Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia | ARC Review

Pages: 352
Publication: Atria Books
Release date: September 4, 2018
How I got the copy: Simon & Schuster Canada
Rating: 3.5/5

I went into this book with high expectations, I read Mindy Mejia's novel released last year, Everything You Want Me to Beand absolutely loved it. With her previous book in mind, reading Leave No Trace does not disappoint but, in comparison, I did enjoy Everything You Want Me to Be more because crime and murder, amiright? Both books are completely different in plot but the atmosphere and mystery are comparable.

Set in Minnesota close to miles of glacial lakes and forests called Boundary Waters, Maya and Josiah, the main characters, are no strangers to the forest. Maya used to spend her time in the forest during the summers with her mother, before she up and left, and Josiah has just reappeared from disappearing with his father, IN THE FOREST, 10 years ago.

The story flips between perspectives, which you should all know by now that I love, and with each chapter the mystery of what happened and why Josiah and his father disappeared into the forest is gripping. Josiah's reappearance in town creates a scene and a divide in the community. Half that believe he's innocent and the other half that want him locked up in jail for the crimes he and his father have committed, which I won't tell you. Throughout the entire book, you will read and try to determine if everything that has happened throughout Josiah's life was intentional or accidental.

Maya the rebellious little "criminal" works at the correctional institution as an assistant language therapist and in the very own correctional institution she's spent time in. I'm not sure how believable this is but there's always those small town ways that I can't speak on. Once Josiah is admitted to the correctional institution Maya almost immediately feels drawn to Josiah. She wants to talk and be around him, which is rare because Maya's a lone wolf and has never really had any friends. Maya starts to reveal her own secrets to Josiah in an attempt to break his barriers and figure out where's his father is, why they disappeared 10 years ago and what happened during that time in the forest.

The only thing I'm a bit conflicted with is how the ending plays out. I wanted Maya to overcome her challenges but she doesn't in the way I wanted her too but kind of saw coming throughout the story. However, I understand where Mejia went with the ending because this book is about coming to terms with trauma, life, and the wilderness.

Also, there's a tiny bit of romance in this... complicated romance, which is a bit weird but kind of makes sense for these characters.

*A copy of this book was provided by Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review*