Mini Reviews: Wrecked by Maria Padian & Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig


WreckedGenre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Date Published: October 4 2016
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Pages: 368
Buy: Amazon // Book Depository // Algonquin Young Readers
Follow Maria Padian on Twitter

Everyone has heard a different version of what happened that night at MacCallum College. Haley was already in bed when her roommate, Jenny, arrived home shell-shocked from the wild Conundrum House party. Richard heard his housemate Jordan brag about the cute freshman he hooked up with. When Jenny formally accuses Jordan of rape, Haley and Richard find themselves pushed onto opposite sides of the school’s investigation. But conflicting interests fueling conflicting versions of the story may make bringing the truth to light nearly impossible–especially when reputations, relationships, and whole futures are riding on the verdict.

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I received an copy of this via Algonquin Young Readers and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

** Trigger Warning: This book and review mentions rape and sexual assault. **

Wrecked focuses around a girl named Haley who comes back to her dorm to find her roommate Jenny in an emotional state. Jenny reveals to Haley that she was raped by another student, Jordan. Through a series of events Haley meets a guy named Richard who just so happens to be Jordan’s roommate. Both Haley and Richard are involved on opposite sides of the investigation and Wrecked follows as they struggle to deal with what is happening around them.

I read this book a while ago and I’m still not sure I can properly articulate my thoughts on it. Just setting this post up has brought back all the emotions I experienced whilst reading which was mostly anger. Not because the book was bad or did an awful job portraying rape, but because it was so devastatingly realistic to what has happened so many times in society.

I really enjoyed the writing style in Wrecked, between each chapter that alternated in view points of Haley and Richard, we’d get a flashback to the night Jenny was raped. I felt like it was definitely the strongest point of the book. Normally I love Multi POVs, but in this book I found myself just wanting to get to the flashbacks or the chapters were Hayley was with Jenny.

I really loved Jenny as a character. I admired her strength. I appreciate that Maria Padian didn’t make her into the stereotypical Strong Female Character. Jenny went through a wide range of thoughts and feelings throughout the book which was completely understandable.

For me personally, Haley and Richard were not likable characters. Haley was extremely selfish at times and Richard was nearly always a misogynistic asshole who would even at times make rape jokes. He may not have necessarily been on Jordan’s side, but that doesn’t excuse his actions. He only had a smidgen of character development by the end of the book. I know it can’t have been easy for Haley to know how to handle what Jenny was going through, but she constantly acted like what she was dealing with was worse. There was another character, Carrie, who was a feminist (and who I thought was the only character who made any sense) and the way she was treated really bugged me. She was Richard’s ex and both he and Haley were quite awful to her. In fact, Richard met Haley whilst he was following Carrie around because she broke up with him. Talk about creepy. Haley and Richard are the reason why I didn’t give this book 5 stars, but I couldn’t give it less than a 4 because everything else was handled brilliantly.

It was really informative seeing how rape cases are dealt within a college. Wrecked showed every step of the progress from the report to the trial (or lack thereof). It really brought to light how the victim in rape cases are treated. I honestly got so angry having to see Jenny constantly try and prove and justify herself whilst Jordan was automatically believed to be innocent. It was interesting seeing the way other students of the college reacted to what was happening. The ending was heartbreaking and devastatingly realistic. There was also a great discussion on consent. I found myself tearing up during so many points of this book because it’s just not fair.

It’s hard to say anything more because the book heavily focuses on the case surrounding Jenny. I think it’s important to experience the ups and downs of it yourself, without prior knowledge, as it really helps drive across the point the book is trying to make. I think it’s a book everyone should read.




Last Seen Leaving

Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
Date Published: October 4 2016
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 336
Buy: Amazon // Book Depository // Pan Macmillan
Follow Caleb Roehrig on Twitter

Flynn’s girlfriend has disappeared. How can he uncover her secrets without revealing his own?

Flynn’s girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking questions he can’t answer, and her friends are telling stories that don’t add up. All eyes are on Flynn—as January’s boyfriend, he must know something.

But Flynn has a secret of his own. And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January’s disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.

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I received an ARC of this via Pan Macmillan and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

** Trigger Warning: This book mentions sexual assault and violence **

Last Seen Leaving is Gone Girl meets Looking For Alaska and I absolutely loved it. Even though it is a much more tame version of Gone Girl, for me, it got everything right that the latter got wrong – especially the ending.  It’s honestly so hard to review this book because basically everything is a spoiler, but I’m going to try my best!

Flynn’s girlfriend, January, has gone missing and on top of being a suspect in the investigation he’s also struggling with his sexuality. One of the things I loved about this book is that there was no absent parents and Flynn’s parents were also extremely understanding and progressive. Flynn was a really likable main character and I really enjoyed being in his head. He was easy to connect with and had the perfect amount of sarcastic humour that I love without it being overbearing. I even liked the slight bit of romance we had in this book, which is rare for me.

January is an enigma almost. A lot of you aren’t going to like her. She’s the kind of complex that can appear as pretentious. If you weren’t a fan of Alaska Young then chances are you won’t be a fan of January either. However, I loved her. I found her so incredibly fascinating and I couldn’t get enough of her and the glimpses we got on her life and personality.

I can’t recommend enough that you go into this book blind. The mystery is one of the best parts. It was such a page turner and I was constantly second guessing myself. I can normally predict thrillers, but this one had me guessing until the very end. Every time I thought I figured it out things got turned upside down. It can be very vague at times, but again that’s something I love. It’s equality character and plot driven. We meet so many people along the way that all have a part to play in January’s disappearance and it’s intertwined brilliantly.

Last Seen Leaving has everything I love in a book diverse and complex characters, a brilliant mystery and and a ending you don’t see coming. If you’re a fan of thrillers or want to try reading your first one then definitely check this out. I can’t wait to see what Caleb Roehrig writes next!




Have you read Wrecked or Last Seen Leaving? Are they on your TBR?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

I hope you’re all having a fantastic day xx

27 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: Wrecked by Maria Padian & Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

  1. Having had some time to think about this book more thoroughly, I will admit I agree–Haley and Richard are not necessarily the BEST characters ever. But…to be honest, I think that might also have been a point Maria Padian was attempting to make? I might be wrong….but I’m pretty sure each and every character was written EXACTLY the way they were for a purpose, and the fact that Haley and Richard are sort of…terrible? about certain things only drove their purpose home for me. I mean…nobody is perfect, EVER–and I think Maria knew exactly what she was doing, writing these characters the way she did.

    Great review post, Lauren! I haven’t read Last Seen Leaving yet so I skipped over that one because I don’t want to spoil myself, but I’ll be returning to this post once I HAVE read it to see what you said about it. 🙂


    1. Thanks, Beth! You bring up a really good point. That would definitely make sense. I suppose the author was going for something as realistic as possible and like you said not everyone in real life is perfect. Their characters were the only issues I had though otherwise I loved this book (loved always seems like the wrong word!) and it was super important and handled everything brilliantly.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. *nodnodnod* Me too. I’ve seen a lot of not-so-great reviews, though, and I’m always kind of like… “I mean, I know you can have your own opinion, but…I think you’re sort of missing the point?” usually because they’re always so pissed off that it doesn’t “offer an answer.” ….guys, authors aren’t super heroes! You can’t expect them to have ALL the answers and to make everything magically better in reality. It doesn’t work that way? Sometimes, things happen that will never have answers? XD

            Haha, sorry–mini rant over now. It just bugs me.


  2. Great reviews for both of these books Lauren. I’ve had Wrecked on my to-read list for a while and your review has honestly made me want to get around to it that little bit sooner. It sounds like a great story and it’s wonderful that the portrayal of rape in a college setting was realistic as well. I love that we’re seeing more books that deal with this topic in YA, it’s really becoming a much more diverse genre isn’t it?
    Also I am so so excited for Last Seen Leaving, I need to get a copy so I can start that book ASAP. It sounds brilliant and I will definitely be going into it blind. I have no clue what happens beyond what the blurb has told me and I guess I’ll be surprised by what happens at the end then!


  3. Last Seen Leaving sounds so good. And that cover… I need to read that in 2017. I read and reviewed Wrecked a while back and I also thought the author handled the topic well. I definitely think it was a bit selfish for Haley and Richard to sort of check out in that situation. I’m willing to bet that happens often with rape cases. It’s a shame what goes on now at colleges. The only problem is that it was not a cut and dry case. It was so hard for me to flat out blame Jordan when he thought it was consensual and was also drunk. I think those types of situations are so hard to judge and even harder for courts and schools to figure out where the blame lies. It seemed like a very reasonable depiction of what would happen in that scenario. As always, Lauren, excellent reviews.


    1. I loved it! I hope you enjoy it too.

      I appreciate how well it was handled. Yeah, definitely. It was really realistic which I appreciate. It’s definitely not an easy situation to be in and I can understand why Richard and Haley weren’t always ‘there’. They were really the only issue I had though. Otherwise this book was super important.

      Thanks, Jill!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t read Wrecked, yet, but I have heard a lot of great things about it and about how raw and realistic it is. It definitely seems like an important read that covers a very relevant topic. That’s one of the ones that is on my TBR for next year. As for Last Seen Leaving, THAT BOOK. I love that book so much. I’ve been randomly rereading parts of it lately because I’m still not over it. It’s still one of my top reads of this year. I love how it always kept me guessing and I remember my jaw dropping at the ending. I so didn’t expect it. Plus, I love how it was more than just the mystery and also very much explored Flynn and his story/journey. Great reviews, Lauren! 😊


  5. Two great reviews, Lauren! I don’t know how I’d deal with reading Wrecked, the fact that this book seemed so realistic to you it hurts kind of makes me a bit….scared to read it? I’m not sure I’d handle all the feelings and the harsh reality of things, though books like these are definitely necessary;
    I really like the sound of Last Seen Leaving, and a mix between Gone Girl and Looking for Alaska? YES PLEASE, that sounds awesome; I love that you couldn’t predict it, at all. I don’t read lots of thrillers to be honest, but I do love a good mystery, especially one that keeps you turning the pages, so I might give it a try 🙂


    1. Thanks so much, Marie! Wrecked definitely wasn’t an easy read. It definitely reminds you that real life doesn’t always have a happy ending that we see so often in books. I really appreciate it for addressing the topics it did though.

      Last Seen Leaving was so good. I know that you loved LFA so I think you’ll really like this one too! It’s great for people who don’t normally read thrillers too because whilst that is a huge part of the plot it’s really character driven too.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great reviews, Lauren! Really, really want to get my hands on both of these books. I’ve heard a lot about Last Seen Leaving and there are so few really great YA mystery/thriller books out there, so I’m definitely looking forward to reading that one, especially as you mentioned there’s diverse characters and a good twist! 🙂


  7. Ooh. The sexual assault sounds disturbing. Horrible that it does happen so often IRL.
    Glad you liked the books…I’ve heard of Wrecked but not Last Seen Leaving.
    Great review, Lauren!


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