Author: Pam McGaffin | Published: August 14, 2018 by SparkPress | Series: N/A | Length: 352 Pages | Genre: YA Historical Fiction | Source: I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
A coming-of-age YA novel about the daughter of a Pacific Northwest fisherman, whose presumed drowning in 1967 has her searching for answers, including whether or not he’s really dead.
As the Summer of Love comes to an end, 15-year-old Ida Petrovich waits for a father who never comes home. While commercial fishing in Alaska, he is lost at sea, but with no body and no wreckage, Ida and her mother are forced to accept a “presumed” death that tests their already strained relationship. While still in shock over the loss of her father, Ida overhears an adult conversation that shatters everything she thought she knew about him. This prompts her to set out on a search for the truth that takes her from her Washington State hometown to Southeast Alaska, where she works at a salmon cannery, develops love for a Filipino classmate, and befriends a Native Alaskan girl. In this wild, rugged place, she also begins to understand the physical and emotional bonds that took her father north and why he kept them secret—a journey of discovery that ultimately brings her family together and helps them heal. Insightful and heartfelt, The Leaving Year is a tale of love and loyalty, family and friendship, and the stories we tell ourselves in our search for meaning.
I really liked this book! I’m not normally one that picks up coming of age novels, but something just drew me to this book, and I just had to read it.
One thing I really loved about this book is the setting. It’s not too often that I get to read a book that is set in the Pacific Northwest. I’m a huge fan of the TV show Deadliest Catch so I do know a little bit about this area and how tough any type of fishing there can be. I also don’t think I’ve ever read a book that had such a central focus on fishing like this one. It was definitely a great reprieve from my normal reads.
One thing I wasn’t overly thrilled about was the pacing. The first half of the novel seemed to go very slowly. Thankfully, the second half of the novel picked up speed, and I flew through it!
I genuinely loved all of the characters as well. They have such depth and amazing character arcs that I connected with on multiple levels.
I highly recommend this book if you are looking for an atmospheric, page-turning mystery!
I gave this book 4/5 stars on Goodreads.
Pam McGaffin is an award-winning former journalist who returned to her original passion of writing fiction after a long career in newspapers and public relations. Her short stories have appeared in online literary journals, and her articles and essays have been featured in newspapers and magazines. She and her family live in Seattle. This is her first novel.
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