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What She Left Behind by Tracy Bilen

Thursday, May 3, 2012
"Don't even think of leaving...I will find you," he whispered. "Guaranteed."
Sara and her mom have a plan to finally escape Sara's abusive father. But when her mom doesn't show up as expected, Sara's terrified. Her father says that she's on a business trip, but Sara knows he's lying. Her mom is missing--and her dad had something to do with it. Each day that passes, Sara's more on edge. Her friends know that something's

Goodreads Summary

Despite flashbacks to better times in Sara’s family, it is impossible to feel any sympathy toward her abusive father. Beatings inflicted on her mother have gone on for years. Sara’s brother chooses suicide over the emotional and physical abuse he endures. Sara herself is not physically harmed, but the strain of living with her super-critical, controlling father anymore is impossible. Her mom makes plans for the two of them to disappear, but then disappears herself. Terrified that something has happened to her mom, Sara doesn’t believe her father’s story of a “business trip”. Sara works on the mystery of finding out what has happened to her mom while balancing her dad’s craziness, school, a new boyfriend, and an old friend who is a good and constant reminder of her brother.

Sara’s sleuthing brought me into the story. It’s interesting to see the steps she takes to track her mother’s plans. The author does a great job of creating a squeamish, dark sense of fear whenever Sara’s father is in the scene…or even if she just thinks about him. I felt like holding my breath. It was almost painful to read about his temper. The dialogue between Sara and Alex lightens up this dark story. Because Sara is so isolated, reading about the loyalty and help she gets from Alex and Zach lessens the horror of her situation. The final battle shows Sara’s strengths, but also highlights how much she loves her dad.

Three and a half Stars

*Reviewed by Colleen*

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  1. Heather said...:

    creepy and captivating at the same time.

  1. This book sounds pretty good. It sounds kind of creepy, but in a appealing way, I'll have to pick up a copy sometime. Thanks for the great review!

  1. Thank you! Definitely get a copy :)

  1. I just don't know if this is a story that I could read. Abuse, mental and physical, is something I haven't had large amounts of experience with in novels beyond the tit and tat in teenage relationships. Maybe the occasional main hearing her parents fighting. When I read, I want to be pulled into a story and away from real life. I hear so many awful things on the news every day, I don't know if I could actually read about it, too. I don't know. Maybe if I knew going in that the story ends happily, or as happy as can be. I don't know. I am at a crossroads with this one, but I very much appreciate your review!

  1. Lalaine said...:

    I think this is a book I would totally enjoy, thanks for the great review. x


  1. I don't usually read contemporary, but I LOVED this book. I read it in a day. It was that good.