I received this eARC via the publisher from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
All quotes are from the ARC and subject to change.
Author: Caleb Roehrig
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery, LGBT+
But Flynn has a secret of his own. And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January’s disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.
“There was a corpse in my neighbor’s front yard.”
Last Seen Leaving had me riveted from the very first line to the very last. It was gripping and full of twists that not only had me gasping out loud at times but had me second guessing everything I was thinking at every possible turn. I was on the edge of my seat! I kept trying to come up with theories about who did what, what would happen, and what had happened – I was wrong every single time (and I enjoyed that aspect). As far as my first experience with the mystery/thriller genre (when it comes to books) is concerned I would say that this was a raving success. I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was unforgettable, and probably one of the best books I’ve read this year!
“January McConville is missing, son. She never came home from school on Tuesday night, and no one’s seen or heard from her since.”
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.
“I sure as hell couldn’t tell Wilkerson and Moses about all of that, not in front of my mother. Well, we had this huge fight, because she wanted to have sex and I didn’t, because … because … A trill of fear spiked through me, my head whirling and my stomach turning over just at the thought of 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.
Are you excited for Last Seen Leaving? If you’ve read it what did you think?