Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “What She Left Behind” as Want to Read:
What She Left Behind
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

What She Left Behind

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  1,662 ratings  ·  244 reviews
“Don’t even think of leaving… I will find you,” he whispered. “Guaranteed.”

Sara and her mom have a plan to finally escape Sara’s abusive father. But when her mom doesn’t show up as expected, Sara’s terrified. Her father says that she’s on a business trip, but Sara knows he’s lying. Her mom is missing—and her dad had something to do with it.

With each day that passes, Sara’s
Paperback, 236 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Simon Pulse
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about What She Left Behind, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about What She Left Behind

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This review is also available on my blog, Qwerty

I don't always read realistic fictions but when I do, I..


Damn ninjas cutting onions! took me a full month before I finally posted a full review. The thought occurred everyday within that one month. I had been thinking, was it laziness? Was it lack of mood?


I simply didn't want to go back there again, among those trees in the cover.

This is why I rarely read realistic fictions or watching documentary about abuse, poverty and such. I hate
Ever read a book and you just don't care what happens, you just want it to be over? This is so NOT one like that. I couldnt get to the end fast enough because I had to know what happened. I was almost late for work when I didn't want to stop reading and I am never late for work!
Sara and her mother live a nightmare life with an abusive father whose abuse escalates after sara's brother Matt kills himself, although her father pretends Matt isn't dead and they have to all play along and have all th
Mar 03, 2012 Krystal rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: arc
Despite flashbacks to better times in Sara’s family, it is impossible to feel any sympathy toward her abusive father. Beatings inflicted on her mother have gone on for years. Sara’s brother chooses suicide over the emotional and physical abuse he endures. Sara herself is not physically harmed, but the strain of living with her super-critical, controlling father anymore is impossible. Her mom makes plans for the two of them to disappear, but then disappears herself. Terrified that something has h ...more
"I will never forget.
And my stupid, stupid, heart will never stop loving you."

Setting:Scottsfield, Michigan; 2012

Coverly Love?:Surprisingly yes! I love pictures of woods, and the girl running through it makes it all the more haunting.

Plot:Sara and her mother have to go away. Driven insane by his son's suicide, Sara's father blames her mother and has started abusing her. Having had enough, her mother arranges for Sara to meet her at a certain place so they can run away and start a new life. E
While reading the book, I really liked What She Left Behind. The mystery aspect is really well done, and I enjoyed trying to figure out what happened alongside Sara. Especially the last 50 pages or so are gripping - the suspense is so high, I couldn't put the book down. If you look at What She Left Behind as a mystery, it's a very good book. It had me terrified, like a good mystery should.

Sara's dad is a total psychopath. The physical abuse he puts his family through is so strong it's scary, but
I don't know what to feel about this book. Some parts completely befuddled me. Like, your dad has been abusing your mom and yourself for so long, and if you can take it into your own hands and plan one of those dramatic escapes which don't work half the time, I'm pretty sure you can call up a lawyer five states away using a less amount of time. Sure, the dad knows all the policemen in town, but that doesn't mean the rest of the world thinks your dad is the good guy. Taping down dinner conversati ...more
Kimberly Sabatini
If you like Elizabeth Scott, I think you'll absolutely adore Tracy Bilen. WHAT SHE LEFT BEHIND is one of those stories that is morbidly beautiful. It is the harsh reality of a less than ideal life, threaded with moments of love and hope. I couldn't pull my eyes away from what was unfolding on the pages. I immediately connected with Sara and adored the healthy relationships in her life. I read this story with a rapid pulse and sweaty palms--praying that the last page would be just as good as the ...more
3.5 stars. mistakenly read this one. young adult. story pulls you in.
Katie Fritz
Sara's mom told her she'd come get her at lunch. They were running away from their town, from the death of Sara's brother, from her abusive dad. Thing thing is, Sara's mom never showed up. Now Sara is stuck in her town, trying to figure out when her mother will come and get her, or if she ever will. Her best friend Zach and crush Alex know something's wrong, but not what. Sara's dad seems all too normal, even with his wife not being home. She has to take the brunt of his abuse, playing the quiet ...more
Chelsea Groves
What She Left Behind tells the story of Sara and her relationship with her abusive father. One day her mother tell Sara that they are leaving and that she will pick her up during her lunch break at school. But when her mother doesn't show up, Sara starts to wonder what actually happened to her mother. Her father then begins to become abusive towards Sara as she tries to figure out what happened to her mother and why she disappeared.

This is a very quick read. I just couldn't put it down. It was s
What She Left Behind is one of the most terrific realistic fictions that blew me up. The book is a mirror to reality that reflects the daily drama of domestic violence. Sara and her mom, wants to escape from Sara’s abusive father, so they made a plan of running away. When her mom didn’t show up according to the plan as expected, Sara was terrified. Her father told her, her mom left town for some business purpose Sara knew her father has something to do with her mother’s disappearance. Sara was s ...more
This book was terrifying. What She Left Behind takes place in a family with a very abusive father, which is an important subject matter that is not dealt with often in YA literature. I was physically cringing at some of the scenes and descriptions. This is one of those books like Thirteen Reasons Why or Want to Go Private? where one doesn't want to say "I love this book" but something more along the lines of "it needs to be read".

Sara's family is still trying to recover from the tragedy of when
Stefanie Hasse
„Warum hat sie mich nicht sofort mitgenommen? Das ist die Frage, die ich mir immer wieder stelle und die mir keine Ruhe lässt. Von den Erklärungen, die mir dafür einfallen, ist eine absurder als die andere.“
(S. 141)

Morgen. Morgen ist es so weit: Ihre Mutter wird Sara abholen und gemeinsam fliehen sie vor Saras gewalttätigen Vater. Sara packt ihre Reisetasche und verstaut alles wie besprochen unter ihrem Bett.
Am nächsten Tag wartet sie in der Mittagspause am vereinbarten Treffpunkt.
What She Left Behind is the story of the 16 year old Sara's tragic life, and how she must go on after her mom's dissapeared - apparently she's on businesstrip. But Sara knows better, because they had plans on leaving her violent father the exact same day her mom dissapeared. Left with a dad turning more and more violent, trying to pretend everything is fine, Sara starts digging for clues.

What She Left Behind had it all; suspense, a heroine you can actually like, an exciting story that will keep
Kara Conlon
I picked up What She Left Behind from my local library today, just a few hours later I am writing the review. 236 pages, almost nonstop reading and I am not even remotely sorry for doing so.

Sara is a child of abuse, this is her tale. I think for some people relating to her and those in her world might be hard. We think about the concept of a strong woman and most would say that a strong woman would never let a man hit her. Some might say that there are so many resources out there for abused per
Speechless... I'm in love with this book!

The threat "Don't even think of leaving. . .I will find you" sets the stage for this intense and suspenseful young adult novel, Tracy Bilen's What She Left Behind. When Sara's mother disappears, what follows is the result of her psychotic, delusional father, guilt, and past secrets. As Sara grapples with her brother's death and her father's bizarre behavior, her fears about her mom intensify. Alone, except for the help of her best friend Zach and her recent love interest, Alex, Sara must navigat
Du liebst ihn. Du fürchtest ihn. Du darfst nicht vor ihm fliehen. Denn er hat etwas Schreckliches getan. Und nur du kannst herausfinden, was ...
Sara plant gemeinsam mit ihrer Mutter die heimliche Flucht vor ihrem gewalttätigen Vater. Es soll der Start in ein neues Leben werden, doch als endlich der Tag gekommen ist, erscheint ihre Mutter nicht am verabredeten Treffpunkt. Und auch nicht mehr zu Hause. Sara beschleicht der schreckliche Verdacht, dass ihr Vater etwas mit ihrem Verschwinden zu tun h
What a gripping book! While it was at times very difficult to read because of the very real abuse this book deals with, Bilen did an awesome job of balancing the very dark points with lighter ones. It kept me riveted from start to finish. Very, very good!
Lindsay Detwiler
I really appreciated the emotional depth of this novel. Tracy Bilen does an amazing job at climbing into the minds of a girl in an abusive family situation. It made me feel bad for the main character, admire her strength, and appreciate my own life.

I like that the novel wasn't solely about the abuse, however. It was also a "regular" teenage girl trying to maneuver the complexities of a first love. Alex was an extremely likable character because he was imperfect, wild, and loyal.

I appreciated th
Nancy Komatz
I'm a little ashamed to say that I brought this book home, thinking it was the book by the same name by Wiseman! This was actually a young adult book (I'm in my late 60's), but in spite of that, it was a thriller/suspense story told by a teenage girl whose brother had recently committed suicide and whose father became abusive and mentally unstable. These tragic events were set against the backdrop of the life and loves of typical teenagers in high school. It was very well written and I didn't re ...more
I love the book , it was really strange at some part but it was really cool
When I first saw the book cover I was like, this is the book for me. I was randomly searching for a random book at the library and saw "What She Left Behind" sitting there waiting for me to take home. Basically the book was calling me so, I was like this book is mine.

It all started with a nice and calm family which everyone wants. Don't act like you don't want one, and just accept you want it. But as I was saying, the book starts with something nice but when I noticed that Sara's father was act
If I could give this book 7 stars I would! This was a very good and suspenseful book. The first page kept me glued until the end. This book is about Sara, a teen girl who lives with her mother and abusive, crazy father. Her father is abusive to her mother and brother (who got fed up with the abuse and did something horrible after the father learned a secret about him.) One day after years of abuse, Sara`smother becomes fed up too and decides to leave. She tells Sara to pack her things and hide t ...more
I really liked this! I wasn't too sure what this book was about, since I hadn't heard much about it so far. I wanted to read this since the first time I saw it. The cover was so creepy and the summary made it sound so intense. I can say that this book didn't disappoint me at all!

What She Left Behind tells the story of Sara and her relationship with her abusive father. One day her mother tell Sara that they are leaving and that she will pick her up during her lunch break at school. But when her
I don’t tend to read much YA contemporary books and especially not contemporary books featuring “tougher issues”, like What She Left Behind. But when I saw the synopsis above I was immediately intrigued. Mostly because I wanted to read what had happened to Sara’s mom! The mystery aspect of this book is very well done. Considering that Sara was trying to find out what happened to her mother, the mystery was very exciting. There are some heart pounding moments where I’m literally scared for Sara!

This book is about domestic abuse.

From a batshit crazy father.

Whom I just didn't get at all.

The Story:

Sara and her mother are finally planning to run away from her abusive father, a few months after her beloved brother, Matt, committed suicide. But when the actual day comes and Sara realises her mother fails to turn up, she panicks.

Everyday, Sara will sit at the Dairy Dream, waiting for her mother, thinking that she'll eventually pick her up and leave this small town once and for all. Only she's
Medeia Sharif
Sara waits for her mom to pull up in a parking lot near school, eager and hopeful for a new life away from her abusive father. Both of them had packed their bags. The mom supposedly covered all bases to ensure that the father won’t find them when they flee. Sara is filled with dread when, after a long wait, her mom doesn’t show up at all.

People sense something is wrong with Sara, but she won’t reveal what. She can’t tell things to her friend, Zach, because her father might punch the truth out of
Kiriaki Sandy
What She Left Behind not only kept me awake a whole night, but also on the edge of my seat the whole time. And that, along with the uncommon strength of the connection I felt with the characters (okay maybe that was due to the lack of sleep, which makes my emotions and thoughts way more heightened and sharpened than they should be, but it doesn't matter) make this book deserve six stars. (or maybe my rating system is either too advanced or messed up for Goodreads, I honestly don't know.)

3.5/5 stars

What a terrifying book. What She Left Behind is the story of a family with a very abusive father. I have to admit, this one's a masterpiece.

The author has done a very good job in describing the painful life of a sixteen year old, who watches her mother get beaten by her father but is powerless to do anything. This is one of those books which leaves a very lasting impression on you. I know I will be thinking about this one for a long time.

The writing is very vivid and you can feel th
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Kiss the Morning Star
  • All These Lives
  • Blind Spot
  • Counting Backwards
  • The Marble Queen
  • The Nightmare Factory
  • The Unquiet
  • Fall to Pieces
  • Personal Effects
  • Pretty Crooked (Pretty Crooked, #1)
  • Mystique
  • Breaking Beautiful
  • Life is But a Dream
  • In Too Deep
  • The Vanishing Game
  • League of Strays
  • Reunited
  • One Moment
Tracy is a high school teacher in Michigan where she lives with her husband and children. She enjoys cross-country skiing and hiking.
More about Tracy Bilen...
Watch Your Back

Share This Book

“And my stupid stupid heart will never stop loving you” 14 likes
“Jay: Looks like you misspelled the Treaty of Versailles.
Sara: Yeah, well. My brother's natural ability for languages didn't rub off on me.
Jay: ...I'm not talking about Versailles. I have no idea if you spelled that right. I'm talking about the word 'treaty.”
More quotes…