Leave No Trace
by Mindy Mejia
I read the hardback print version.
This novel is one I couldn’t put down. I don’t read many thriller type books and I’m beginning to think maybe I should. Leave No Trace was riveting from beginning to end.
A father goes camping in the most northern reaches of Minnesota with his son and they mysteriously disappear. Ten years later the son reappears, wild and unwilling to communicate. A daughter struggling deeply with the emotional and physical abandonment of her mother who has beat the odds and become a speech pathologist and is assigned his case. They form a delicate bond and the story explodes from there.
What I Did Like
The writing style was spot-on for me. I flew through these pages and couldn’t put it down. There were a few twists I didn’t predict, which I genuinely enjoy as I’m very adept at guessing what will happen next.
Although others may find it tedious or unnecessary, I loved the descriptions of the terrain and the history of Minnesota and Lake Superior. (Before I finished the book I found myself Googling images of the Boundary Waters, Ely, and Duluth and locating them on a map. Simply gorgeous – and now I want to vacation there.) Here’s a photo I dug up.
As you can see, the cover reflects the atmosphere of setting of Leave No Trace quite well.
Additionally, I enjoyed the flawed characters; they were developed completely and I understood them; their motives, their actions, their emotions; even though not one of them is like anyone I know. Both of the main characters are struggling with losing a parent and their pain creates a tight bond. The girl is particularly strong, the boy is driven by love and seems to know nothing but kindness. The story delves into their struggle with abandonment.
This is one of those books that transported me right out of the room and put me somewhere else. And I cried. I just cannot imagine carrying such emotional baggage.
What I Didn’t Like
If anything, the one thing I find unlikely is that a fledgling speech pathologist would be assigned to a high-profile case of a potentially violent individual. If you can get over that, and take it a face value and believe the reasoning in the book, it’s plausible enough from there. Sit back and enjoy.
Should You Read It?
Yep. I think this was a good one. Well worth the three evenings it took me to get through it.
Mindy received a BA from the University of Minnesota and an MFA from Hamline University. Apart from brief stops in Iowa City and Galway, she’s lived in the Twin Cities her entire life and held a succession of jobs from an apple orchard laborer to a global credit manager. Learn more at:
Have you read this book? If so, what did you think? Let me know if the comments below.