Title: The Leaving Season
Author: Cat Jordan
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Format Read: ARC
Rating: Three Stars
Description from Goodreads: Middie Daniels calls it the Leaving Season: the time of year when everyone graduates high school, packs up their brand-new suitcases, and leaves home for the first time.
This year, Middie's boyfriend Nate is the one leaving. Nate, who's so perfect that she can barely believe it. Nate, who makes her better than she is on her own. Nate, who's promised to come back once he's finished his gap year volunteering in Central America. And when he does, it'll be time for Middie to leave, too. With him.
But when a tragedy strikes, Middie's whole world is set spinning.. No one seems to understand just how lost she is... except for Nate's slacker best friend Lee. Middie and Lee have never gotten along. But with the ground ripped out from under her, Middie is finding that up is down-- and that Lee Ryan might be just what she needs to find her footing once more.
Cat Jordan's heartbreaking story proves that no matter the season, no matter the obstacles, love can help you find yourselves in the most unexpected places.
Receiving this ARC in the mail was such an amazing experience. The package came with the official HarperTeen stamp on it, and I was the over-the-moon-kind-of-giddy. I set it on the top of my review stack, and finished the two ARCs I'd been reading, and then set to work on this contemporary.
Let me start out by saying that this was an interesting read for me, due to the fact that the main character was like my polar opposite. Most of the decisions she made, I was trying to convince her to do the opposite, but she never seemed to listen to me.
Dating Nate, though... that decision I can definitely agree with. He's everything you want in a book boyfriend-- sweet, caring, steady, and solid. He knows what he wants and has a plan for the future, and that plan has always included Middie. Their relationship is so cutesy. It's the kind of sweet and honest relationship that makes everyone "Awwwwh" because they're just so dang adorable. The pieces of the story that Nate appeared in were hands-down my favorite.
Now, this tragedy. I was not planning on crying my eyes out on the car ride home from the mall, but that's what I ended up doing. I don't want to say what the tragedy was, because spoilers, but let me tell you, it HuRt. It was real, and achingly sad, and you will absolutely need a box of tissues with you when you read this. It's one of the more upsetting twists I've ever read in a contemporary novel, and it was perfect.
To help herself through it, Middie attaches herself to Lee Ryan. As you read in the GR description, he's Nate's best friend, and he's Nate's polar opposite. Where Nate is quiet and reserved and mature, Lee is boyish and immature and only wants to have fun. Middie is a lot like Nate in terms of personality, and the way she clashed with Lee was a lot of fun to experience. The differences between the two of them were drastic, but those drastic differences are what helped them to bond.
There are more than a couple plot twists in this book, and all but one of them caught me unawares. They made for such a more pleasing and unpredictable story, and I enjoyed reading it and getting shocked as things unfurled.
THE LEAVING SEASON was a three star read for me. The characters and the plot were special each in their own ways, and with such a unique storyline, I was impressed by the way things turned out. If you enjoy heart-wrenching contemporary romances set in high school life, this is just what you need, especially as 2016's Leaving Season creeps closer and closer.