Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

Title: Last Seen Leaving
Author: Caleb Roehrig
Pages: 336 pages
Release Date: October 4th, 2016
Source: ARC from Fierce Reads
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult, LGBT
Rating: 4.5/5
Flynn's girlfriend has disappeared. How can he uncover her secrets without revealing his own?

Flynn's girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking questions he can't answer, and her friends are telling stories that don't add up. All eyes are on Flynn—as January's boyfriend, he must know something.

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. 

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**I received an advanced copy from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way.** 

Holy shit. Holy f'in shit. Where do I start with this book? I was expecting it to be more like a YA Gone Girl because of the whole missing-girlfriend-and-suspected-boyfriend aspect. IT WAS NOTHING LIKE WHAT I EXPECTED. Better yet, this book exceeded my expectations. Okay, let's just say that some of the YA thrillers I've read this year have been less than outstanding. Last Seen Leaving is a blow-you-out-of-the-water, heart-racing and headache-inducing kind of book. Don't be surprised if you want to chuck it out the window by the end because you can't believe what the f just happened. 

I totally stalked the author's Goodreads and website bio to obtain the following information. Caleb Roehrig is not only an author, but he's a freaking television producer. He's also a former actor with experience on both sides of the camera. You see, I didn't know this at first. I was reading the book thinking about how it would make a great movie. Now it all makes sense! There is no shortage of plot intrigue and unpredictable moments. 

I was truly impressed that this book took place in a span of a little under a month! The entire story - January's disappearance, Flynn being suspected and Flynn making it his mission to find out what happened - all felt like it should have been months before they found the truth. It wasn't until Flynn reminded us that it had only been 2 weeks after January's disappearance that they managed to track down what happened, did my jaw just drop to the ground. Roehrig managed to fit all that, in a vivid and compelling way, in under a two-week time space. I was thoroughly impressed. 

I was disappointed, however, in the lack of character development. Of course, there was character development but very little. I mean, I could see why it didn't contain as much, since it really wasn't a character-driven book but more plot-driven. The characters are rather fleeting, and we only get to see a lot of Flynn's growth. Flynn's growth is really phenomenal though, with keeping his secret to revealing it and then coping with it being out there for the world to know.

It just be no surprise to anyone that Flynn is gay. I know it's not explicitly revealed in the synopsis but it is implied that he "has a secret" and the book is labeled under LGBT on Goodreads. I apologize if I've spoiled anything you think to be major! The point is, the LGBT aspect took away from the thriller aspect and not in a bad way! I'm really appalled by how Roehrig was able to keep it thrilling, while also focusing on Flynn's self-discovery and the importance of accepting your sexuality. His sexuality played a huge role in January's investigation and Flynn's transformation from hiding to embracing it was truly a beautiful thing to watch.

I sort of crave that unreliable narrator in my thriller books, but this book did just as well with an open narrator. In the first few chapters of the book, Flynn reveals his sexuality to the reader but decides not to tell any other character. I felt a greater connection with the narrator through this secret, and I got giddy at times knowing that I was one of very few that understood the depth of his character.

This book surprised me in many ways. 1) It was the best of both genres- an exciting thriller and a coming-of-age/self-acceptance story. 2) You'll never see the ending coming, not in a million years. 3) The story and plot was very well-developed for a Young Adult thriller novel. Overall, this book exceeded my expectations. For anyone who's interested in reading this book, I suggest going into it knowing the bare minimum/ Trust me, you're going to want to know how this book ends!
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  1. Ooh nice! Been hearing good things about this one! Glad you liked it! Nice review!

    1. Recommend till the end! It's a release not to be missed!


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