Last Seen Leaving – Discussion

“‘I supposed I’ve really got nothing left to lose, do I?’
And he pulled the trigger.” – Caleb Roehrig, Last Seen Leaving

 


Synopsis:

Flynn’s girlfriend has disappeared. How can he uncover her secrets without revealing his own?

Flynn’s girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking questions he can’t answer, and her friends are telling stories that don’t add up. All eyes are on Flynn—as January’s boyfriend, he must know something.


But Flynn has a secret of his own. And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January’s disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.

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Reviews

Eden: I didn’t know who Caleb Roehrig was until YALLfest which is disappointing because he is a phenomenal writer. Last Seen Leaving introduced interesting and diverse characters while building a plausible and terrifying story that I couldn’t tear myself from. I’m looking forward to reading more from Roehrig in the future. 5/5 stars. 

Caitlynn: This book is everything that I wanted and needed. Roehrig did such a great job combining all parts of this book to make the story and characters feel so real. I’m so happy that we picked this up as our discussion book and got to see what Roehrig had to offer. 4.5/5 stars.

Jenn:  Okay y’all, we saw Caleb Roehrig at YALLFest and fell in love with him immediately. We decided to pick up Roehrig’s book then but we haven’t gotten a chance to read it until now. Now that I have read it. I loved it. It was so interesting and suspensful. Roehrig truly developed this story and all of the characters. I can not wait to read more of his books. 5/5 stars. 


Discussion

 

Eden: What did you guys think?

Jenn: 5 out of 5!

E: Same, I gave it 5 stars too.

Caitlynn: I gave it 4.5 stars.

J: Say what?! You are usually the easiest rating of us all!

C: I just didn’t like Kaz and Flynn’s relationship in the middle of the book, it felt too posed I just didn’t feel like they had reached that point in their relationship yet.

J: I actually enjoyed that part, it felt real to me. It’s kind of like in middle school when you just start dating people and you aren’t really sure what you want you just kind of do it just to do it. Kaz was giving Flynn the space he needed to figure himself out.

C: I liked them later on, I just didn’t like how their relationship progressed at the beginning of the novel.

E: Did you guys get what you expected from this book?

C: It definitely exceeded my expectations because I have none when I go into books.

J: My expectations were definitely met. I always read the ISBN page, where it said “Mystery/Crime novel”.

C: I was really nervous going into it originally because we JUST finished My Sister Rosa and we were jumping right into another mystery/thriller type book.

E: Ok so… I totally thought this book was going to be light-hearted and an easy read.

J: Have you seen the cover??! Have you read the title?!

E: I totally thought we were getting into another John Green Paper Towns type book and that is not at all what this book is like.

J: From the very first chapter I felt like it was just like Gone Girl.

E: From the very first chapter I was like this is just like Margo Roth Spiegelman.

J: I knew there was something going on here with the duplicity of January from the beginning. She was so hot and cold with Flynn in the second chapter, I knew something was up because she wasn’t acting anything like how she usually did.

E: Just like Margo Roth Spiegelman…

C: How’d that go for you?

C, also: When did you decide it wasn’t John Green?

J: Probably way too late…

E: When I was like 80 pages in! There was a point where I was like, “I don’t think this is going to get any more light-hearted…”

E, also.: I just finished reading The Last of August and I was really excited because I was expecting an easy, quick read…

C: The cover of the book is just not…

E: It looks like a nice little painting!

J: Eden, no. That is a shadow running in the woods… We need to re-evaluate your perception of things that look nice.

E: I hit the part where they found her clothes and realized that it wasn’t going to get any better.

J: I was so hoping that January faked the whole thing and was pinning it on someone else.

C: So are you guys happy that you weren’t expecting what would happen?

E & J: I figured out who it was…

J: As soon as the clothes came out, I knew who it was.

E: With the connection between where she was last seen and the clothes seen.

E, also.: I really liked the ending.

J: I wish the ultimate ending was different, I wish there was more payback. I wish there was more death…

E: I felt like we didn’t get the retribution for some people that I wanted.

E, also.: Were you guys more caught up in the coming of age aspect or the murder?

J: I think Roehrig did such an amazing job keeping the two aspects separate. I never found myself wanting to skip over either part of the plot line to get back to the other. They felt completely separate but together at the same time.

E: His pacing in this book was phenomenal. Did we just read another debut novel?

J: Yes, I think so.

[Jenn proceeds to list an unnecessarily long list of random facts that she knows about Roehrig which raises concerns…]

E: This is a really impressive debut novel.

C: I agree!

J: I liked that January was a flawed figure, even when they were trying to find out what happened to her she was still a real, flawed person. There was never a point where she became a “holier than thou” figure in the book which will usually happen with people who have gone missing.

E: I actually found that I really liked January even though she was a really unlikable character at many points.

E, also.: There was this part of the book where Flynn meets one of January’s classmates at Dumas and I felt like it was exactly like something that I would have said too.

J: I really liked Flynn’s commentary on January, I think that was great.

E: He made her this cool sounding person.

J: When he was like, “Could that really be here, but then again she nicknamed someone Sparkly for the rest of their life because she wore one sparkly top.”

E: This is US. We called a kid throughout all of our Junior year of his school Degrassi, Jr because he looked like a kid from that show.

J: I don’t know what you’re talking about, I’m not mean.

E: There’s a point where January is talking about Cedric in a flashback moment when he was playing Santa, I was laughing so hard when I read that part.

C: That was a really messed up part to laugh at.

E: I know!

J: I don’t know if you guys thought this… but I totally thought when Flynn went out and he was talking about a smooth stone and I totally thought he was picking up a skull!

C & E: I thought so too!

E: I really liked this book, I was pleasantly surprised because I really wasn’t in the mood for it.

J: It flew by!

E: You did read it in 3 hours…

J: I was really hoping we would find out that January was gay with Ti too!

E: Overall thoughts?

J: I thought that the characters were super well developed and the plot line was not lacking anything. I think the pacing of this book made it where you wanted more without being bored of anything. Roehrig’s strength is definitely in his dialogue and inner monologues, he made it feel so authentic.

E: I agree with that, I think what I’m most impressed with is his world and character development. Nothing felt out of place or too fast or out of character. I think with new authors, you see them jump to things that wouldn’t make sense for their characters. This book blew me away. I hadn’t heard much about it and I’m so excited for whatever he has for us next.

C: Definitely an auto-buy author now! I totally agree with what both of y’all said, everything about this book was so great, especially with the fact that it’s a debut novel.

 

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