Leave No Trace – Mindy Mejia

leave no trace
3 and a half stars

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Atria
Pages: 352
Release Date: September 4, 2018

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.

Leave No Trace is a story about secrets, family, and the wilderness. With the Boundary Waters as the backdrop, Leave No Trace is a picturesque thriller with an ominous feel.

I was excited to get the chance to read Leave No Trace since I loved Mejia’s previous novel, Everything You Want Me to Be. Unfortunately, I didn’t love her latest release as much as I wanted to. There isn’t something specific about the book that I could point to, to explain my three star rating. Instead, it’s my feelings about the connection between the main characters. Maya is a speech therapist tasked with working with the boy who disappeared years ago, but is no longer a boy. Maya takes a special interest in the case as she connects with it on a deep level because of her past. The connection between the two characters is never overly sexualized or romantic, but there was something about it that was unsettling to me.

Mejia did extensive research about the Boundary Waters and it shows through the descriptions of the setting and the atmosphere throughout the novel. I could easily picture the Boundary Waters and the wilderness that encompasses it.

Maya is the driving force of the novel. Her past is slowly revealed to the reader as the novel progresses, so her actions, thoughts, and feelings make sense as the story proceeds. Her story comes full circle by the end of the novel with a particularly satisfying few lines on the last page. Again, the troublesome connection between the main characters mars the plot.

Overall, Leave No Trace is a beautiful depiction of the Boundary Waters, but leaves much to be desired when it comes to the connection between the characters.

***I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Have you read Leave No Trace? What did you think? If not, are you planning on reading it?

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