My Life in YA

I love books. Especially Fantasy & Sci-Fi, but I need a little contemporary in between.

What She Left Behind - Tracy Bilen I don’t tend to read much YA contemporary books and especially not contemporary books featuring “tougher issues”, like What She Left Behind. But when I saw the synopsis above I was immediately intrigued. Mostly because I wanted to read what had happened to Sara’s mom! The mystery aspect of this book is very well done. Considering that Sara was trying to find out what happened to her mother, the mystery was very exciting. There are some heart pounding moments where I’m literally scared for Sara!A big plus for this book are the characters Bilen created, because they were all very believable. I specifically think Sara’s abusive father is very well written. As a reader of course you have no sympathy for him. What I didn’t expect is that he wasn’t just a horrible, mean abuser; he has a really deluded sense of reality. The romance aspect in this book was very sweet and I liked him. Besides, I’m glad he wasn’t a sole focus in the novel, this way I never thought the romance was getting in the way of Sara thinking about her REAL problem: her missing mom. There are some books out there that introduce a romance in a time when there is something horrible going on and you can’t understand why the main character doesn’t think about that, but only on her love interest. Thankfully, that was not the case here. With just 237 pages this book was a little too short for my liking. Something that I didn’t like was that the book begins immediately with the escape plan. This way you don’t really get to see Sara’s mother much, only in flashbacks. I would’ve liked to see her more, to understand why she didn’t try to escape earlier? I also expected a book about someone being in this kind of situation (having an abusive father), what they feel and how they cope, but I didn’t really learn about that. I would have liked the book to have more pages, so Sara’s feelings could have been explored more. That way the ending also wouldn’t feel so abrupt. I also didn’t really connect with Sara, because I didn’t really get to feel her emotions. This is what makes it an okay read, instead of a great read.All in all, I really liked this novel, although it was a bit too short. I’m not that much of a quick reader but I read it in a day! I think this is a great novel for lovers of contemporary YA books, but bear in mind that it is a little more focused on the mystery aspect.