Book Review: Last Seen Leaving

Title: Last Seen Leaving

Author: Caleb Roehrig

Genre: YA mystery

Challenge: 2017 Read Diverse Books – LGBT YA romance

Themes: coming out story, missing person

Story:

Flynn is kind of coasting through high school, putting in just enough effort, hanging out with his best friend, skating, occasionally seeing his girlfriend. One night in October, he comes home to find a police car in the driveway. His girlfriend, January, has gone missing. Flynn got into an argument with her and she broke things off with him. That was the last he heard from her, and he’s not about to share the  circumstances with the cops.

That’s because January accused him of being gay. And Flynn kind of suspects that she’s right. He’s not ready to admit that though, not to the cops, not to her, not to his parents, but most importantly, not to himself. And in the meantime, no one has seen January. It seems she was keeping secrets too. Is anyone telling the truth in this story?

I don’t have a lot of experience with LGBT teen fiction, and I don’t read much contemporary YA either. I mainly picked this one up because of the missing person angle. I love a good mystery, and I couldn’t help but feel for this young guy caught in the middle of a dangerous situation and tagged as the number one suspect.

But there’s two mysteries in this one – the missing girl, and Flynn’s own feelings. I thought the author did a good, but maybe not great job of handling both storylines. I think the mystery got a little predictable, with the stepdad and his political career, the selfish mom, the two sets of friends – maybe too cliched.

As for Flynn, he was a very appealing character and I wanted him to figure things out. He reminded me of someone I love. It’s not easy to come out while in high school. It’s not easy to stay in the closet either. And to have to figure it all out in the middle of being a murder suspect – that’s really rough.

Recommended for readers of YA. New author for me too.

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