Mindy Mejia’s latest novel is part mystery/part survivalist story, set in and near Minnesota’s wilderness area called the Boundary Waters. A boy named Lucas disappeared with his father in this place, and a decade later at age 19 he makes a rather violent reappearance. Where has he been for 10 years, and what happened to his father?
Unwilling to communicate with authorities, Lucas is sent to a mental health facility, where he’s assigned to Maya Stark, a young speech therapist, in hopes she’ll make a connection with him. Maya is struggling with her own troubling secrets and personal issues, and on top of that Lucas proves to be a very difficult patient.
I’m left with a lukewarm feeling towards this book. I was drawn in by the unique premise and loved the survivalist aspects of the story and the wilderness descriptions. I did keep wondering how the pieces of the puzzle would fit, and I liked the twist that brought everything together.
On the other hand, I felt like this book was too slow paced to be a suspense/thriller. I struggled to become invested in the characters, and Maya, in particular, I never cared for. She wasn’t that interesting and her actions were downright unethical. I also never understood why a 23-year old speech therapist with little experience would be put in charge of a high-profile, dangerous patient.
I adored Mindy Mejia’s first book, and though LEAVE NO TRACE didn’t thrill me as much, I will definitely keep an eye out for her next novel.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley & Bookish First in exchange for an honest review.