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4.44  ·  Rating details ·  45 ratings  ·  25 reviews
In a book that is both urgent and timely, Melissa Ostrom explores the intricacies of shame and victim-blaming that accompany the aftermath of assault.

After surviving an assault at an off-campus party, nineteen-year-old Maggie is escaping her college town, and, because her reporting the crime has led to the expulsion of some popular athletes, many people--in particular, the
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 26th 2019 by Feiwel & Friends
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4.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  45 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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Unleaving is a thoughtful, contemplative young adult novel centered around 19 year old Maggie as she deals with the aftermath of an on campus rape that resulted in her having to leave college due to the trauma she's experiencing not just from the rape itself but from the cold and callous reactions of the community she lives in.

While staying with her Aunt Wren, Maggie begins to slowly cope with what's happened to her via her blossoming friendship with Linnie, a troubled young woman who is the mot
Jay G
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my youtube channel:

*Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

19-year old Maggie has decided to leave her college after she is assaulted at an off-campus party by a group of popular jocks. After pressing charges, she leaves her hometown to move in with her recluse Aunt Wren, an artist with a dark past of her own. As time goes on, Maggie begins to cope w
Samantha (WLABB)
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, arcs, ya, contemporary
Maggie was gang raped. Maggie was brave and fought for justice. Maggie became a social pariah, and was forced to leave her home. What happened to Maggie, before and after her assault, was wrong, but leaving her hometown put her on her path to healing.

This was an emotional read, but hopeful. I really appreciated that Ostrom focused on Maggie's recovery. There were flashbacks, which I think were there to help us understand her mental state, but they were not graphic. I didn't feel like I needed a
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Trigger warning for mentions of rape.

Maggie suffered a traumatic event last year - she was raped by multiple guys at her Vermont college during a party. After pressing charges, she deals with harassment all around her from people who either don't believe her and/or don't support her and/or worship the college football player who confessed. To escape the harassment, and to deal with everything, Maggie takes time off of school and goes to upstate New York to stay with her aunt.

This book isn't a
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
DNF at 41%

I feel like I’m breaking girl code with my thoughts about UNLEAVING. I don’t think I’ve ever hated hating a book as much as this.

After being gang raped by popular guys at college, then being targeted by bullies, Maggie flees town to live with her estranged aunt Wren and heal. Except she doesn’t go to therapy, though she had some at home. She doesn’t read rape survivor books or join a support group. Her plan seems to be healing through osmosis.

While I understood Maggie’s struggles, bein
Erin Varley
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Unleaving is not my typical read. I usually stick to middle grade, but knowing that I loved Melissa's other book, The Beloved Wild, I knew I had to read this one, as well. Unleaving is contemporary, a study of the human condition. Melissa is a master storyteller- offering her readers more than just a story, but a chance to live and breathe Maggie's journey toward healing. Get it. Read it. And don't be surprised if it stays with you for a long time.
Grace P. (gracefulreads)
3.75/5 Stars

As a college student, Maggie falls into the older section of Young Adult fiction, but UNLEAVING does not quite fit the New Adult genre of fiction. While there are mature topics and a higher level of maturity among the characters, this novel includes many common YA themes. One of the most influential and memorable elements of this story is that it does not focus on romance in any way, which is a rarity in the YA genre today. Ostrom instead focuses primarily on Maggie’s healing and the
Mar 04, 2019 added it
Shelves: 2019-releases, dnf
I attempted to read this, but it's just not holding my attention, so I'm DNFing. It's not bad, I'm just very picky about contemporary novels these days, and it takes something special to keep me reading. I'm sure it's an important book for the right person, and it's definitely a topic that I appreciate an author writing about. It just wasn't for me.

That said, I thought the setting was lovely, as was the voice. You should give it a try if you are into contemporary books about serious topics.

CW: t
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a book I didn’t realize I needed. It paints a perfect picture of the complexities of being female in today’s culture, of how unlinear processing trauma is, of the power and healing you can get from the places you never expected. I read this book in one sitting, and even though it wasn’t always comfortable, it was amazing. I loved this - easily one of my favorite books I’ve read this April.
Forever Young Adult
Graded By: Stephanie
Cover Story: Big Backpack
BFF Charm: Let Me Love You
Swoonworthy Scale: 0
Talky Talk: Self-Help
Bonus Factors: Book Club, Family Secrets, Awesome Grownups
Relationship Status: Support Group Buddies

Read the full book report here.
Amber Christopher,
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Unleaving is a timely reflection of an ongoing societal problem: rape and its aftermath, particularly the complicated matter of healing. Yet Melissa Ostrom's second novel is not a depressing read because she imbues her main character Maggie's struggle to heal with the universal need we all have to heal ourselves and our world. The result is an optimistic view of what humans are capable of accomplishing, even after suffering the worst ordeals.

Maggie is a strong young woman who endures a lot and s
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
Unleaving is a good book to read if you are just starting college or about to start college within the next year. The book described a situation that seems to be the norm of the college lifestyle. Go to a party, meet a guy, and now a victim of date rape. This is a pretty close reflection of the Me Too campaign going on and the moral definitely is that silence is a killer and when the victim no matter the circumstance such as hate from other students going around campus and hateful emails sent, k ...more
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An important topic and well written page turner! Maggie decides to leave her college campus after an off campus assault. She turned in the names of her attackers and is victim shamed for doing so due to the fact that the guilty are popular athletes from the college. She goes to stay with an aunt as she grapples with what happened and deals with anxiety, depression and panic attacks. When she discovers that another girl at the college that had a similar experience emailed her, Maggie must decide ...more
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Review to come.
Shaye Miller
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
19-year-old Maggie Arioli is the victim of a gang rape that took place in her small college town, just last year. After her assault, she sought help at the police station and with her college administration. But as the perpetrators were athletic heroes of Carleton College, Maggie was immediately considered an outcast, demonized for tainting the names of the young men in question. In an effort to heal from the trauma and move forward, Maggie is taking a year off from school. With her parents’ ble ...more
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Unleaving is a strong story of resiliency, family, friendship, and understanding. Maggie is raped in her first year of college and when she speaks up about her rape, her small college town turns on her. Maggie leaves to spend the upcoming year with her Aunt Wren, a potter living on the shores of Lake Ontario. She is surrounded by people who see her strength, but Maggie needs time to see it too. While in the wilds, Maggie also meets her aunts collection of neighbours and friends, and finds hersel ...more
Alicia Charland
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review originally posted on my blog, Turning Pages.

Rape culture and victim blaming are two things that make me incredibly angry and sad. Books that discuss and depict them are vital, and something I find myself drawn towards. Unleaving has such a powerful presence, and boy does this book pack a punch.

This book is…well, it’s hard. In all the best ways. It’s not an easy topic, and it shouldn’t be. But it’s important, and overall
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After having read (and adored!) Melissa Ostrom YA debut, THE BELOVED WILD - a rousing historical adventure - I had high exceptions for Ostrom's sophomore YA novel, UNLEAVING. Thankfully, the author did not disappoint. UNLEAVING tackles a weighty subject - the emotional aftermath of sexual assault - and breathes new life into the subject by creating compelling, multidimensional characters, including 19-year-old Maggie, the novel's resilient protagonist. Gorgeous writing and a page-turning plot ma ...more
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
[I received an electronic review copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.]

A dark, heavy story handled well. I was engrossed by the various story lines - I had to know how all the pieces came together. I didn't click with any of the characters. Many of the central ones were recovering from some manner of trauma as well as they could, with different levels of success. It made some of them hard to "like." Overall, I think the story was too dark for
Marsha Rivers
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had a hard time with this one, to be honest. It was well-written – don't get me wrong – but I hated that it needed to be written. I hate what happened to Maggie, what happened to me, and what happens to millions of sexual assault victims daily. Nevertheless, I am grateful for the author's boldness, bravery, and beautiful prose. Exposing dark to light brings healing, somehow – through the grace of our Creator and the empathy of authentic community. Thank God for the Aunt Wrens of the world!
Denise Hobbs
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a 5 star read for me. Rape is a difficult subject, but this book is honest and beautifully written. Melissa Ostrom does an amazing job addressing the social issues of sexual assault, victim shaming, and blaming. While certainly a possible trigger for survivors of assault, the writing was not graphic. I enjoyed the characters and their road to recovery. I absolutely adored Aunt Wren and Linnie. Both beautiful souls.
Jeanette  Caprino

I absolutely loved The Unleaving by Melissa Ostrom

Not everyone deals with what happened to Maggie in the same way. For Maggie, distancing herself from the situation and changing her environment gave her time to reflect and heal. Her amazing Aunt Wren, who experienced her own secret trauma growing up, gave Maggie the courage to face her fears head on. Each character had a powerful story to tell.

This book held me from the beginning to its gripping conclusion. I loved each and every character. I c
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A book about finding yourself after a traumatic experience. It was quiet but thoughtful, and I enjoyed the author's use of nature as part of the healing process. Check out my full review at Forever Young Adult.
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Melissa Ostrom teaches English literature at Genesee Community College in Batavia, New York. Her short fiction has been published in literary magazines, and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. The Beloved Wild is her YA debut. She lives in Batavia, New York, with her family.
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