All the Things We Leave Behind

240p. ebook available. Goose Lane. Sept. 2016. pap. $19.95. ISBN 9780864920416.
Gr 8 Up—The author opens the work by painting a beautiful picture of a quaint, quiet town in rural New Brunswick, a maritime province in eastern Canada. The year is 1977, and 17-year-old Violet is put in charge of managing her parents' roadside antiques business in their giant purple barn. Violet's parents are off searching for clues that will lead them to her missing older brother, Bliss, though the nosy townsfolk believe that they are on vacation. Ever since Bliss was a child, Violet's family has known him to be moody and depressed. He gave several clues to his sister that he wanted an adventure, but his sudden disappearance has shocked Violet's world to the core. Between dealing with her curmudgeon coworker, Quinn, and hanging out with her boyfriend, Dean, the protagonist doesn't have much time to consider her true feelings surrounding her brother's disappearance. Until, that is, Violet sees a mysterious white buck beckoning her to follow. Is it Speckles, the friendly piebald deer from her past, or is it a ghost of Violet's memory? Fans of historical novels from the recent past will be disappointed in the lack of defining elements of the time period, but teens may connect with the relatable small-town feel of this title. While the isolated moments of magical realism are enticing, the fantastical portrayal of mental illness is unrealistic, especially for readers struggling from its effects. Though engaging at times, the plot lacks structure and feels anticlimactic.
VERDICT Not recommended for teen collections.

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