Title: The Leaving Season
Author: Cat Jordan
Publication: March 1st 2016 by HarperTeen
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher via Edelweiss
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.
I received a digital review copy of this book from HarperCollins via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
My initial thought about The Leaving Season is that this book has a “gloomy” vibe. Maybe it’s the title, or the cover, or just me. But reading through the first pages, I did feel that this book was on the “serious contemporary” side, if there is such a thing.
Middie and Nate are a match made in heaven, the perfect couple that even their friends envy. When Nate decided to go to Honduras for an Outreach program, Middie can’t seem to imagine the year ahead without him. But when the news broke that *spoiler* Nate isn’t coming back, *end of spoiler* Middie is left in distraught and the story goes on…
I skipped reading the synopsis when I started reading The Leaving Season, so I was totally clueless to how this book would go, though the title did give a major hint. (I did read it when I requested to review this title a few months ago). But even though I didn’t know what to expect, it still came out to be predictable.
E.g. Typical plot twists in TV drama/Movies. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the kind where you lose interest in reading when things come out as expected, it was the opposite actually. There was a trace of anticipation that kept me turning page after page to see what’s gonna happen next. (See? Just like you’re favorite TV series!)
What kept the story interesting are the characters. Admitting that I didn’t easily connect with Middie in the first parts of the book, I love how she changed and became a stronger character as the story progressed. At first, I just couldn’t penetrate to Middie’s thoughts. Even if I’m reading from her perspective, I felt like she wasn’t showing everything. The “first part” Middie didn’t really have an identity and it’s mainly because of how she attaches Nate to everything that identifies herself. With Nate, everything in her life seem to be fool proof.
Risk was not part of my vocabulary. I panicked at the thought of being unprepared, of doing something wrong. “I don’t like doing things I can’t do.” I said, finally. I heard the words and started laughing. “That sounds lame, doesn’t it?”
Lee laughed. “Yeah, it does. Look, at some point, you don’t know things. So you can’t do them. And then you do them and then you know how.”
Enter Lee Ryan, free-spirit, reckless and a mess. After the Nate tragedy, Middie found herself spending more time with Lee as they grieve together. Lee was Nate’s best friend and he seem to know Nate best, even a side of him that Middie did not know. With his help, Middie get to experience the things that Nate had wanted to do. Until Middie starts to feel something for Lee. *coughs* Rebound. *coughs* But even if it seem like Lee was Middie’s safety net, there was a great chemistry between the two.
Then comes the plot twist.
One of the things that I liked about this book is the writing style. It was easy to read and uncomplicated. Also, the chapters weren’t kept too long and that’s a plus for me.
I really had a hard time with deciding on what my rating for this book will be considering the plot, the characters and the writing style. But even so, it’s worth the read and I recommend it for lovers of contemporaries.
Feels – I’m a sucker for books with so much feels in it and The Leaving Season did not disappoint in that aspect.
Lee – At first, I wasn’t really into Lee. The idea that he is charming, bad boy-esque, a second lead guy set me off at first. Just the first mention of him got me thinking like, “Of course, you to be so irresistible and a jerk at the same time so my main girl will have such a hard time choosing between him and the lead guy. Duh.” But oh my heart, I just found myself rooting for him.
Book description and cover image from Goodreads