Bella gives Last Seen Leaving five stars. 5 stars

Potty-mouth Index: MODERATE  

Grandma says: Not all kids talk this way, and basically these were not tough kids, so leaving out such casual use of the “f” word would not have diminished the authenticity of the story.

Bella Reads and Reviews received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available for pre-order with release scheduled for October 4, 2016.

 

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Along Came the Rain

AlongCametheRain

Along Came the Rain by Alison R. Solomon (General Fiction)

Grandma says: This is a suspense-filled story told from the points of view of two major characters, Wynn and Barker, and two additional characters, Parminder and Kallie. Wynn is an older woman, a self-employed jewelry-maker who is somewhat eccentric and quirky; Barker is a social worker and the younger woman in this domestic partnership. Parminder is an intern working under Barker, and Kallie is a fifteen-year-old foster placement of Barker’s.

A kidnapping with an unusual motive is the basis of the story, which proved to be very engrossing right from the beginning. I found the outcome to be a total surprise, far from predictable, and the entire book an enjoyable read. Wynn and Barker are believable and well-developed characters. I could feel Wynn’s periodic confusion and frustration with herself, and I came to really like Barker because of her dedication to her clients. Parminder and Kallie are less developed, but that felt okay because the story belongs to Wynn and Barker.

My main criticism is that, while the story is told from the points of view of four different characters, their voices never differ. Kallie, a fifteen-year-old coming from a decidedly rougher background, possesses a vocabulary and sentence structure similar to that of the adults. Parminder, a native of India, does not have any distinctive characteristics to her narration. I also had a problem with Wynn’s ability to accept and forgive when she is grievously wronged, but it’s possible that she might just be a better person than I am.

This book was well-written, an enjoyable read, and I found no errors of note other than a single word that should have been edited out and multiple places where I would have expected commas. I would highly recommend it for anyone looking for a quick suspense novel with a satisfying ending.

Grandma gives Along Came the Rain four stars. 4 stars

***

Bella Reads and Reviews received Along Came the Rain as an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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