(Image from Barnes & Noble)
Jenna Metcalf can't stop thinking about her mother, an elephant researcher who disappeared ten years ago after a tragic accident at the family's animal sanctuary. The 13-year-old can't ask her father—his mental breakdown after the incident landed him in a psychiatric ward, from which he's never left. Jenna's grandmother refuses to discuss what happened at all. Jenna's clandestine Internet searches provide few clues to her mother's whereabouts. Poring over Alice Metcalf's old journals, which are mostly filled with notes on elephants, doesn't seem to be helping either. Jenna knows her mother is alive; she just has to find her.
Desperate, Jenna enlists the help of two unlikely people—Serenity Johnson, a once-famous psychic now exposed as a fraud, and Virgil Stanhope, the alcoholic P.I. who was the lead detective on the original Metcalf case. As the trio investigates every lead they can find, they discover shocking secrets about the Metcalf Family. The closer they get to the truth, the more complex and devastating the case becomes. And yet, it all ends with a twist so surprising none of them see it coming.
Oscillating between the present and the past, Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult unfolds in the voices of four intriguing narrators—Jenna, Alice, Serenity, and Virgil. Each brings a different perspective, adding another layer to the already suspenseful plot. The elephant element gives the novel even more depth as it explores themes of memory, grief, love, and family bonds. With a hint of the supernatural mixed in with the author's usual mystery/family drama blend, Leaving Time is both unique and vintage Picoult. As a long-time Jodi Picoult fan, I'd grown a little bored with her novels' trademark formula—this book made me believe again. It's Picoult at her very best. I know some readers felt a little gypped by Leaving Time's unconventional ending, but it proved to me that Picoult always has another trick up her sleeve. I've longed look forward to her new books, but now I really can't wait to see what she does next!
(Readalikes: Larger Than Life (a Leaving Time novella) by Jodi Picoult, Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult, and The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold)
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for strong language, violence, and sexual content
To the FTC, with love: I bought a copy of Leaving Time from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger. Ha ha.