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When You Leave

When You Leave is a YA contemporary mystery novel by Monica Ropal.

Skater girl Cass doesn’t plan on becoming friendly with anyone at her new private high school. After all, her experience with getting close to people is not a positive one.

Her recent change of lifestyle is due to her mother’s remarriage to a wealthy man, when it was her mother’s previous husband – Cass’s father – that left them high and dry in near financial poverty.

It’s an adjustment. One of her only constants is her best friend – whom she almost lost to cancer. All in all, not the best situations to build trust in relationships…

But despite concealing her skater girl personality under the preppy plaid skirts, Cass’s good-looking, popular locker neighbor, Cooper, notices her. Oddly enough, he’s interested in her – and against her better judgement, she begins to be interested in return…

Yet just as Cass begins to let him in, Cooper is murdered.

Stunned, the news only gets worse when one of Cass’s closest friends is suspected to be the killer.

Determined to find the truth – Cass must face the fact that the truth may not be what she really wants…

When You Leave was a good read!

Cass felt, to me, like an early Avril Lavigne – an angsty skater girl that can be a bit prickly, though I cannot say I blame her when the first impressions of her family aren’t harsher than what she presents.

On the romantic angle, I feel When You Leave is fairly successful – and it did make the murder feel personal, which I know the author was going for. Instead of the murder being impersonal, someone the protagonist doesn’t know or only knows as an acquaintance, there were real, deep feelings building between Cass and Cooper. I felt terrible for Cass.

As the investigation starts, we have some clue finding and information gathering that is pretty standard – but, again, I felt it was relatively well done. Occasionally some creepy things happen – there’s a quiet suspense always present once the murder occurred.

I did correctly guess the murderer – but that didn’t change the fact that I was riveted by the story and attached to the characters. In the end, the murder mystery did not feel as central to the plot as Cass and her damaged relationships.

Honestly, a good read with a different spin on the whodunit.

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