Friday, March 4, 2016

ARC Review: The Leaving Season

Title: The Leaving Season
Author: Cat Jordan
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Source: HarperTeen for Review

Middie Daniels calls it the Leaving Season: the time of year when everyone graduates high school, packs up their brand-new suitcases, and leaves home for the first time.

This year Middie’s boyfriend Nate is the one leaving. Nate, who’s so perfect that she can barely believe it. Nate, who makes her better than she is on her own. Nate, who’s promised to come back once he’s finished his gap year volunteering in Central America. And when he does, it’ll be time for Middie to leave, too. With him.

But when a tragedy strikes, Middie’s whole world is set spinning. No one seems to understand just how lost she is… except for Nate’s slacker best friend Lee. Middie and Lee have never gotten along. But with the ground ripped out from under her, Middie is finding that up is down—and that Lee Ryan might be just what she needs to find her footing once more.

Cat Jordan’s heartbreaking story proves that no matter the season, no matter the obstacles, love can help you find yourself in the most unexpected of places. 

My Review 

Cat Jordan's debut novel, The Leaving Season, touched me in a way that I didn't think that a book could. This novel is an exquisite and beautiful contemporary tale about loss, heartbreak, and healing that will break your heart into millions of pieces (multiple times... yes, you read that correctly) and put it back together again. The Leaving Season is a book that is full of so many different human emotions that it's actually hard to put it down because you become so connected to the characters and the story. This book is touching, heartwarming, and bittersweet, and it's sure to pull on your heartstrings.

Ms. Jordan's writing is addicting in The Leaving Season. If my eyes didn't get so tired all of the time I would have finished this book in one sitting. She really brought Middie to life in the way that Middie narrates the book and tells her story. It was almost as if I were listening to a best friend, instead of reading a book.

The two main characters in The Leaving Season - Middie and Lee Ryan - are very well developed, and I could really see these two clinging to one another after such a tragic event. Even though they never got along before Nate's tragedy, they come together, and it helps them both heal and move on from their shared loss. Before, Middie was Nate's girlfriend and Lee was his best friend. The three of them never really did anything together, so Middie and Lee never knew anything about one another. They quickly realize that they are the only two people who understand each other's loss, and they start spending time together. Their disdain for one another quickly melts away, and these two start an awkward but passionate relationship. It was cute to watch them go from bickering all the time to being so involved with one another. 

The other characters in The Leaving Season could have used a bit more development, but I found them to be very solid secondary characters. I feel like I really got to know Nate through Middie's narration, but I didn't know too much about her other friends and her family members. It would have been extra special to see that, especially since Middie is dealing with the death of her boyfriend. Their presence is in the book, but just a little more would have really made this title stand out.

The Leaving Season is set in a small town in the Pacific Northwest where everyone knows everything about everyone. For much of the beginning of the book, I really felt like I could imagine the setting in front of me. There are references to the different kinds of trees there are in the region, and a few times, the characters make jokes about all the rain. After that, I felt like Ms. Jordan took off with the plot and forgot to mention things about the setting that made it seem real. Nonetheless, I thought it was a fantastic setting, and I loved seeing how everyone in the small town came together to support Middie and the Binghams. 

The Leaving Season has a plot that immediately grabbed at me. I wanted to know everything about Middie and Nate and everything about Middie and Lee. I wanted to know more about who Middie wanted to be when she found out that there is a whole new world out there fore her discover. It's quick paced, and there are some twists and turns that will make the jaws of readers all over the world drop while still bringing a cute romance.

I really enjoyed Cat Jordan's debut novel, The Leaving Season. I think the plot and the content will appeal to contemporary, thriller, and romance readers, but I also think it's a book that readers of all ages will enjoy. It's a cute tale about first love, but it's also a great coming-of-age book that I'm sure will be cherished by readers for years to come.

Born in Europe and raised in America, Cat Jordan has spent her life in the visual and performing arts as a dancer, painter, and filmmaker. A nomad by nature, she's found inspiration for her stories and choreography around the world -- from Venice, California to Venice, Italy.

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