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The Leaving Year

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  106 ratings  ·  47 reviews
A coming-of-age YA novel about the daughter of a Pacific Northwest fisherman, whose presumed drowning in 1967 has her searching for answers, including whether or not he’s really dead.

As the Summer of Love comes to an end, 15-year-old Ida Petrovich waits for a father who never comes home. While commercial fishing in Alaska, he is lost at sea, but with no body and no wrecka
Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 14th 2018 by SparkPress
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  106 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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Lara (Bookish_turtle)
The Leaving Year was very beautifully written, with a really interesting combination of ideas. However, it was quite slow moving and there was not a whole lot that happened during the first part of the novel particularly. The second half I loved though! It's not an overly long book, but I feel that it could have been just a bit shorter.

One main thing I think made this book a bit harder to read was that it felt detached. I didn't really feel the main character, and for the first half of the book
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Such a moving story!
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I got sent this book in exchange for a honest review, all my opinions are my own and thank you so much to the publishers for sending me this book!

So not to give too much away but in this book we follow a girl who is trying to find out more about herself and her family at the time of the civil rights movement.
Ida's father is presumed lost at sea but when she hears a conversation said by her mother, her journey will take another turn.

I really liked this story, I found such a fascinating and unique
“It never mattered to me what he did when he was away, so long as he came back. Now that he’s gone, I want to find out all I can.”

The sea is a mean wife, anyone who’s ever read, watched, or studied the ocean knows this. And yet it still calls to people, like doctors are called to medicine, like moths to a flame.

Ida’s father has gone missing, it is presumed that his boat had some catastrophic event and he drowned, only without witnesses or evidence, it’s impossible to know for sure. But what she
David Ruble
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“The Leaving Year,” a novel by Pam McGaffin, is a billed as a book for young readers and teens, but this middle-aged adult was thoroughly enrapt by it. In this expertly-crafted coming of age story, 15-year old Ida’s life is turned upside-down when her father fails to return from fishing in Alaska and is presumed lost at sea. We follow Ida through the various stages of grief as seen through the eyes of a teenager, as well as her quest for the truth, which she learns isn’t always what it appears t ...more
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Pam McGaffin’s The Leaving Year is a well-crafted story that had me going more than once, peopled by believable characters who juggle empathy and self-worth. Plus I liked the Northwest and Alaskan native themes and of course the era, which was/is my era (born in 1952). All the Beatles references were good and the tragic events of 1968 were weaved in skillfully. The author also doesn’t gloss over accepted habits at the time like smoking in the bathroom and fat-shaming, which gives the tale authen ...more
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received this book as an advanced reader's copy and from the moment I read the first page, this book intrigued me. I fell in love with Ida and the struggles and adventures that awaited her. A bond between a father and a daughter is the strongest bond in the world and when something jeopardizes that, you can't help but to go after the problem and fix it. This book has some good life lessons that everyone should know at some point in their lives. Our reader's love inspirational novels such as th ...more
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful and emotional coming of age story that will warm your heart, I loved this book so much I couldn't put to down it was so addictive Ida’s search for a missing father. I would highly recommend giving it a read. ...more
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
"When you suddenly lose someone you love, all that love doesn't know where to go so it drifts around homeless. It may even change shape, turning to fear, anger before settling into that hole that never goes away." - Pam McGaffin, The Leaving Year

In 1967, Ida's life changes unexpectedly and forever when her dad's fishing boat is lost on his way home from Alaska. But how does she - how does anyone - know he's really dead? The answers - and the other part of her dad's life - have to be in Alaska. A
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
A big thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Leaving Year is a beautifully written, emotional coming of age story of a girl whose father, a fisherman, is presumed drowned during a fishing trip. It's a story about coming to terms with the fact that her father might never return home, learning things about him that she never knew before and how to deal with them.

I am usually not a fan of slow-paced stories and this book s
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes when I finish a novel I feel a sense of loss. Not because the story made me sad or depressed but more because I've turned the last page and the story is over! That is exactly how I felt after The Leaving Year. From the first few pages I was drawn in and wanted to keep reading. The story was engaging and the characters true to life and compelling.

Ida's relationship with her mom and her teen psyche reminded me a little bit of myself at that age and wouldn't I have LOVED going on a summer
Kathryn Berla
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
3.75 Picked this up after it got a starred review in School Library Journal. I loved the book but graded it down for all the telling that happens in the last 20%. My favorite part--the nautical terms that are explained at the beginning of each chapter and which have been adopted into common parlance. For instance: "by and large: By is into the wind, while large is with the wind; used to indicate all possible situations." Who knew? I never did so it was fascinating for me.
I also liked reading ab
David Owen Hastings
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Pam McGaffin's debut novel is the story of Ida Petrovich, a young woman growing into her own skin. But it's also so much more, and has great depth. McGaffin deftly weaves questions about race and social mores into a tale with a mystery running throughout: what really happened to Ida's father, who disappeared while fishing in Alaska? I found it very hard to put down, but I also wanted it to last. McGaffin's characters are real and varied — people who are distinctly individualistic. It was a joy t ...more
Monique Maggiore
Dec 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I would rate this book between 3-3.5 stars. The first part of the book is very slow moving and not a lot happens in the first part. The second and third part of the book picks up that makes it a little more enjoyable. I felt the second and third part of the book was a lot different from the first part of the book and I felt that it was detached. McGaffin has interesting characters and events in the book. This book was a little too long, the book should have ended half-way through part three.
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I don’t think I realized that this was a YA novel when I bought it, but it makes sense. I bought this book from a local bookstore on a trip to Anacortes, WA a couple of months ago. The bookseller said the story is really about the mother and daughter. After reading it, I can see that, but I also think this is a story about how a young woman deal with grief and tries to integrate that grief into who she is. Overall, it was a sweet story and I would recommend it. The storyline is unique, the atten ...more
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received a free copy of this book and voluntarily chose to review. This is an incredible story that you won't be able to put down. You'll need some tissues but it's definitely worth it. This story is fascinating and addictive from page one. A must have for any occasion. A very well formed book that keeps you guessing until the end. I'm completely in love with the characters as well. I look forward to reading more from this author. I more than recommend this book for anyone teen/YA and up. ...more
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Complete review available: The Leaving Year

A really strong and moving story set in a place and culture not typically over-explored. The Leaving Year brought something different to the typical tale of self-discovery with some beautifully-written prose to top it all off. I was a little uncertain on Ida (for a 16-year-old there were a couple of moments she felt more like 13 or 14), and times when the pacing felt a little off-kilter (but overall actually turned out OK), though as a whole the book wa
Leeanne Chandler
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I initially bought this book because it was written by a fellow high school classmate. The story line is very engaging. I particularly like the use of nautical terms defined at the beginning of each chapter and loosely interpreted within the chapter. The story is set in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska in the 60's, which brings back fond memories of the part of the country that I love.

Well done Pam. Here's to publishing at least two more books before our next high school reunion.
Penelope Reed
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Leaving Year is definitely one of my very favorite books. Throughout the novel, readers are able to experience Ida coming to terms with her father's disappearance while navigating her relationship with her mother as well as new relationships she develops throughout her journey. All the characters feel authentic and fit perfectly into the sincere and insightful tone throughout the story. Definitely a must-read. ...more
Cristie Underwood
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
Ida is on a journey to find her father in this novel, but the journey switches to one of finding herself. The author did a great job of capturing the pain and hope Ida feels in her journey. I love books that make me feel for the characters so intently and this one did that! I highly recommend this!
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. My third book this year about Alaska. But unfortunately the story didn’t move there until more than half way. I like a good YA read occasionally and was excited about the premise of this book. But as noted it took a while before the book really took off. Also, while I loved the main character/narrator, she came across more as 13/14 yo than 15/16. While I was hoping for more from this story, I still enjoyed it.
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was taken by Ida's journey, finding herself and seeking her father, and also by the information about fishing, canneries, and the Tlingit culture in Alaska. Some good in-depth emotional processing by her and her mother as they uncover secrets about Ida's father. I'm a sucker for Alaska books, and enjoyed this one very much. ...more
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating sub-text to The Leaving Year is its acknowledgement of the Pacific Northwest's Filipino-American community. I related to Ida's love interest Sam. I knew many Sams in my Navy town of Oak Harbor. My only quibble with him is that he was an only child. The kids I knew came from large families. And who knew that Olongapo City meant old man's head? This was a wonderful book, even for us baby boomer young adults. ...more
Felicia Allen
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Ida's father disappears on a fishing boat and presumed dead. She realizes that she doesn't really know all that much about him. Through a series of events, she ends up runnnig away to Alaska. While she is there, she discovers much more than stories about her father. ...more
Sep 28, 2018 rated it liked it
This book took awhile to engage me. I am really glad I stayed with it because the story as it unfolds is pretty satisfying.
Checked a lot of boxes:
Set in Pacific NW
Character is my contemporary
Different cultures, points of view
Looking beyond first impressions of characters
Jan Schleh
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When Ida's father doesn't return from a fishing trip, Ida's life changes forever. Beautifully written, set in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, McGaffin takes the reader on a powerful coming of age journey, where teens fall in love, follow their heart, and find their truth. A great read from a debut author. ...more
Briana Alzola
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I quite enjoyed this. We read it for our book club and had McGaffin in to talk about the book. It's always fun to read a book set in your home town and to see the things around you from a new perspective. ...more
Smart Bookaholics Inc Bookstore
What a charming whole hearted read! I didn't know what to expect with this one but do glad I decided to read it! Thank you netgalley for the free arc in exchange for an honest review! ...more
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A compelling story, well crafted, and definitely worth reading. She masterfully created a suspenseful plot line about an adolescent that had me wanting to keep reading it to the very end.
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Pam McGaffin always knew she would write books when she grew up.

So, after a long career in journalism and public-relations, she quit her day job and went to work. After seven years (but who’s counting) of writing, editing and querying, her debut novel, The Leaving Year, was published by SparkPress Aug. 14, 2018.

Pam’s short stories have appeared in the online literary journals, Eclectica and Amaril

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