LAST SEEN LEAVING
By Caleb Roehrig
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (October 4, 2016)
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.
I don't even know when or how to begin with this book.
The blurb makes it seem like a YA version of Gone Girl and I was all about that. I'm sad to report that is not the case with this book.
When the book starts, the MC, Flynn, comes home to find police at his house. Flynn is a 15 year old teenager who never does anything to get in trouble, so obviously he cannot figure out why the police are at his house. It turns out that Flynn's girlfriend, January, has been missing for a week. Flynn has no clue where she went or what could have happened to her. The last time the two of them talked, January had broken up with him. As sad as that is, Flynn also knew that January was not happy with her new home life and new stepdad. Flynn takes it upon himself to find out what happen to January and where she went.
This story felt like it was trying to be bigger than what it really was. It is supposed to be a 'whodunit' and 'where did she go' mystery. The blurb of the book claims that Flynn has a big secret that he doesn't want anyone to find out about because it could change everyhing. I'm here to tell you that his "big secret" is revealed on page 32 and it is NOT that shocking. Actually, it does nothing for the story. Not one thing other than complicate it. If the author had focused on one story instead of trying to make both work, it might have been a better story. I wanted to read a mystery, not about Flynn and his completely obvious secret. The mystery itself was not so mysterious. It was ho-hum and stereotypical. No big surprise and nothing earth shattering when you get to the end of the book. My actual reaction was, "Oh, I saw that coming a mile away". The whole story was wrapped up a little to neatly for me.
I did not care for any of the characters in this novel. I liked Flynn least of all. I have to stress that Flynn was a 15 year old high school Sophomore, yet he talked like he had the vocabulary of an MIT graduate. The unnecessary use of such verbose words drove me nuts. I hate when I have to pull out a dictionary and look up what the words mean. I don't mean that all authors need to dumb down their books for their readers, but the vocabulary used by this author was so over the top it was obscene. I also did not appreciate or like how Flynn refused to clue the seasoned detectives in on what he was doing. If he found out something, he just ran with it. Flynn was skin over bones, almost afraid of his own shadow, yet he suddenly could become a brave detective? I don't buy it. You are selling it, Roehing, but I am not buying it.
This book is so uneven that I skimmed a good majority of it. I think I can see what Roehing was trying to accomplish but he missed the mark big time. What I read was not a good story. It was too much crammed into a couple of hundred pages. I just felt like it was a little formulaic, with stereotypical villains and the predictable (at least to me) red herrings to throw you off the real trail. I did not enjoy this book. I know others are gushing about how wonderful it is, but I urge you to not go by what Goodreads says. Read the reviews of those you trust and make your own decision.