Tag Archives: Caleb Roehrig

Review: Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

Last Seen Leaving
Caleb Roehrig
Feiwel & Friends
October 4, 2016

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Book Depository


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.

My Review

LAST SEEN LEAVING is the first of three murder mystery/suspense type books that I’ve read lately, which is a little odd for me only in that I read them almost in a row. Most years I maybe read one or two, tops. I actually really enjoyed all three books, though.

Earlier this year I read WHITE RABBIT by Caleb Roehrig, and loved it. I love the unusual choice of character names he uses in both books. I thought WHITE RABBIT was a more polished book, which makes sense since it’s Roehrig’s second novel. In both books the main character totally drew me in so I felt connected to his emotional journey.

In LAST SEEN LEAVING, part of Flynn’s journey is recognizing something he’s not ready to admit to himself. While it may clear him of involvement in January’s disappearance, admitting it undoubtedly changes his life.

But Flynn’s not the only one who has secrets. As he looks more deeply into January’s disappearance, he discovers she may have played a role with him and perhaps he was too busy protecting his secret to notice hers.

I liked that element to the book. Again, it made Flynn reevaluate whether keeping his secret was the right choice. Was it causing him to hurt other people in ways he hadn’t considered?

Another thing that comes up in the book is unreported sexual assault. While nothing happens on scene in the story, some of the characters have really strong, evocative responses when (briefly) describing their experiences. Sensitive readers should be aware. Check my content notes section for more information.

Overall, I liked LAST SEEN LEAVING a lot, and I’m very much looking forward to reading DEATH PREFERS BLONDES because it totally looks as though it will have the same serious murder mystery packed with quirky, fabulous characters.

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 15 up.

The main character is gay. One of his friends is also gay and from a conservative Muslim family.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
So there’s a LOT of really strong profanity in this book. More than 70 instances of f*** and many instances of other words.

Romance/Sexual Content – Trigger Warning
A boy and girl kiss. She pressures him for sex. He refuses. Two boys kiss. Rumors spread about a girl making a sexual advance at an older man. A man faces accusations about sexually abusing teenage girls.

Some of the accusations come from victims who only relate brief stories of their experiences, but they’re pretty shocking. It’s not the detail but the way you can tell the girls are still in the midst of dealing with the trauma. This might be triggering for some readers.

Spiritual Content

Violent Content – Trigger Warning
In a pretty intense scene, two characters battle for a gun.

In one scene, Flynn witnesses a man fatally shoot himself.

Drug Content 
Flynn comments in one scene that he hopes to be able to sneak beer at a family celebration. He references a tradition where kids all go for a hay ride and then sit around a bonfire where they drink alcohol and eat s’mores.

Note: This post contains affiliate links which cost you nothing but which help support this blog.

Review: White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig

White Rabbit
Caleb Roehrig
Feiwel & Friends
Published on April 24, 2018

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

About White Rabbit

Rufus Holt is having the worst night of his life. It begins with the reappearance of his ex-boyfriend, Sebastian—the guy who stomped his heart out like a spent cigarette. Just as Rufus is getting ready to move on, Sebastian turns up out of the blue, saying they need to “talk.” Things couldn’t get much worse, right?

But then Rufus gets a call from his sister April, begging for help. And then he and Sebastian find her, drenched in blood and holding a knife, beside the dead body of her boyfriend, Fox Whitney.

April swears she didn’t kill Fox—but Rufus knows her too well to believe she’s telling him the whole truth. April has something he needs, though, and her price is his help. Now, with no one to trust but the boy he wants to hate yet can’t stop loving, Rufus has one night to prove his sister’s innocence…or die trying.

My Review

It’s been a while since I read a book purely for the fun of it, but I think I needed this book. It was so much fun to read. I got carried away by mystery elements and the complex relationships between characters.

As the story progressed and Rufus drew closer and closer to the murderer, things got more and more dangerous. I was totally biting my nails and practically jumping at every noise while I read. Add to that the fact that Rufus has this really fabulous voice, which again made it great fun to read. I loved the side comments and the way the dialogue gave these light moments away from the tension without disrupting the storytelling.

I loved that Rufus (okay, first, I loved that he’s called Rufus. There aren’t enough Rufus characters in literature. Love it!) battles this deep anger, part of which seems perhaps hereditary and part of which might be environmental. But he doesn’t just make excuses about Hulking out. He recognizes how damaging it can be and really wrestles with his angry impulses. That made him so easy to understand and so admirable to me.

Also, I loved his relationship with his mom. It felt very real, and I felt like there was this great balance in the story where she was there, and obviously a big force in Rufus’s life, but the relationship with her didn’t dominate the story. I also loved the moment where one character has to confront a family member about a secret he’s been keeping. He’s worried the family member will reject him over it to the point that he’s expecting to lose the relationship. And instead, the family member talks about how they love him no matter what. We need those kinds of stories and moments, and the reminders that there are good parents out there, and that sometimes we expect to be rejected but are instead surprised by love and acceptance.

Anyway, I read this book in less than a day, I think. I had so much fun reading it, and I absolutely want to read Roehrig’s other book, LAST SEEN LEAVING.

Recommended for Ages 12 up.

Cultural Elements
Rufus and Sebastian are both gay. Sebastian is black.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Regular use of extreme profanity.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between two boys. References to sex. Some details leading up to the event. Some sexual comments.

Spiritual Content

Violent Content
Rufus has some pretty serious anger management issues which he speaks pretty candidly about. He’s trying his best to manage via medication and other healthy strategies, but he’s still bearing some consequences from fights in his past. In several scenes he’s very tempted to fight again. At one point a man threatens him and handles him pretty roughly. A couple characters are downright physically threatening. Someone fires a gun at another person in two scenes. A character threatens others with a gun in another scene. More than one character gets drugged.

Drug Content
Teen alcohol use is pretty normalized. Some references to smoking pot. References to a dangerous psychedelic drug that causes some violent outbursts.