Last Seen Leaving

Last Seen Leaving - Caleb Roehrig

Flynn's girlfriend, January, has gone missing, and Flynn is searching for answers to what happened. The two had been growing apart shortly before her disappearance after she was forced to transfer to a private school by her mother and new politician step-father. January started to withdraw from Flynn. Not helping with this is the fact that Flynn is struggling with the knowledge that, while he loves January, he is not sexually attracted to her due to the fact that he is gay.

 

I really think this book would have benefited from aging Flynn and January up to 17. As more of what happened to January is revealed

specifically an adult revealing he raped her because what they had was special and she was an old soul, so it's totally fine (in his messed up opinion)

(show spoiler)

Flynn says that January was just a child. What the book doesn't seem to get is that, at the same exact age of 15, Flynn is also just a child. Which makes the decision to give him an adult love interest seem off, particularly when details of what happened to January come to light. Now there's only a 3-5 year age difference between Flynn and his love interest, but when one is 15 and the other is in college, those couple years mean a lot more than if they were both a mere decade older. This was especially strange when the idea of that same love interest trying to get with January was treated as creepy. But apparently no one, including Flynn's parents, see anything even slightly off about a college guy dating a 15 year old kid who they just met. Then again, I was also questioning the parents giving a 15 year old a curfew of midnight. Basically, what happened to January would have been equally as awful at the age of 17, but Flynn's love life would have been considerably less creepy to me. Which is a shame because other than the age thing, I liked the love interest.

 

I also really liked January, despite only seeing her in flashbacks. She was a mess of contradictions, showing moments of great kindness and great cruelty as she struggled to deal with situations beyond her control. I felt for her, even when her crueler actions were revealed. I liked her relationship with Flynn and could see why he loved her and wanted to be in love with her.

 

Flynn, too, was a good character, although harder for me to connect with which is surprising since he was the point of view character and January was only seen in flashbacks. He was at his most engaging when dealing with his sexuality and his conflicting feelings for January. His relationship with his love interest wasn't particularly interesting. I just didn't feel a real connection between them. They were both nice as individuals, but just lacking in chemistry as a couple for me.

 

The mystery was interesting and appropriately creepy at times. I figured out the gist of it fairly early on, but not all the details. There were a few bits I questioned

(I don't think a 15 year old volunteering at the Red Cross would be taught how to draw blood properly)

(show spoiler)

but I liked it for the most part.

 

The story kept me reading, which is what I look for in a book. I just wish Flynn had been a bit older to make it more enjoyable for me.