Leaving Time

I recently had my heart ripped out of my chest. Well, at least that is what it felt like when I got to the end of Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult. To top it all off I was at school and had to sit through class going through one of the biggest post-book crises of my life.

Alice Metcalf, an elephant researcher, disappeared after a death at the elephant sanctuary she ran and the only witness was her three year old daughter. Ten years later Jenna Metcalf sets out on a mission to find her mom, or at least find out what happened to her. Partnering up with a washed up psychic named Serenity and one of the policemen that originally worked the case, Virgil, Jenna begins to piece together the clues in search of the truth. What she finds is shocking beyond belief.

This book took me through an array of emotions. I thought it was really boring for a while. Honestly, the only thing that kept me reading was the fact that I have a signed copy. You can’t own a signed copy of a book you’ve never read. That’s weird. However, Leaving Time took me a really long to time to work my way through. Not a lot happens for the first 200 pages honestly. Little details of the night of the death are revealed and a whole lot of boring backstory is told.

Then it got really weird. Stuff finally starts happening in the weirdest way imaginable. I was left perplexed, but wanting to finish reading just figure out what the heck just happened.

And figure it out I did. Because next came the twist ending that Jodi Picoult is so wonderful at delivering. I gave up while ago trying to guess how Picoult’s books end because I am literally always wrong. And boy was I off with this one. I had many theories floating around my head as I read this book, but this one not only took me by surprise, but also ripped my heart out and left unsure of how to continue on with my life.

Jodi Picoult is a master of narrative. Even if I thought the beginning of this book was boring, it was so worth it for the shock of the ending. I would recommend Leaving Time to anyone who loves getting invested in the lives of characters, but also enjoys emotional roller coasters. Just know, you are in for a long haul when you start this book.

Happy reading,
Sam

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Gated

Hey Book Lovers,

If you read my review on The Beckoners you have a slight understanding of my love for stressful books. I love a book that is so fast paced and unpredictable that I am pacing and fidgety while I read it. Is that weird? Oh well, I am kind of a weird person. Anyways, I recently read Gated by Amy Christine Parker and this book was just that. At one point I was standing in my kitchen and bouncing up and down and gasping every few pages while I read. I am pretty sure my housemates think I am insane. That being said, Gated was a fantastic read.

Gated centers around 17 year old Lyla who has lived in The Community for the last 10 years of her life. The Community, a cult lead by a mysterious man name Pioneer, is preparing for the end of the world, which they are told by The Brethren will be in a mere three months. The Community is all busy preparing for the end of the world, meanwhile Lyla is beginning to have doubts. Her whole life she has been the gentle soul in The Community. She most definitely is not ready for the end of the world to come. And with the introduction to a cute Outsider she begins to rethink everything she has ever believed.

Let’s just start off by saying a book about a cult is basically automatically interesting. Pick up a book about a cult and you know things are going to get crazy. And Gated definitely lived up to that expectation.

Lyla was a very relatable, and quite frankly awesome main character. It was very easy to get into Lyla’s mind even though I have never been in a situation even remotely close to hers. First she is struggling through being the weak link of The Community. And then she meets a cute Outsider, Cody, and doesn’t really know how to handle a crush. Plus she’s basically engaged to someone else who she doesn’t actually love. (Once the youngest child in The Community turned 12 they had a ceremony in which Pioneer paired every child with their “Intended” a.k.a who they would marry once of age). So many teenage emotions! And growing up around the same 20 families with your future planned for you from the beginning doesn’t exactly teach you how to handle hormones. But seeing Lyla struggling through these emotions makes her seem normal even though her situation is kind of crazy.

And then there is Pioneer. The fearless leader of The Community. At first I didn’t hate Pioneer very much. What if he genuinely believed he was getting visions about the end of the world from some alien race? What if he wasn’t just a crazy, manipulative, control freak? However, it is made very clear that that is not the case. About half way through the book it becomes evident that Pioneer is a psycho, manipulative maniac! And then things get interesting.

This plot kept me wanting more the entire time. I had a hard time doing normal people things like working and sleeping and cleaning. I just wanted to read! Although ultimately, it is kind of easy to see how it is going to end I still found myself stressing about if everyone was going to be ok. Also, I could have done without the little love triangle, but it does not distract from the storyline. Cody ends up helping quite a bit so I am not too annoyed.
I give Gated by Amy Christine Parker 5 out of 5 stars and I would highly recommend it. If you’ve read it let me know what you thought! I would love to hear.

Happy Reading,
Sam