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What She Left Behind
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What She Left Behind

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  1,366 ratings  ·  220 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...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Simon Pulse
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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...more
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...more
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. Ex...more
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
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...more
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...more
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...more
Steffi und Kay his-and-her-books
„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....more
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...more
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...more
Speechless... I'm in love with this book!
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!
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
What She Left Behind written by Tracy Bilen was a pretty interesting story. This story is about a girl named Sara and here mother who tried to escape the custody of her father who is very abusive to the both of them. Sara was originally suppose to meet up with her mother to try to escape together but, she unexpectedly was a no show. As a result with that she had to stay with her father, whom she knows has to do with the missing of her mother, because he made up an excuse that she was on a busin...more
Tracy Bilen has redefined the parameters of tension. The suspenseful plot in her debut young adult novel, What She Left Behind, fills readers with dread and longing for some sort of happy ending. The pages are filled with secrets, doubts, and tough decisions.

Sara’s family life was already balancing on the precipice of destruction, but tragedy pushed it over the edge. With a plan to leave her abusive father behind, she and her mother devise a plan to escape. Now hanging on the sliver of hope that...more

The author of this book, Tracy Bilen, spoke at the public library in my town. That was the reason I picked this book up, in the first place. If I had not won it in a raffle, and got in signed by the author, I probably would not have read this. I don’t usually read realistic fiction, I’m more of a fantasy type of person. I do enjoy the occasional realistic fiction, as long as they aren’t chick lit. I despise chick lit, just putting it out there. By the way, I don’t include spoilers in my book rev...more
I just want to say, WOW!

I really enjoyed this book.

I will probably never read it again.

While that might sound like an odd contradiction of sorts, anyone who understands the nature of the content in this book will understand why it's a great story and why it would be difficult to re-read.

First off, this book is written very realistically. There are probably many readers who will read this and think:

Why didn't Sara run away? Why did her mom wait so long to attempt an escape? How could Sar...more
Nov 07, 2012 Zoe marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Giveaway !!! (R = 11/06/12 )
I will begin by saying I cannot truly express how incredibly GRATEFUL I am for this opportunity to be the only one with the opportunity to win the What She Left Behind book giveaway contest out of a total of 2229 people in four different countries ! I first need to explain this intense emotional excitement to the best of my ability: I can honestly say in my life I have basically never won anything – never mind something of this caliber. I feel as though the spe...more
Amy Diop
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Zitat: "Und mein dummes, dummes Herz wird nie aufhören, dich zu lieben."

Erster Satz: Ich habe manchmal diesen Traum, dass ich in einer riesigen Schüssel Haferbrei ertrinke.


Sie liebt ihn. Sie fürchtet ihn. Sie darf nicht vor ihm fliehen.

Verzweifelt wartet die 16-jährige Sara am vereinbarten Treffpunkt auf ihre Mutter. Es sollte der Start in ein neues Leben werden, weit weg von ihrem gewalttätigen Vater, der seit dem Selbstmord ihres Bruders mehr und mehr den Bezug zur Realität verliert. Abe...more
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  • All These Lives
  • Kiss the Morning Star
  • Fall to Pieces
  • The Vanishing Game
  • Blind Spot
  • When You Open Your Eyes
  • Personal Effects
  • Breaking Beautiful
  • Getting Somewhere
  • The Mapmaker and the Ghost
  • Counting Backwards
  • Mystique
  • The Girls of No Return
  • In Too Deep
  • Cracked
  • Life is But a Dream
  • The Marble Queen
  • Tokyo Heist
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...
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“And my stupid stupid heart will never stop loving you” 12 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.”
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