LEAVE NO TRACE by Mindy Mejia
Kirkus Star


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A young woman with a troubled past helps an unusual young man find his father in the beautiful but dangerous wilds of Minnesota.

Twenty-three-year-old speech therapist Maya Stark was lucky to get the job at the Congdon Psychiatric Facility considering that she used to be a patient there. After Maya’s mother, Jane, a geologist who fostered her daughter's love for the natural world, tried to kill herself and then disappeared, Maya lost her way, making a bad decision that led to a shocking act of violence and then to a stint at Congdon. But she got herself together, got her degree, and she loves her job. She’s even rebuilding her relationship with her father, though she finds it hard to let people get close to her. When 19-year-old Lucas Blackthorn is admitted after a burglary attempt, he seems to recognize Maya, but that would be impossible since he's spent the past 10 years off the grid after disappearing into the expansive Boundary Waters with his father, Josiah. His first encounter with Maya ends with a cord around her neck as he tries to escape, but Maya refuses to let the incident slow her down. Despite Lucas' aggressiveness, Maya is one of the few people he responds to, and her boss and former doctor assigns her to his case. Maya is surprised but undeniably intrigued and begins to look forward to her time with this sad young man. They eventually form a bond, and when Maya discovers that Lucas’ father is still alive but in danger, she finds she’s willing to do just about anything to get them back together before it’s too late. Bathed in shades of melancholy, Maya’s narration, woven in with Lucas and Josiah’s heartbreaking story, is a testament to resiliency, and when Maya reveals her secret—the event that led to her time in Congdon—it’s a shocker. But it’s her ability to endure and thrive that makes her so fascinating; she's actually quite a kick-ass when push comes to shove. Keep tissues handy for this one but be assured that, in the end, there is hope to be found.

Mejia’s (Everything You Want Me To Be, 2017) thrilling tale works both as an engaging mystery and a haunting meditation on grief, abandonment, and the lost places within ourselves. Brutal, devastating, and utterly riveting.

Pub Date: Sept. 4th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-5011-7736-1
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Emily Bestler/Atria
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2018


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