Thursday, November 17, 2016

What She Left Behind

Sara and her mom had it all planned out, finally they will be able to escape her abusive father and start a new life together.  Sara waits eagerly for her mother to pick her up, but her mom never shows up and doesn't answer her phone.  She is convinced her father has something to do with her mother's disappearance, although he continues to claim she on a business trip.  Her friends know something isn't right as Sara begins to act on edge and jumpy, but she doesn't want to endanger anyone else.  As each day passes her fears and worry grow stronger as she tries to find out what has happened to her mother, and pray it doesn't happen to her.

This book is marketed as YA, but I honestly think adult readers would enjoy this thriller as well.  It is one of those books that will keep you on the edge of your seat. There is a dark, deep atmosphere to this book that doesn't waver through the story and draws you in.  I found myself almost biting my nails waiting to see what would happen next.  Sara is a strong female lead.  I like the fear in Sara that radiates off the page especially at the thought that she has no help from the cops as her father is still friends with many of them.  Bilen does a great job at making her readers feel the emotion with her characters.

While I loved this book, there were a few short comings such as the feeling of disconnection to some of the other characters.  We don't get a chance to feel connected to her mother before she disappears, and then Alex just pops onto the scene which is almost jarring.  I understand he provides the romantic interest for Sara, but in a story like this a romantic interest is not necessary and almost at times takes away from the story.  There are things that make the story memorable, but other elements that make it forgettable.  I feel like the story was very well written and well told to the readers.  Bilen does paint a terrifying picture with her words, it's just some elements were un-needed, others almost unrealistic.

If you enjoy mysteries, dark thrillers, suspense then this is a book you should look into adding to your collection.  What She Left Behind is Bilen's first novel, and I think it was a great beginning and look forward to seeing what she has in store for readers.  Overall I give this book a 3.5 out of 5.

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