Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia #BookReview

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There is a place in Minnesota with hundreds of miles of glacial lakes and untouched forests called the Boundary Waters. Ten years ago a man and his son trekked into this wilderness and never returned.

Search teams found their campsite ravaged by what looked like a bear. They were presumed dead until a decade later…the son appeared. Discovered while ransacking an outfitter store, he was violent and uncommunicative and sent to a psychiatric facility. Maya Stark, the assistant language therapist, is charged with making a connection with their high-profile patient. No matter how she tries, however, he refuses to answer questions about his father or the last ten years of his life.

But Maya, who was abandoned by her own mother, has secrets, too. And as she’s drawn closer to this enigmatic boy who is no longer a boy, she’ll risk everything to reunite him with his father who has disappeared from the known world.

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This was the first novel I read by Mindy Mejia. I had heard plenty of positive echos about her first novel The Act of Hattie Hoffman and I was also very attracted by Maya’s occuption as a language therapist. It’s an uncommon job and it triggered me, wanting to know more about it.

I was also very drawn to the story of father and son disappearing. What were their reasons and how did they survive? The wilderness and threats of the Boundary Waters were vividly depicted, the nature described in a beautiful manner but from an outsider’s point of view. I would have loved to read scenes of their way of life (as in The Marsh King’s Daughter), their hardships and the struggles of a young boy with his father but the story’s setting doesn’t involve the past but focuses on the present, from the moment Lucas is arrested for breaking into a camping store.

Maya and Lucas’s interactions were interesting and I understood how Maya’s past made her want to help Lucas. Maya was left behind by her mother when she was little and I felt for her. Her past intrigued me and I could really see how this formed her character. The girl who doesn’t want to bond with anybody starts to get an unhealthy interest in Lucas though. She then becomes a bit of a loose cannonball and I raised my eyebrows when I saw what unprofessional conduct she shows. There was definitely a YA vibe in the second part of the novel which came as a bit of a surprise to me and then it seemed to change course once again when Maya and Lucas find themselves in a bit of action as well. It bothered me just a little bit because I was mostly interested in the mystery and I felt I was being kept away from getting to the heart of the story.

In short, I enjoyed the first and last part of the novel where the different pieces of the puzzle fall into place and everything was all brought together brilliantly. It was maybe a bit of a different read then I was expecting but I enjoyed the reveal of Lucas and Josiah’s reasons for taking off and I was satisfied how it was all wrapped up in the end.

I received a free copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

15 thoughts on “Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia #BookReview

    • I don’t want to put you off but I missed them actually spending time in nature and experiencing it, the brief part when he talks about when he was young and went hiking with his father was definitely one of the best parts for me. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on both novels!

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  1. It sounds like your expectations were for a story that went in one direction, then found it didn’t. The fact you mentioned the therapist taking an unhealthy view on the young boy/man, puts me off. And maybe, in the end, I won’t be adding this one to my TBR.

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    • You’re right, it was a bit of a mix and that never works really well with me I’m afraid if I’m not forwarned about what I’m going to get. I requested it for the mystery and the survival and wasn’t really waiting for a love interest to take over. Her first novel had so much praise though, maybe we’d both like that one more 🙂

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      • We can be more tolerant when we know what to expect is in the mix, but odd surprises that don’t gel with the story, make for an uneven read. And it sounds like this was one of those. And like you, I think I would like more about what went on between father and son, in the forest.

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  2. The premise sounds interesting and it does have a Marsh King Vybe. Sorry to hear that the story didn’t quite your expectations but its nice that you were still able to enjoy parts of it. Fab review, Inge.

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