Leave No Trace
From the author of the “compelling” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis) and critically acclaimed Everything You Want Me to Be, a riveting and suspenseful thriller about the mysterious disappearance of a boy and his stunning return ten years later.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 lifeBut 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 Details

TitleLeave No Trace
Author
ReleaseSep 4th, 2018
PublisherAtria/Emily Bestler Books
ISBN-139781501177361
Rating
GenreFiction, Mystery, Thriller, Mystery Thriller

Leave No Trace Review

  • Meredith
    January 1, 1970
    Unputdownable! Leave No Trace is a highly addictive psychological thriller that kept me glued to the pages! Lucas Blackthorn was last seen when he was nine years old--he and his father disappeared without a trace. 10 years later, he makes a dramatic reentry into society which results in him being committed to a mental health facility. Maya Stark, a 23-year old speech therapist, is assigned to work with Lucas. After Lucas tries to escape and almost kills Maya in the process, the two form a stro Unputdownable! Leave No Trace is a highly addictive psychological thriller that kept me glued to the pages! Lucas Blackthorn was last seen when he was nine years old--he and his father disappeared without a trace. 10 years later, he makes a dramatic reentry into society which results in him being committed to a mental health facility. Maya Stark, a 23-year old speech therapist, is assigned to work with Lucas. After Lucas tries to escape and almost kills Maya in the process, the two form a strong connection; one that crosses the boundaries between therapist and patient. A lot of questions emerge about Maya and Lucas’ pasts:Why was Lucas living in the wild? Where is his father? What is Maya hiding?The more I read, the more I wanted to know about these characters!Leave No Trace is fast-paced, jam-packed with twists and turns, and compulsively readable! It was nice to read something with an original plot, and I found it even more appealing when thinking about all of the formulaic, over-the-top thrillers I have been reading lately.I also really liked Lucas and Maya’s characters. Maya’s voice sucked me in. She has character, wit, and balls. I couldn’t predict how events were going to play out, but I was rooting for Maya and Lucas! This is not a romance, but the chemistry between Lucas and Maya burns off the pages. While I really enjoyed reading this, I did have some issues with the plot. Maya and Lucas's relationship is beyond appropriate, as a lot of moral and ethical lines are crossed. Lucas has a tendency to be violent and this story line made me nervous. I also thought this element could have been explored more deeply. The plot spins out of control and gets a little messy, to the point where had to suspend my disbelief at times. But the premise is refreshing and the characters are alluring, which made it worth reading! I read Everything You Want Me To Be, which I enjoyed, but Leave No Trace has turned me into a true fan of Mindy Mejia. I look forward to her next book! I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Atria/Emily Bestler Books in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Chelsea Humphrey
    January 1, 1970
    "Belief is a powerful thing. It grabs you, unmakes you, changes the tilt and angle of everything around you into an entirely different geometry. You see the world in a new shape and no matter how horrible the belief, no matter what awful things it makes you do, a part of you is still grateful for the structure."I'm 2 for 2 out of the Mindy Mejia books I've read so far, and I love it. Her novels are lightning quick and tend to hover just above the line between thought provoking and taboo. She's u "Belief is a powerful thing. It grabs you, unmakes you, changes the tilt and angle of everything around you into an entirely different geometry. You see the world in a new shape and no matter how horrible the belief, no matter what awful things it makes you do, a part of you is still grateful for the structure."I'm 2 for 2 out of the Mindy Mejia books I've read so far, and I love it. Her novels are lightning quick and tend to hover just above the line between thought provoking and taboo. She's unafraid to cross lines that make readers uncomfortable, and yet she does it with impeccable care and the sensitivity needed to keep readers from becoming turned off. It's the old scenario where the characters personal lives are an utter train wreck that we can't help rubbernecking alongside for 300+ pages. The cover does a superb job of setting the tone and vibe of Leave No Trace, and as you pick it up to begin you can't help but be transported to rural Minnesota in preparation of the wicked journey to come. Seasoned psych thriller/domestic drama readers may be able to solve some of the pieces to this puzzle ahead of their reveals, but I found that to only be one portion of what panned out to be an engaging read. I'm not entirely sure whether to put this into the category of plot or character driven; there is a copious amount of character development, as these portions are the foundation building up to the climax of the story, but there were also some tense, action packed scenes as well, a la Mission Impossible style. Dun dun dun nah, dun dun dun na, wheeep a whoooooo wheep a whooooo, wheep a wooooo, BAM! While you will have to suspend your need for a realistic plot with this one, it was so much fun that I couldn't make myself care about silly facts and all that. I will say that I'm wholly impressed with the amount of research that went into the very real stories (and inspiration for the Blackthorns story) of the Lykovs and the Ho Vans. Mejia did such a fantastic job with these that it has lit a fire in me to search out more information on these brave and solitary families. 100 points to Mejia's Hogwart's house for including intriguing history in her fiction! If you enjoyed Mindy's previous novel Everything You Want Me To Be, then I highly recommend you check out Leave No Trace as well. If you're new to her books, this one is a great place to start, and you can just work your way backwards because trust me, you'll want to read everything she writes. You may now return to your regularly scheduled afternoon while I sit over here in a corner waiting for MM next novel. <3*I received a copy for review via the publisher.
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  • Debra
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsThe Boundary Waters is a wilderness area in Minnesota with hundreds of miles of glacial lakes. Ten years ago, Lucas Blackthorn and his father walked away from society and into the Boundary Waters and were never seen again. That is until Lucas was found while breaking into an outfitters store. Lucas appears to be non-communicative and is placed in a psychiatric hospital for treatment and observation.Maya Stark is a language therapist who works in the psychiatric facility where Lucas is p 3.5 starsThe Boundary Waters is a wilderness area in Minnesota with hundreds of miles of glacial lakes. Ten years ago, Lucas Blackthorn and his father walked away from society and into the Boundary Waters and were never seen again. That is until Lucas was found while breaking into an outfitters store. Lucas appears to be non-communicative and is placed in a psychiatric hospital for treatment and observation.Maya Stark is a language therapist who works in the psychiatric facility where Lucas is placed. She has a troubled past - her Mother abandoned her, and as a teen she spent some time in a psychiatric facility herself. She is asked to evaluate Lucas and although he initially refuses to talk about his father or the ten years they were missing, he does form a bond with Maya.This book proved to be a fast read for me. There are so many questions at the beginning of this book - why did Maya's mother leave? Why was Maya hospitalized? Where were Lucas and his father for the last ten years? Where is his father now? Why is Lucas not talking? etc. There are some twists and turns along the way, with a few revelations to keep things interesting and the characters and readers wondering what is going to happen (or be revealed) next.As Maya connects to Lucas, she tries to find the answers to the above questions but finds that sometimes knowing all the answers comes with a price. I will admit, I am still not sure how I feel about the ending of this book. I did take some issue with the transference in this book. Anyone who has ever worked in the Mental Health field can tell you about the dangers of transference. True, she was not a Mental Health worker, but she did work in a psychiatric facility and the rules do apply. I also saw a lot of red flags regarding moral, ethical and legal issues concerning her behavior. But I was happy to see some of those addressed in the end of this book.So, the ending, everyone gets answers but there is the one thing that did not sit right with me. I would be giving away spoilers if I say why, I am interested if anyone feels the same way. I will say I enjoyed this book right up until the end, then it went a little downhill for me.Thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.Read more of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com
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  • Larry H
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars here.Ten years ago Josiah Blackthorn took his nine-year-old son Lucas camping in the Boundary Waters, an area of northern Minnesota full of forests and ice-cold lakes. One day it appeared their campsite was ravaged by bears or other creatures, and the two were never heard from again. Once media interest died down, the Blackthorns were all but forgotten.Until a night 10 years later, when now-19-year-old Lucas Blackthorn was apprehended trying to rob an outfitter store. He became aggress 4.5 stars here.Ten years ago Josiah Blackthorn took his nine-year-old son Lucas camping in the Boundary Waters, an area of northern Minnesota full of forests and ice-cold lakes. One day it appeared their campsite was ravaged by bears or other creatures, and the two were never heard from again. Once media interest died down, the Blackthorns were all but forgotten.Until a night 10 years later, when now-19-year-old Lucas Blackthorn was apprehended trying to rob an outfitter store. He became aggressive and violent, and was uncommunicative, so he was sent to the local psychiatric hospital for observation. Both the doctors and law enforcement want to know what happened to Lucas' father, but he refuses to talk—to everyone except Maya Stark, the new, young assistant speech therapist, who seems to engender reactions from the once-lost no-longer-a-boy.While at first her interactions with Lucas are mainly keeping him from hurting her and others, Maya begins to build what she belies is a genuine connection with him. She can't explain why he feels like he can trust only her, and she can't quite determine where she crossed the line from acting in a professional capacity to wanting him to be able to find his father, without having to go through law enforcement. She knows he doesn't need speech therapy; what he needs is a protector, an ally, and despite warnings from her supervisor and her father, she's determined to be that ally.The thing is, Maya has issues of her own. Her mother abandoned their family when she was a teenager, and she's spent a number of years blaming herself, as if she wasn't enough or right for her mother. And that's not the only secret Maya is hiding."What lies beneath us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."Will Maya do the right thing, if she can figure out what that is? Will her single-minded determination to help Lucas put her in danger? Will helping him get her the answers she has been seeking to her own questions, or will her decisions end in disaster?In Leave No Trace , Mindy Mejia has given us a taut, compelling exploration of the pull of family and the need to be understood. I devoured this book, and while there were certain twists I expected, she threw in some surprises here and there. I found these characters fascinating and even a little unique, and while certainly I questioned Maya's judgment, I could see how past events in her life could lead her to make the choices she did.Sure, not everything in this book is realistic. But you could see why the characters were compelled to do what they did, and how certain events unfolded. The coincidences and other things didn't bother me. I was hooked from start to finish.I really enjoyed Mejia's last book, Everything You Want Me to Be (see my review), and with Leave No Trace she proves she's capable of something completely different. She's definitely an author I'll continue to watch with great anticipation, because no matter the genre, she's immensely talented!NetGalley and Atria Books provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com, or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2018/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2017.html.
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  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    This is a wonderfully atmospheric psychological mystery from Mindy Melia that grips from beginning to end. It is set in Duluth, Minnesota and the vast wild wilderness of the forests and lakes of Boundary Waters, locations which are evoked beautifully with Melia's rich descriptions. Josiah Blackthorn took his 9 year old son, Lucas, and disappeared into Boundary Waters. Ten years later, a 19 year old Lucas emerges to a storm of media attention when he is caught breaking and entering an outfitters. This is a wonderfully atmospheric psychological mystery from Mindy Melia that grips from beginning to end. It is set in Duluth, Minnesota and the vast wild wilderness of the forests and lakes of Boundary Waters, locations which are evoked beautifully with Melia's rich descriptions. Josiah Blackthorn took his 9 year old son, Lucas, and disappeared into Boundary Waters. Ten years later, a 19 year old Lucas emerges to a storm of media attention when he is caught breaking and entering an outfitters. His violence and refusal to communicate has him incarcerated at the Congdon Psychiatric Facility. 23 year old Maya Stark is the newly promoted assistant speech therapist working under Dr Mehta. Maya is a damaged and lonely woman who has never got over her geologist mother leaving her as a child, she is still struggling to make any meaningful connections with another human being, and she herself was once a patient in Congdon. Dr Mehta believes that Maya is the person who can get past Lucas's unco-operative behaviour and muteness, and get him to integrate with others.From difficult beginnings, a strong and intense connection begins to form between Lucas and Maya, born of their recognition of each other as kindred souls at the most elemental of levels. Maya researches other examples of people who share a similarity with Lucas's isolated wilderness experiences, such as the Russian Lykov family in Siberia and Ho Vans in Vietnam to help her to understand Lucas better. The police are keen to interview Lucas to find his father but Lucas refuses. He confides only to Maya about his terrors and fears for his sick father in Boundary Waters that led him to leave their remote and isolated home in search of medicine. Lucas's position resonates with Maya, inspiring a strong willed determination to help Lucas, irrespective of ethical and professional issues, with a disregard for keeping her job and all the consequences that might flow from her actions.Mejia writes a twisted story of broken families, mental health, emotional damage, love, loss, and the unexpected connections between Lucas and Maya. She does an amazing job in characters and their development, the slow reveals of Lucas and Maya's history, really getting under the skins of them as individuals and giving us psychological portraits of people we cannot fail to be interested in. There are occasions when a little bit of suspension of disbelief is required, but this is, after all, fiction and they never once got in the way of me enjoying this enthralling character and location driven novel. A fantastic read that I recommend highly to others! Many thanks to Quercus for an ARC.
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  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    I loved Ms. Mejia’s last book, Everything You Want Me To Be, so I jumped at the opportunity to land an advanced copy of Leave No Trace. For the most part, I really enjoyed this one as well.For me, the start was a little slow. To be fair, I had just read two outstanding books by gifted writers, so anything in follow up was going to suffer a bit. But once I got hooked on the story, I was totally on board. Props to Ms. Mejia for the premise, which is nicely outlined in the blurb. This is different, I loved Ms. Mejia’s last book, Everything You Want Me To Be, so I jumped at the opportunity to land an advanced copy of Leave No Trace. For the most part, I really enjoyed this one as well.For me, the start was a little slow. To be fair, I had just read two outstanding books by gifted writers, so anything in follow up was going to suffer a bit. But once I got hooked on the story, I was totally on board. Props to Ms. Mejia for the premise, which is nicely outlined in the blurb. This is different, and different is something I am grateful for when I find it. I loved, loved, loved the setting. The story takes place in Duluth, Minnesota, where I lived for several years back in the 1970s. There are also scenes from “up north” (as the locals would say), including the Boundary Waters, which is an area near and dear to most Minnesotans. Reading a tale in a familiar setting always raises the level of a book for me. However, I do wish that there had been more of the Minnesotan atmosphere—the fog, the sound of the foghorns at night, the majestry of the big lake, the whole sensuality of the beautiful and wondrous northern terrain.Ms. Mejia does a terrific job developing our protagonist, speech therapist Maya Stark. Maya, a very likeable character, is carrying some mega baggage and we are with her on her journey to some modicum of peace. Some will say the story demonstrates a fair bit of unbelievability. I recognized this as well, but elected to just go with it, allowing myself to enjoy the tale.The last 35% of the narrative is full of suspense and intrigue, and is the best part of the book. I did not figure out the ending (always a plus), which was well done. In summary, this novel has a lot going for it, but for the reasons stated above, I withheld one star. I continue to be a big fan of Ms. Mejia’s and look forward to her next offering.Thank you to Atria/Emily Bestler Books, Net Galley, and Mindy Mejia for an ARC of this novel. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.
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  • Norma * Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Stars!My initial impression when I first started reading LEAVE NO TRACE by MINDY MEJIA was that it was an extremely compelling tale and I was totally intrigued in discovering all the multiple layered mysteries that this book had to offer. I found the storyline to be quite interesting and unique but I struggled a little bit with some of the main characters, Maya’s choices that she made and her motivations. Which later did hinder with my feelings and initial impression of this book. I thought 3.5 Stars!My initial impression when I first started reading LEAVE NO TRACE by MINDY MEJIA was that it was an extremely compelling tale and I was totally intrigued in discovering all the multiple layered mysteries that this book had to offer. I found the storyline to be quite interesting and unique but I struggled a little bit with some of the main characters, Maya’s choices that she made and her motivations. Which later did hinder with my feelings and initial impression of this book. I thought this book was very good and definitely had some interesting aspects to it which had me flying through those pages but it didn’t really have me totally engaged while I was reading it though. I was interested in finding out all the details of the mysteries and appreciated all the twists and turns this book had to offer, although I wouldn’t necessarily say that anything really surprised me though. I will say though that there was one reveal that totally took me by surprise! MINDY MEJIA delivers a suspenseful, well-written and atmospheric read here with a great setting and captivating characters. I was totally captivated by Lucas’s character and a few of the other secondary characters as well as the wilderness setting of the Boundary Waters. Even though I had some reservations with some of the choices that Maya made, I couldn’t really fault her for some of those decisions without actually experiencing or being in the same situation as her, so the unbelievable or unrealistic aspect to the story didn’t and usually doesn’t bother me. I really like Mindy Mejia’s writing style and I really think she is a talented author. The haunting cover I found to be quite appealing and a good representation to this enjoyable read! Would recommend! Publishing Date: September 4, 2018 Thank you so much to NetGalley, Atria/Emily Bestler Books and Mindy Mejia for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the book in exchange for a review!Review is written and posted on our themed book blog Two Sisters Lost In A Coulee Reading: https://twosisterslostinacoulee.comCOULEE is a term applied rather loosely to different landforms, all of which refer to a kind of valley.
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  • Jasmine from How Useful It Is
    January 1, 1970
    My Experience: I started reading Leave No Trace on 6/16/18 and finished it on 6/25/18. This book is wow! and nature with camping for an extended period of time is an interesting topic! I like the concept of being left behind, either through unplanned death, shunned, or abandonment. I like following the characters and seeing how they are affected when those events happened to them. I personally don’t like how Josiah exit, it’s just not an ideal last image for Lucas of his dad. I like Maya’s dad’s My Experience: I started reading Leave No Trace on 6/16/18 and finished it on 6/25/18. This book is wow! and nature with camping for an extended period of time is an interesting topic! I like the concept of being left behind, either through unplanned death, shunned, or abandonment. I like following the characters and seeing how they are affected when those events happened to them. I personally don’t like how Josiah exit, it’s just not an ideal last image for Lucas of his dad. I like Maya’s dad’s adventures, though not a good career to have a family for being away most of the time. I like how Maya throw jabs at Bryce. I like learning about agate. This book is told in the first person point of view following Maya Stark, a 23 years old Speech Therapist at Congdon Psychiatric Facility. Maya is unlike the norm of therapists, she has dyed short pixie-cut hair and tiny silver hoops earrings along her ear. Lucas Blackthorn is famous for his disappearance. He and his dad went camping 10 years ago and never came home. Now the media is saying Lucas is “the boy who came back from the dead”. Lucas coming back aggressive, unresponsive, and alone. He is now admitted to a psychiatric prison for examination and Maya is assigned to him. Another view is Josiah Blackthorn, Lucas’ dad, told in the third person point of view. Josiah is a drifter who doesn’t like to stay inside a house with four walls. He goes camping for weeks at a time. Maya has a mystery past and somehow Lucas only responds to her where he is silent to everyone else.A well written story, Leave No Trace is a unique read. I love the topic of geology and the wilderness. I love the unlikely character of Maya being a therapist with her history at the facility. Maya indicates that when she goes out for a walk, the image of her would make others pull away from her and yet, here she’s a therapist, someone to help put others back on track. I love the reference to the Lykov family. I rarely look up facts in fiction but the Lykov family and Ho Van Thanh father-son duo truly spark my curiosity. I google them up and read all about them. I devour this book! I love reading about what Maya does and how she handles her job. I love following Josiah’s point of view and his love for his son. I like how outgoing Maya, Josiah, and Lucas are. They don’t lounge around at home but instead out hiking or camping. I like reading about the cost of getting something for free. This book is an excellent read and I highly recommend everyone to read it!Pro: fast paced, page turner, easy to read, suspense, mystery, nature, diversity, father-son relationshipCon: noneI rate it 5 stars!***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Atria/Emily Bestler Books for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.xoxo, Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more details
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  • Sandy
    January 1, 1970
    After reading Everything You Want Me to Be last year, I knew this was an author I would follow. In this outing she gives us a very different book but with equally compelling characters.The blurb gives a great snapshot of the story so I won’t get into the plot too much. The MC’s are 2 damaged people who have more in common than you initially think. Maya Stark is a speech therapist at Congdon Psychiatric Facility. Her youth, innovative style & maroon hair set her apart. She lives with her dad After reading Everything You Want Me to Be last year, I knew this was an author I would follow. In this outing she gives us a very different book but with equally compelling characters.The blurb gives a great snapshot of the story so I won’t get into the plot too much. The MC’s are 2 damaged people who have more in common than you initially think. Maya Stark is a speech therapist at Congdon Psychiatric Facility. Her youth, innovative style & maroon hair set her apart. She lives with her dad Brian who really wishes she worked somewhere else. Especially after her…em…spot of trouble a few years back. Lucas Blackthorne is Congdon’s infamous new resident. After vanishing with his father 10 years ago, his sudden reappearance has caused quite a stir. The media & groupies are camped out at the gates waiting to hear his story but Lucas isn’t talking. Then he meets Maya. And one struggling outsider recognizes another. Don’t go into this expecting a thrill-a-minute ride. There are moments of action but that’s not what this is about. Like the previous book, it’s about the characters & the effect of the ripples they cause as they pass through each other’s lives. On one hand, it’s a compelling mystery as we slowly learn the MC’s histories. On the other, it touches on deeper themes such as family, loss, memories & the grey area around right vs. wrong. Strong secondary characters flesh out the story as we follow Maya & Lucas on their deeply personal search to understand the past. The last quarter has some reveals that may make you rethink what you thought you knew. And while a couple of them may stretch disbelief a teensy bit, it’s all part of the journey in this strong, well written tale.
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  • Dorie
    January 1, 1970
    “Leave No Trace” was quite different from “Everything You Want Me To Be” but it shared one shining quality, strong, well developed, deeply troubled characters that I desperately wanted to help. Here are some of the key points of the story.Maya Stark is a young woman who has been through a lot in her relatively young life. Abandoned by her mother at the age of 10 without a goodbye or an explanation, Maya has been searching for an explanation for years. She has a great relationship with her father “Leave No Trace” was quite different from “Everything You Want Me To Be” but it shared one shining quality, strong, well developed, deeply troubled characters that I desperately wanted to help. Here are some of the key points of the story.Maya Stark is a young woman who has been through a lot in her relatively young life. Abandoned by her mother at the age of 10 without a goodbye or an explanation, Maya has been searching for an explanation for years. She has a great relationship with her father who is gone quite a bit for his job, they share a house and seem to give each other the support and yet the space that they both need.Lucas Blackthorn is a young man who was believed to have been killed during a camping expedition with his father in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota. There has been no word from father or son for ten years. Then one night a young man believed to be Lucas enters an outfitter’s store where he commits a crime for which he is apprehended. Getting no response from Lucas upon interviewing him they feel he is emotionally unstable and he is admitted to a psychiatric facility. It is here where the paths of Maya and Lucas come together. Maya had turned her life around after battling mental illness herself and is now a trained speech therapist. Her mentor and boss, Dr.Mehta, assigns Maya to Lucas’s case. She feels that since Maya had also suffered a loss perhaps she could get through to Lucas, get information about where he has been for the past ten years. The police are also interested in whether his father is still alive and where he is hiding, they have been searching the vast area of the Boundary Waters for years with never a trace found.Once Maya and Lucas do form a bond she is determined to help him recover and be allowed the freedom that he so desires. They share each others stories and secrets and become very attached. Lucas tries to escape several times but he is always apprehended.That’s about all of the plot that I will share but there is a very good story here with plenty of twists that you won’t see coming and an ending that will surprise you.The author’s strength is definitely in her fully developed characters which make you want to keep turning pages and to care deeply how the story wraps up for Lucas and Maya.I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss, thank you
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  • Mary Kubica
    January 1, 1970
    At its core, Leave No Trace is slow burn mystery about the reappearance of a young man who disappeared many years before with his father. Where have they been all this time, and why did they disappear in the first place? Where is his father now? But the book is so much more than that too. It's a tender, beautiful love story, a novel about loss, family, friendship and overcoming feelings of abandonment. The finale was one I never saw coming, and yet I can't think of a more perfect and a more fitt At its core, Leave No Trace is slow burn mystery about the reappearance of a young man who disappeared many years before with his father. Where have they been all this time, and why did they disappear in the first place? Where is his father now? But the book is so much more than that too. It's a tender, beautiful love story, a novel about loss, family, friendship and overcoming feelings of abandonment. The finale was one I never saw coming, and yet I can't think of a more perfect and a more fitting way for the novel to end. It came as a shock to me and broke my heart, but Mejia's ending also provided a very fulfilling resolution for the story and for these characters. Mejia's knowledge of the Boundary Waters area (among other things) is extensive and impressive. This book is so well researched and written. I highly recommend!
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    I was a huge fan of Mejia’s debut and have been impatiently waiting for her next book since late 2016, but man was the wait worth it! This was totally different from Everything You Want Me to Be, I love when authors switch things up and avoid getting caught in a formulaic cycle and Mejia surely does that here. It’s every bit as compelling as EYWMTB but in a totally different way that excited me.This is mainly told from Maya’s point of view and she’s not your average mystery protagonist. She’s a I was a huge fan of Mejia’s debut and have been impatiently waiting for her next book since late 2016, but man was the wait worth it! This was totally different from Everything You Want Me to Be, I love when authors switch things up and avoid getting caught in a formulaic cycle and Mejia surely does that here. It’s every bit as compelling as EYWMTB but in a totally different way that excited me.This is mainly told from Maya’s point of view and she’s not your average mystery protagonist. She’s a speech pathologist who works at a psychiatric facility and I so enjoyed her unique viewpoint. One can only read so many thrillers with a detective as the lead and Maya was a breathe of fresh air. There are a few very imperative chapters from Josiah, the man who disappeared ten years ago that add an additional layer to an already multilayered story.The atmosphere played such a huge role in this one and that’s the biggest difference (to me) from Mejia’s last book. The Boundary Waters were a character all of it’s own thanks to her incredibly vivid writing style, she brought this hauntingly beautiful and terrifying place to life effortlessly to the point where I felt like I was there alongside her characters. Besides a fantastic setting the characters themselves were complicated people with fascinating backstories, the type you find yourself rooting for even when you’re not entirely really sure if you should be. They’re flawed, intense and wonderfully interesting making for a captivating read.Once again, Mejia had quite a few tricks up her sleeve and she definitely sucker punched me at least one time. I raced through this one as there were way more questions than answers and when all my questions were answered in the end, I was satisfied and extremely impressed by her talent and ability to construct a story. Hugely recommended by me, especially for fans of Force of Nature I had very similar feelings while reading this one and predict fans would enjoy this one as well.Leave No Trace in three words: Atmospheric, Intense and Multifaceted.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    I fell in love with Mindy Mejia's debut novel Everything You Want Me To Be so when I heard she had a 2nd novel coming out I was thrilled. When I won an early ARC through BookishFirst I couldn't believe my luck. Yay me! So what's it about? Maya Stark, a language specialist, is assigned to a strange case. It appears that Lucas Blackthorne has reappeared after going missing 10 years ago with his father in the forests of Boundary Waters. They had been declared dead but the sight of Lucas here in the I fell in love with Mindy Mejia's debut novel Everything You Want Me To Be so when I heard she had a 2nd novel coming out I was thrilled. When I won an early ARC through BookishFirst I couldn't believe my luck. Yay me! So what's it about? Maya Stark, a language specialist, is assigned to a strange case. It appears that Lucas Blackthorne has reappeared after going missing 10 years ago with his father in the forests of Boundary Waters. They had been declared dead but the sight of Lucas here in the Congdon Mental Health Facility proves he is very much alive. He is violent and will not communicate to anyone.....except Maya. Maya who suffers from her own troubled past doesn't understand why Lucas chose her. It appears he thinks he knows her. How could that be? Where has he been all this time? Is his father still alive roaming Boundary Waters? As the bond between the two strengthen it becomes clear that Maya will stop at nothing to help Lucas find the closure he's looking for. I don't want to say much more about the plot in fear of spoiling anything for anyone else. It had such a thrilling opening and I couldn't wait to be sitting on the edge of my seat with bated breath but that didn't happen. The remainder of the book, I thought, was a slow burn. Not that there's anything wrong with that it's just that my expectations were expecting something dark and twisty. My bad! I did find the ending satisfying. Mindy Mejia's writing is top notch and I appreciate that she veered into a different direction from her debut. If she keeps writing I'll keep reading! 3.5 stars!
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  • Kathi Defranc
    January 1, 1970
    This is a very enjoyable read, a different type of story looking at the relationships in families. What a mother is really,not the child's adoring idea of her Mom but the naked truth, Mom without the rose-colored glasses. We meet a speech therapist , Maya Stark, who works in a house for those with mental challenges. There are floors for people there independently, and a locked ward where the state sends criminals who need therapy with psychiatrists. We learn about Maya,what has happened in her This is a very enjoyable read, a different type of story looking at the relationships in families. What a mother is really,not the child's adoring idea of her Mom but the naked truth, Mom without the rose-colored glasses. We meet a speech therapist , Maya Stark, who works in a house for those with mental challenges. There are floors for people there independently, and a locked ward where the state sends criminals who need therapy with psychiatrists. We learn about Maya,what has happened in her life and her views of her mother. A new patient in the locked unit is Lucas, who only knows his father,being brought up by him in the northern part of Minnesota. The ongoing relationships between all the characters teach you that even though we all are different, each person has a reason to live and something special to give. The story is suspenseful and interesting, it keeps you reading to find out what happens! I received an ARC from Netgalley and the author,Mindy Meja, who I thank for an interesting adventure that makes you look at everybody a little differently.
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  • Dennis
    January 1, 1970
    Leave No Trace was just a fast and fabulously told joyride from start to finish. I know many of you love Mindy Mejia's books, but I've never had the opportunity to actually pick up one of her novels before this one, and I'm so happy that I did this time. In rural Minnesota, Maya Stark is working as a language therapist at a psychiatric facility, when the facility receives their most famous patient yet, Lucas Blackthorn. Lucas Blackthorn and his father disappeared in the nearby Boundary Waters Leave No Trace was just a fast and fabulously told joyride from start to finish. I know many of you love Mindy Mejia's books, but I've never had the opportunity to actually pick up one of her novels before this one, and I'm so happy that I did this time. In rural Minnesota, Maya Stark is working as a language therapist at a psychiatric facility, when the facility receives their most famous patient yet, Lucas Blackthorn. Lucas Blackthorn and his father disappeared in the nearby Boundary Waters forest ten years ago, leaving no trace of them to be found—until now. Lucas ends up being apprehended in a store robbery attempt, but his interpersonal social skills are off to say the least. Growing up in Boundary Waters, Lucas is now 19 years old, but doesn't have the maturity of an adult. Authorities send Lucas for review at Maya's psychiatric facility, where the patient ends up bonding with her. The doctor who administrates the facility reassigns Maya to Lucas after noticing their connection. Lacking the experience, Maya is hesitant, but she loves her career and helping people, so she will work her best at this new position. Maya tries connecting with Lucas, who lacks the social skills of conversation and personal demeanor, but is willing to try and discover the mystery behind his disappearance. Lucas's father is nowhere to be found, but authorities are determined to uncover this mystery. Will Maya be able to assist in finding the truth behind this mystery or will her own demons battle against her? Leave No Trace is so fast paced, folks! I just started it yesterday and completely devoured it! I would recommend not reading into the synopsis any further than what I've provided, because it's definitely one of those light thrillers that you need to see develop before your very eyes. Mindy Mejia, you are an amazing writer and Leave No Trace is a shining example of that. If you're looking into a thriller that encompasses family drama, the wilderness's mysterious unknown, and a deep dive into the mental culpability of everyday people in society; I urge you to pick up Leave No Trace . It was one of the most surprise fun reads I've had this summer, and definitely one of the most gripping. Thank you Atria Books for my advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. Leave No Trace will be released September 4, 2018!
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  • Jamie Rosenblit
    January 1, 1970
    Intriguing suspense story with a bit of a wilderness aspect which creates a unique setting. Mindy Mejia became a must-read author for me after Everything You Want Me to Be and I had been eagerly awaiting her next novel, which did not disappoint! I love how Mejia writes her flawed characters in such realistic and endearing ways that you feel for them, despite all the reasons in the world not to, and Maya is surely an example of this.Thank you Atria/Emily Bestler Books for an advance copy. All opi Intriguing suspense story with a bit of a wilderness aspect which creates a unique setting. Mindy Mejia became a must-read author for me after Everything You Want Me to Be and I had been eagerly awaiting her next novel, which did not disappoint! I love how Mejia writes her flawed characters in such realistic and endearing ways that you feel for them, despite all the reasons in the world not to, and Maya is surely an example of this.Thank you Atria/Emily Bestler Books for an advance copy. All opinions are my own.
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  • Kristie
    January 1, 1970
    So, I read 47% of this book and I'm just not engaging with it. I'm not sure what the issue is. Honestly, I don't think it's a bad book, but I thought I'd enjoy it a lot more. We're just not clicking. I have to admit that I'm leaving off at chapter 15. There has just been a big reveal and I should be super engaged. I think most people would be really excited to read the next chapter, but... I just don't have enough interest to keep picking it up and all my other reads are falling behind, so I hav So, I read 47% of this book and I'm just not engaging with it. I'm not sure what the issue is. Honestly, I don't think it's a bad book, but I thought I'd enjoy it a lot more. We're just not clicking. I have to admit that I'm leaving off at chapter 15. There has just been a big reveal and I should be super engaged. I think most people would be really excited to read the next chapter, but... I just don't have enough interest to keep picking it up and all my other reads are falling behind, so I have to say good bye to this one for now. I may try to pick it up again at a later date to see what happened. I'm still going to give it three stars. I'm assuming the second half of the book is a lot better. It has great reviews so far and, like I said earlier, it looked like it was just about to get interesting, so 3 stars it is. Honestly, I didn't dislike it. I just didn't really like it either. It was just ok. Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for providing me with a free electronic copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    Having been a huge fan of “The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman“ I was intrigued to find out how Mindy Mejia would follow that up.Leave No Trace is a gorgeous, emotionally resonant read, once again peppered with beautifully drawn characters who creep up on you. Descriptively this is brilliantly done bringing the wild and edgy setting to vivid life.Into this comes Maya, once a psychiatric patient herself, now a person who helps others. But she and the untamed Lucas are drawn together by more than just Having been a huge fan of “The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman“ I was intrigued to find out how Mindy Mejia would follow that up.Leave No Trace is a gorgeous, emotionally resonant read, once again peppered with beautifully drawn characters who creep up on you. Descriptively this is brilliantly done bringing the wild and edgy setting to vivid life.Into this comes Maya, once a psychiatric patient herself, now a person who helps others. But she and the untamed Lucas are drawn together by more than just a patient/therapist relationship and it will change them both in unexpected ways..This is a road journey of sorts, both literally and figuratively as Maya deals with her past and her growing connection to Lucas. It is thought provoking and highly addictive- not some little part of me felt like disappearing into the wilderness myself, such was the power of it in places.This was a clever, memorable novel and one that will stay with me in both character and setting and has put Mindy Mejia firmly on my list of must read authors.Recommended.
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    I have mixed feelings on Leave No Trace, but I did enjoy it overall, so I'm going with 4 stars instead of 3. This was my first Mindy Mejia book, and it was definitely an intriguing story. The part that held my interest is what is discussed in the synopsis on the back of the book. However, this book heads in a different direction than what I expected, and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it. This story is heavier than some thrillers I've read recently - it deals with topics like grief, ment I have mixed feelings on Leave No Trace, but I did enjoy it overall, so I'm going with 4 stars instead of 3. This was my first Mindy Mejia book, and it was definitely an intriguing story. The part that held my interest is what is discussed in the synopsis on the back of the book. However, this book heads in a different direction than what I expected, and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it. This story is heavier than some thrillers I've read recently - it deals with topics like grief, mental health, and some other stuff I can't mention without spoiling anything. It's a fairly layered book, so don't go into it expecting a lighthearted thriller. Atmosphere plays a big role in this book, and it's set in the freezing Minnesota woods. This book was a page-turner for me throughout most of the book. It really only started dragging within the last 100 pages. It was refreshing not to read a procedural, and I liked Maya for most not the book (again, my feelings changed within the last 100 pages). There's an element to this that I really didn't care for, but I can't say much else about it without ruining anything. Leave No Trace is a unique story, and though I wish it would have been a little story, it was a good read overall. I'll be reading more from Mindy Mejia!
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  • Stacee
    January 1, 1970
    I was borderline obsessed with Mindy’s other book, so when I saw this one, I basically jumped on it without reading the synopsis. I loved Maya. She’s smart and resourceful and she’s got a lot of things going on. I loved the relationship she had with her dad and the dog might have been the best part. There are other characters, but I’m not going to say anything about them. Plot wise, the pages were laced with tension pretty much from the start. There were a few things I didn’t see coming and I au I was borderline obsessed with Mindy’s other book, so when I saw this one, I basically jumped on it without reading the synopsis. I loved Maya. She’s smart and resourceful and she’s got a lot of things going on. I loved the relationship she had with her dad and the dog might have been the best part. There are other characters, but I’m not going to say anything about them. Plot wise, the pages were laced with tension pretty much from the start. There were a few things I didn’t see coming and I audibly gasped while reading. I enjoyed the layers being revealed and the deliciously slow build up. Overall, it was a phenomenal read and I can’t wait to see what Mindy does next. **Huge thanks to Atria Books for providing the arc free of charge**
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  • Edward Lorn
    January 1, 1970
    I can't with this writing. DNF.
  • Tami
    January 1, 1970
    Mindy Mejia’s newest book leaves the school grounds in favor of the Boundary waters of Minnesota, which is a fairly drastic change from her previous book, Everything you Want Me to Be.In Leave No Trace, readers meet Maya Stark, a speech and language therapist at a mental hospital where she was once a patient. Maya has a shocking past. She was abandoned by her mother and is unable to form meaningful friendships. But why was she a patient in a mental hospital? This is just one of the mysteries of Mindy Mejia’s newest book leaves the school grounds in favor of the Boundary waters of Minnesota, which is a fairly drastic change from her previous book, Everything you Want Me to Be.In Leave No Trace, readers meet Maya Stark, a speech and language therapist at a mental hospital where she was once a patient. Maya has a shocking past. She was abandoned by her mother and is unable to form meaningful friendships. But why was she a patient in a mental hospital? This is just one of the mysteries of the story that will keep readers hungry to find out more.Lucas, a new patient that has spent most of his life in the wilderness, has been assigned to Maya’s caseload. They end up forming a bond that brings her professional ethics into question and leads her to drastic measures in order to help him.For the most part, this was a fast and exciting read, even though it bogged down a bit while the characters were in the hospital setting. I like an intense and satisfying ending and this book delivered on that count.Any readers sensitive to depression and suicide need to be warned that it is a prominent subject throughout the book. There is also some violence.Many thanks to NetGalley and Atria books for allowing me to read and review and advance copy and give an honest review.
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  • Nicole (Read Eat Sleep Repeat)
    January 1, 1970
    After reading – and loving – Mindy Mejia’s Everything You Want Me to Be a couple years back, I was so excited when Leave No Trace appeared on my radar. And it definitely lived up to my expectations!Mejia’s writing style really works for me. She sets a tone from page one that gets in the readers head and sticks there until the very last sentence. The setting helped to draw this as well, taking place in and around the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, a large area of wilderness comprising a mixture of After reading – and loving – Mindy Mejia’s Everything You Want Me to Be a couple years back, I was so excited when Leave No Trace appeared on my radar. And it definitely lived up to my expectations!Mejia’s writing style really works for me. She sets a tone from page one that gets in the readers head and sticks there until the very last sentence. The setting helped to draw this as well, taking place in and around the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, a large area of wilderness comprising a mixture of forests, glacial lakes, and streams. And she evokes vivid descriptions of this place while keeping the story moving at a fast pace and creating unique characters with great development individually and in their relationships.There are a few historical stories and events that are also woven into this book, which is right up my alley. These accounts are intriguing in and of themselves, but also add extra context and depth to some of the themes explored here. This is a story of love and loss, right and wrong, and all the gray areas in between. And I could not put it down.In the end, Leave No Trace hit all the right notes for me. I do believe I’ve found an auto-read author in Mindy Mejia and can’t wait to see what she does next!*Thanks to the publisher for providing an arc of this edition via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kimberly Belle
    January 1, 1970
    A boy missing for ten years emerges from the Minnesota wilderness in Mindy Mejia’s spellbinding page-turner, Leave No Trace. Dark and atmospheric, with palpably vivid details and complex characters harboring plenty of secrets, Leave No Trace is the perfect combination of gorgeous prose and edge-of-your-seat storytelling. Clear your calendar, this is a book you’ll want to swallow in one sitting. A stunner!
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  • Nadine
    January 1, 1970
    3.5Leave 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 a 3.5Leave 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.
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  • Elle's Book Blog
    January 1, 1970
    Release Date: September 4, 2018 Genre: Psychological Thriller and Suspense Actual Rating: 4 starsLeave No Trace is a gripping and original thriller with a compelling story-line and complex characters that will leave you reeling from beginning to end. I was absorbed in this story. So much in fact that I looked down to start reading and only looked up from the pages when I was getting close to the end. This author has an exquisite eye for detail, and the story came alive in my hands. I truly e Release Date: September 4, 2018 Genre: Psychological Thriller and Suspense Actual Rating: 4 starsLeave No Trace is a gripping and original thriller with a compelling story-line and complex characters that will leave you reeling from beginning to end. I was absorbed in this story. So much in fact that I looked down to start reading and only looked up from the pages when I was getting close to the end. This author has an exquisite eye for detail, and the story came alive in my hands. I truly enjoyed it, as I did her previous novel, and am excited for her to write more in the future. Without giving away to much detail, this book is a true psychological suspense. It will mess with your mind, leave you feeling on edge, and literally haunt you until the last page. It's not a scary novel in any sense, but one that you don't know what's coming. The two main characters, very alike, but worlds apart, meet when Lucas is being treated in a mental hospital. Maya Stark, the only therapist that can get through to him, will do anything in her power to find out what Lucas knows about his father's disappearance. That means even putting herself in immediate danger. These two quickly become allies in this unstoppable thriller and some things come to life that will change everything in their paths... If you were a fan of Mejia's previous novel- Everything You Want Me to Be (one of my favorite books EVER) then this is the next book you MUST read. I didn't find it quite as thrilling as that one, but it certainly stands out among many of the thrillers that have been hitting the shelves in recent months. I very much recommend it. I think many who don't try to compare it to EYWMTB will find this to be quite the hit in the genre.
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  • Milena
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsI became a fan of Mindy Mejia after reading Everything You Want Me to Be last year. I was eagerly awaiting her next book, Leave No Trace. Leave No Trace is very different from Everything You Want Me to Be but just as brilliant and incredibly engrossing. This is a story about Lucas, a boy who disappeared with his father into Minnesota wilderness only to be found 10 years later with no trace of his father, and Maya, a speech therapist, who is tasked with helping Lucas integrate back into 4.5 starsI became a fan of Mindy Mejia after reading Everything You Want Me to Be last year. I was eagerly awaiting her next book, Leave No Trace. Leave No Trace is very different from Everything You Want Me to Be but just as brilliant and incredibly engrossing. This is a story about Lucas, a boy who disappeared with his father into Minnesota wilderness only to be found 10 years later with no trace of his father, and Maya, a speech therapist, who is tasked with helping Lucas integrate back into society. Lucas is mistrustful of people but he and Maya develop a connection and he needs her help to get back to his father. This was such an intriguing premise! There was more than one mystery to unravel in this book, not just Lucas's but Maya's too. I found very hard to put this book down. I was riveted by the mystery of Lucas's disappearance and his survival in the harsh Boundary Waters. I found both Lucas and Maya fascinating and couldn't wait to discover all their secrets and see their relationship grow. The descriptions of the lakes and Boundary Waters were so vivid, I could easy imagine them in my mind. Mindy Mejia has a way with words that just grabs readers from the first page and doesn't let go until they reach the end. Leave No Trace is another winner from her and I am thankful to have had the chance to read it early. *ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley
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  • Meigan
    January 1, 1970
    Blending various aspects of mental health, the wilderness, and several mysteries that meld into one, Leave no Trace was an atmospheric page-turner that kept me guessing until the very end. A decade ago, Josiah Blackthorn and his 9 year old son Lucas all but disappeared in the wilderness of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters. Present day, Lucas is admitted to the mental health facility where Maya Stark works as a speech therapist, and oddly enough, she’s the only one he will talk to. She’s assigned to h Blending various aspects of mental health, the wilderness, and several mysteries that meld into one, Leave no Trace was an atmospheric page-turner that kept me guessing until the very end. A decade ago, Josiah Blackthorn and his 9 year old son Lucas all but disappeared in the wilderness of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters. Present day, Lucas is admitted to the mental health facility where Maya Stark works as a speech therapist, and oddly enough, she’s the only one he will talk to. She’s assigned to his case even though she lacks the qualifications, because everyone, it seems, wants to know what happened to Lucas and his father and what made them flee, if anything did. The only thing Lucas wants is to find his father, who was tragically ill when he left him. With his father’s life hanging in the balance, Lucas will do anything to make it back to the wilds in hopes of saving his dad. Several mysteries are at play from the very beginning, including the reason why Lucas lands in the facility in the first place, and Mejia deftly ties every mystery together to one heartbreaking conclusion. So much was going on with Leave no Trace that there was excitement to be had on every page. I adore stories of mental hospitals, I adore stories where people go off the grid, I love stories where everyone has secrets and they’re slowly, ever so slowly, revealed. This book had all of that and more. It also takes a good look at mental health and how devastating it can be on not only the one suffering, but also to those around them. I started this yesterday afternoon planning to read “just a bit”, and ended up finishing it later that night because it was just so compelling and so dang immersive, and I just HAD to see how Lucas’s and Maya’s stories would connect, if they ever did. Not to mention, I’ve never heard of Boundary Waters and I’ve been doing nothing but googling pictures of it after finishing this book. Which is wasted time well-spent, in case you’re wondering, because it’s absolutely gorgeous. Bottom line — Mejia tells a good tale with Leave no Trace, filled with dynamic and varied characters, with the Minnesotan wilderness permeating every aspect of this book. She’s an author I fell in love with last year after reading the incredibly creepy Everything You Want Me to Be, so of course I recommend this one as well. But don’t take my word for it, just do yourself a favor and read something, anything, by this author because she truly is a fantastic storyteller. *ARC received courtesy of NetGalley and BookishFirst.
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  • Heidi
    January 1, 1970
    To me, there is nothing more intriguing than a mystery with a wilderness setting and a survival theme, and I can never resist when I stumble across one! I loved that Leave No Trace was inspired by real families who escaped civilisation to live in the wilderness, and Mindy Mejia’s fascination with those real life characters shows in the way she presents Josiah’s background and his motivations to live a life off the grid.The atmospheric setting was my favourite part of the book (ok, apart from the To me, there is nothing more intriguing than a mystery with a wilderness setting and a survival theme, and I can never resist when I stumble across one! I loved that Leave No Trace was inspired by real families who escaped civilisation to live in the wilderness, and Mindy Mejia’s fascination with those real life characters shows in the way she presents Josiah’s background and his motivations to live a life off the grid.The atmospheric setting was my favourite part of the book (ok, apart from the beautiful cover), and I devoured the descriptions of the Minnesotan wilderness, picturing both Maya’s mother’s remote mountain cabin as well as the life Lucas and Josiah must have led amongst the trees, surrounded only by nature. I think I would have been a very happy reader indeed if the whole story had revolved around Josiah and Lucas’ time in the mountains and the way they managed to survive for 10 years – it was so fascinating and I wanted more! Josiah’s chapters were by far my favourite parts of the book, his character the most complex and complicated, his motivations the most intriguing for this reader.However, in Leave No Trace, Mejia tackles a lot more issues than simply the desire to escape a conventional life, and she is not afraid to offer us deeply flawed characters, many of whom have been touched by mental illness or addiction. I particularly admired her astute portrayal of Josiah’s landlady as she spiralled deeper and deeper into heroin addiction. In fact, all of Mejia’s characters have had their share of adversity, which lends a deeper meaning to their actions and choices. Whilst I really appreciated the premise of the story, especially the idea of a young man who returns into civilisation after years in the wilderness, I admit I struggled a bit with both main characters, especially Maya. At first glance, Maya is the perfect flawed but gutsy female protagonist in the vein of others I have admired and enjoyed rooting for in the past. My main issues however were – as usual – the suspension of disbelief as Maya becomes emotionally attached to Lucas, who is one of her patients at the mental health facility she is working at. Not only does her unprofessional attachment raise some serious ethical and moral concerns, but I had trouble believing that her role as speech therapist would allow her so much freedom with such a troubled and potentially dangerous patient, some of which would not even be in her scope of practice. Seeing that Maya had previously been hospitalised at the same facility she is now working at, this behaviour would have raised many red flags for me, and as a health professional myself I found it hard to understand why no one stepped in to remove her from such a situation. I tried to envisage some of the scenes between Maya and Lucas taking place in our hospital and found them to be a bit far-fetched – however, I often struggle with details that don’t seem to bother others, so the chances are that this may not be an issue for the majority of readers.What I did enjoy was Maya’s feelings of abandonment surrounding her mother and her search for the truth regarding her mother’s fate, which was beautifully and sensitively portrayed – as was the chance to get to hear her mother’s point of view. Family relationships featured strongly in this novel, none of them straightforward and simple, which added complexity.All in all, Leave No Trace was an intriguing mystery with a wild and remote setting I could picture vividly. Whilst I struggled with some details, these will most likely not bother most other readers who are not afflicted with a chronic inability to suspend disbelief – to enjoy the journey, I recommend going into this one with an open mind and enjoying the story without getting hung up on details.Thank you to Netgalley and Quercus Books for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review. *blog* *facebook* *instagram*
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    I knew, when I saw the setting of this book was the Boundary Waters in my amazing state of Minnesota, that I had to get my hands on a copy of it. 🌲The author did not disappoint in setting up the setting with vivid details about this amazing gem. The Boundary Waters, in northern MN, is hundreds of miles of lakes and untouched forests. 🌲In Leave No Trace, a man and his son went camping in the wilderness and never returned. Their campsite was found ravaged but there was no trace of the pair. Now, 1 I knew, when I saw the setting of this book was the Boundary Waters in my amazing state of Minnesota, that I had to get my hands on a copy of it. 🌲The author did not disappoint in setting up the setting with vivid details about this amazing gem. The Boundary Waters, in northern MN, is hundreds of miles of lakes and untouched forests. 🌲In Leave No Trace, a man and his son went camping in the wilderness and never returned. Their campsite was found ravaged but there was no trace of the pair. Now, 10 years have passed and the son is discovered ransacking an outfitter store. He is violent and refusing to communicate so he is sent to a psychiatric facility and placed under the care of the language therapist, Maya. She begins to build a bond of trust with Lucas as she tries to unravel where he has been for the last decade, what happened, and where his dad is. 🌲This novel has vivid setting details, a intricately woven plot, and a unique sub story involving Maya's Mother. This left me quickly turning pages until the exciting conclusion. For me, Leave No Trace was ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars (rounded up from 4.5). Thank you @atriabooks for this advance reader in exchange for my honest review. 🌲
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