This is a very unique, unusual and entertaining mystery thriller. Really unlike anything I've read before. At the base of it is a teenage girl(Jenna) searching for her missing mother. Jenna must puzzle out why her mother, Alice, disappeared from the New England Elephant Sanctuary. What separates this mystery from others is that Picoult weaves the emotional lives of elephants with that of Jenna and Alice and other human characters. It's really haunting how she depicts grief and loss and can get to you emotionally at times. The character study of elephant behavior was done deftly was very interesting, especially how intertwined with the mystery.
Add to that a great cast of characters and an excellent conclusion. Jenna is one of the best characters I've read in years. She's funny, sassy, and independent, but yet vulnerable. After reading Leaving Time if you haven't been changed or emotionally touched then you may not be human. I'm a big macho weightlifter guy and it had me in tears at times. When a novel can affect me that much it indeed deserves high accolades. One of the best books I've read in ages! Admittedly, this book won't be for every one because it's an emotional roll-a-coaster of love and loss and it is different(much) from what most people have read. If you've read Picoult before or are fan I suspect you'll love Leaving Time. If you're new to her or you think this might not be for you, then I recommend you take the leap. You may find a gem!
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