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Last Seen Leaving Hardcover – October 4, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—This thriller follows Flynn as he tries to solve the mystery of his missing girlfriend, January. The more he discovers, the more confused he is as he uncovers the secrets she has been keeping from him. January had been distant ever since her mother remarried and moved her into her politician stepdad's fancy house and switched her to private school. Though the couple tried to stay together through the changes, Flynn's own secret was a source of strife, and January broke up with him after a fight right before her disappearance. That she's no longer his girlfriend doesn't stop Flynn from caring about her, and he doesn't give up looking for answers. His search for January leads to his own revelation as he is forced by circumstances to come out to his parents and friends. Learning the truth about January leads Flynn and his new friend Kaz into danger and intrigue as they find themselves falling for each other and solving the mystery. 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. VERDICT A fun mystery with a credible emotional pull; a general purchase for most YA collections.—Genevieve Feldman, San Francisco Public Library
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
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Top Customer Reviews
This book, as stated in the synopsis, is about Flynn’s girlfriend January having vanished and the mystery surrounding her disappearance. It’s a mystery that Flynn is desperate to solve and the reader is whisked away on this dark and twisted journey with him. As he begins to uncover secrets that January kept hidden he is forced to face his own secret alongside those revelations. Last Seen Leaving is Flynn’s own personal journey as well – his journey of acknowledging who he really is and learning to accept and embrace it. In a nutshell, while the reader is gripped in the claws of this haunting tale they also get to see the transformation Flynn goes through in terms of his sexuality (which is made pretty obvious straight away). That journey of self-discovery brings with it an unexpected romance that I won’t go into detail about but it was incredible and I loved it.
Caleb Roehrig wove so many different layers and stories into this book and it was enchanting and incredibly well done. Combine that with his writing that was practically spellbinding and you have a book that is impossible to put down.
I feel like this was equal parts character driven and plot driven. There is a cast of very colorful characters in this book – some are horrible and you’ll hate them and some you’ll adore or end up adoring. I won’t go into detail about the characters because to do so would spoil everything.
I will say that I, obviously, adored Flynn and his journey. He was a funny, sarcastic, and charming character who, despite everything, is probably the person who cared for January the most and would do anything if it meant she was found and safe.
January was so complex and at times I wasn’t sure how I felt about her but ultimately I ended up respecting her more than any of the other characters.
And don’t even get me started on Kaz! I won’t give away anything but he was my favorite and I loved him.
This is one of those times where I will be as vague as possible in a review because I went into this book blind and I believe it’s better if you do that. I wouldn’t have had such a strong reaction nor would I have been as riveted if I would have known any specifics that were not already common knowledge beforehand.
However, I do want to point out that this book is a dark book. It does have light moments but at its core, Last Seen Leaving has a very realistic and scary vibe to it. The topic of rape is broached, there is violence, gruesome scenes, and a lot of bad things happen. The reason I’m pointing that out is because I know there are people that might not want to be blindsided by certain things in a book.
That aside, Last Seen Leaving will sink its claws into you and not let go until you turn the final page. There are so many twists that leave you guessing and a shocker of an ending that will have you picking your jaw up off the floor.
Another auto-buy author for me as I definitely can’t wait to see what Caleb Roehrig has in store for us with his future books.
Many people will talk about this book because it is an engrossing thriller that keeps you turning pages, and many more will praise it because it is an honest, compelling coming-of-age story. For me, the thing that sets this book apart in a league all its own is the way it manages to be both these things at once, and shows that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Roehrig has taken an edge-of-your-seat thriller loaded with secrets about what happened to a missing girl, and seamlessly woven it together with the story of a young man whose life is crowded with secrets of his own. This is a book where the main character is asking "who done it" while simultaneously asking "who am I," and the themes are layered and intertwined so expertly. The mystery is all the stronger juxtaposed against Flynn's personal journey, and I could not stop turning pages. I laughed out loud, cried a little, and loved every page all the way up to the satisfying ending. This is a fantastic debut and I can't wait for whatever Caleb Roehrig writes next!
This book got better and better with each page.
It is billed as a mystery or thriller, and that's definitely the seed of the story, but it's mostly about identity.
Flynn is a dedicated boyfriend to January, a girl who has gone missing. She's had some unhappy changes in her life and he wants to find out what happened. This journey introduces him to Kaz (who becomes a character that I really enjoyed).
The trail and suspicion are clumsy sometimes, it wasn't until page 150 or so that I got that addicted, curious mystery feeling.
There are some artful twists and some satisfying aspects to the resolution and some lovely revelations.
In the end, it was a more than okay and less than good mystery, yet a pretty great coming of age tale.