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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace
Roxe Anne Peacock

Leave No Trace is a book that young adults would enjoy reading. I enjoyed the mystery, but there were also things that threw me.
I found the setting perfect as I learned about reptiles from New Mexico. Peacock does a great job weaving them into the storyline. The character of Jason is believeable as a boy who takes a big interest in snakes. He is well educated in reptiles, as he teaches the main character, Jessica all about them. I was a little thrown by this, because Jessica was more interested in what happened to her missing friend, Sandra. She goes to Jason’s house by invitation and he gives her a reptile lesson out of the blue. I understand we needed to know this about his character, but the lessons he was giving Jessica took away from the plot in that scene. I was thinking they should be more concerned with the missing girl than reptiles at that point in the story since this was shortly after Sandra goes missing.
Also in the beginning of the story, Jessica’s parents let her stay home by herself for days with a killer on the loose, roaming the neighborhood. I had a hard time understanding why they didn’t arrange for a policeman or family friend to observe her while they were gone. This comes in later in the story, but not from Jessica’s parents. I found them letting her stay home alone a little “forced” into the story without a rational explanation. Another thing, you never hear of Jessica checking in with them by phone. They call once and leave a message when she is gone, but that’s the only scene I can recall of them checking on her.
At times, I found Jessica “stupid”. I know teenagers are supposed to be that way, which is what I admired in Peacock’s character, but she would voluntarily go places alone at night when people warned her not to. She went to an outdoor event at night toward the end, which was necessary to the plot, but why wouldn’t she listen to anyone? Wasn’t she scared? She also invited Jason to have a picnic in the area where the body was found, which I found disturbing. At times, I thought our main character was the killer!
One thing I loved about this story was that my mouth dropped when the mystery was revealed. Not only did I find the killer to be a surprise, but another mystery followed which is what shocked me. I also hope for a sequel to this, because I will read it! I want to find out what becomes of Jessica and Jason, along with Jessica’s boyfriend who is off fighting in Iraq. I liked that Peacock placed him as a soldier fighting for our country. I only wish we could have heard from him more.
This book would have worked better for me if the writing flowed much more easily and if the use of exclamation points could have been used more to show anger and fear. But please read this book for yourself! It’s enjoyable and a fast easy read (great for young adults!) which will have you guessing who the killer is until the very end