YA Reads: Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

Hard to believe, but it took a while for me to come around to ebooks, and it was in 2017 that I finally did. Before heading onto my 3 hour flight to Colorado, I uploaded a few of my TBR (to be read) books onto my Overdrive app. My plan was, read for a bit, then nap. I didn’t end up sleeping on that flight. Instead, I tore through Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig, and it was worth giving up the only precious rest time I would have that entire day.

The title, Last Seen Leaving, often follows statements about missing persons. The missing person in this case is Flynn’s ex-girlfriend January. The book opens with Flynn finding out that January has been missing for days, and the story just kicks up from there. As the last person to have seen January, and with their recent dating history, it’s no surprise Flynn is considered a person of interest.

And that’s without everyone knowing the worst details about that last conversation. Flynn and January broke up that night, after a pretty bad fight. They hadn’t spoken since.

Flynn is rattled by the news at first, but hopeful. January is clever, independent, and hot-headed—maybe she just took off. But once the investigation starts, it becomes clear January isn’t just missing, she’s gone. And someone might have made her that way.

Last Seen Leaving is a thriller that hits you like a gut punch, because it touches on an uncomfortable truth; sometimes you don’t really know the people you’re closest to. Flynn and January were best friends before they started dating. But when her mother remarried, January moved and transferred into a new school. Flynn realizes they drifted apart, and that somehow, during that time—brutally honest January got into the habit of telling lies.

Determined to find out the truth about why January changed and where she is now, Flynn crashes into January’s new world. He learns about her new stepfamily, her new school, even Kaz, the hot coworker January kept casually insinuating was into her.

Kaz turns out to be one of the more lighthearted twists, in that he’s actually more into Flynn. And Flynn is kind of into him too (Flynn and January’s growing awareness of Flynn’s sexuality is another reason they fought). Flynn ends up begrudgingly accepting Kaz’s help, and together they begin to uncover some of the devastating secrets behind January’s disappearance.

This story is ultimately about someone trying desperately to help their friend, in one of the worst situations possible, as well as owning up to the flaws and love in that relationship. Flynn’s feelings towards January, anger, grief, and affection—are all tangled together. And as his suspicion grows and sharpens, we can’t help but be on his on side and hope that the last words on January aren’t “last seen leaving.”

Last Seen Leaving