Author: Monica Ropal
Genre: Young Adult
Disclaimer: I received an advance review copy of this book from the publisher.
Review: When You Leave starts out with a plot that is familiar to all who read young adult fiction. Girl transfers to a new school. Girl meets a boy. They fall in love. So far, it's pretty standard fare. Though there are some complications: they are in different social circles and hide their relationship from all their friends. But the real twist occurs when the boy gets murdered and the girl starts investigating his death.
The book is written from Cass's point of view and feels very authentic. Cass is fallible, confused, and often pretty awkward. She is not brilliant when it comes to investigations. Nevertheless, she persists with her inquiry and eventually figures thing out. Her journey from start to finish is mesmerizing. I had trouble putting the book down until it was finished.
There were other interesting characters in Cass's crew. Her voiceless friend, Mattie and the rest of the skateboarding crew were also quite believable, and each unique in their own way. The least well-written character is probably Cooper, who gets murdered. His motivations for doing various things seem feeble and his whole character comes off like a stock "perfect boyfriend" stereotype.
The plot kept me guessing on who the murderer was for quite some time, though I did figure it out towards the end of the book. All-in-all it was an interesting read and a new take on a coming of age and coming to terms type novel and I thoroughly enjoyed it.