Cover Image: The Leaving Party

The Leaving Party

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Member Reviews

Ava, the main character of this book, decides to move abroad with her fiancee. She will leave her best friend, Lena, her family, and her friends behind. And of course. Her past. Lena decides to throw a party for her. And on the d-day of the party, so many things happen.
Every year on that day, Ava recieves a single black rose. The black rose reminded her of an accident that happened 13 years ago. But, wait. On the 13th year, the rose is sent randomly. It is sent later than the usual date and it isn't only one rose but more. What will happen? Is it going to be worse? Not only that but she also receives a cake with black icing and 13th on it, her phone and passport are missing, and her fiancee hasn't show up to the party. What the hill is happening?
The story is written in Ava and Lena's POVs with two time lines, the present and the past (2005). The story is normal paced, but it makes me curious so I read it fastly. The culprit(s) of everything that happens is easily guessed. The story isn't tense or heartgripping, but it makes you want to know more. I expected something more, but it is okay. All in all, it is a good book but the atmosphere isn't delivered well. Thank you for writing this book! :)
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When it is snowy and cold outside (and my car is buried under 2ft of ❄️ ), superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. LOL

I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review.  

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.

Every year on the same day, on the anniversary, I receive a single black rose. Thirteen years of dark petals, jagged thorns, dredging up memories I’ve tried to forget…

I’ve packed up my life. All my belongings are carefully sealed in labelled boxes, my suitcases ready for my big move. I’m just days away from a new life abroad with my boyfriend, Ben.  No one knows the real reason I’m desperate to leave.  My best friend, Lena, is throwing me a leaving party. A celebration, to say goodbye. Champagne to toast my farewell. Speeches, full of fond memories.  
No one knows what I’m running from.

Then another black rose appears, dragging up thirteen years of buried memories. My passport goes missing. The very people I am trying to escape from turn up at our house.  Someone knows what I did. This party was meant to be the first night of the rest of my life – but now I don’t know if I’ll see tomorrow.

Someone knows my secret. They’re in my home, they're at my party, and they’re making me pay for it.

What an addictive read - I got sucked in from page one and then went on a roller coaster ride of a read. You will enjoy the characters as they are well written and devious and the plot is a masterful mystery from an author I had not heard about before but will now look into reading more of her books. No, wait - this is a debut novel?  WOW.  Just WOW. WOW. WOW .

As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🎢 🎢  🎢  🎢  🎢
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3.5 stars

The Leaving Party by Lesley Sanderson is a psychological thriller.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Bookouture, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)

Ava is moving to New York to be with her boyfriend Ben, and her best friend Lena is throwing her a going away party.  Ava and Lena have been friends forever, and this move is going to be rough on both of them.

However, Ava will finally be able to start a new life, and maybe even forget the past.  New York should be far enough away from England.   She can leave everything behind.

But as the day of the party dawns, Ava receives a black rose, the reminder of that dreadful day that she doesn't want, much less need.   She will never forget the past.  Yet for 13 years,  she has receives a black rose on that anniversary.  As the day and party progresses,  more black roses appear, her phone goes missing, as does her passport, and her fiance Ben doesn't show up.  Could this day get any worse?

My Opinions:  

The book was about friendship and love.  It was also about lies, deceit, co-dependency, obsession and revenge.

The story alternates time-lines and points of view.  This is done very well, and nothing gets confused.  The chapters are relatively short, which makes the pace fast.   It is a quick read.  There were a lot characters, most of which were deep enough to understand, but unfortunately very few were actually likable.

The overall premise of the story is quite good, but somehow it lacked a final punch.  Everything was expected, and delivered, but no major "WOW" moments developed, not for me anyway. I did still enjoy it!
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4-5 stars!  
I had a very hard time putting this book down, as it was well written, intriguing, thrilling, and shocking!  It kept me tangled up in the twisted web of lies that the character had created and had me yearning to find out how she planned to untangle herself from it!  Lots of twists and turns, thrills, and chills!  I highly recommend to those who love a quick, fun, chilling read!  
Will make sure I buzz it up on all the different platforms!
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A simple leaving party. That is all Ava wants. That is what Lena promised. Leaving London and heading to New York to marry Ben is all she is hoping for. However, as she is getting ready for the party, she receives a black rose. This is very frightening to her, because it is not her first.

Meanwhile, she has been friends with Lena for years and Lean is not about to let her go. Will the party go okay or has what Lena plans for Ava really throw everything off kilter?

The story then shifts between the past and the present, with the past story also being a party. As the stories develop it is clear to see that the long friendship between Lena and Ava is more than a bit off. As things took time to develop I became a bit antsy for Ava. And I wanted to meet Ben. Instead, readers are seeing what the real drama that exists between Lena and Ava.

This is a well-crafted story that kept the suspense level tight, especially with the dual point of view. It is a marvelous thriller that captured my attention from the start. I do look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
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I’d like to thank Bookouture and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read ‘The Leaving Party’ by Lesley Sanderson in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

Over the past thirteen years Ava has been sent a black rose on the anniversary of an accident that took place in 2005.  Ava has decided to move to New York to be with her boyfriend Ben and her best friend Lena has arranged a farewell party on the night before she leaves.  Ava is convinced that the person sending the black roses will be at the party, but who is it?

From the description I was looking forward to reading ‘The Leaving Party’ but I’m afraid I found it hard to get into the story which to my mind was slow with no mystery, excitement or suspense, and I wondered if perhaps it was intended for a younger reader than myself.  I couldn’t empathise with Ava and Lena who I thought were shallow and unlikeable and the other characters flat, lifeless and uninspiring.  I really wanted to like this novel and kept reading in the hope that something would fire up my imagination but I’m sorry to say that I found little in it to enjoy.
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I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book as I’d never read Lesley Sanderson and it was my first Netgalley book, but I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed it! I loved the flow of this book and the different perspectives in the timelines. It gave just enough away to keep you curious and interested without giving away too much so as to be completely predictable. It was paced well and did not take long to get interesting. I also liked that the main characters were like able but also somewhat untrustworthy so it kept you guessing.
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The Leaving Party is a story about how one night can change your life. About what can happen when long-held secrets and toxic obsession collide. And makes us question how well we really know those we consider closest to us/around us.

Ava is on the cusp of a new life. in two days she's joining her boyfriend Ben in New York and she can finally leave behind the awful thing she did that's been haunting her for thirteen years. She's tried to move on but so far it's followed wherever she goes with the appearance of a single black rose on the same day every year. she's never told anyone, not even her best friend Lena who saved her life terrible, fateful night. But today one appears out of sequence, terrifying Ava and convincing her that her tormenter will be at the party and might just be planning their revenge. 

The backstory is slowly told in flashbacks of another party thirteen years ago. What happened that night cast a dark shadow over their lives and bound the pair together for the rest of their lives. Ava feels beholden to Lena for her actions that night and it’s clear that Lena plays on this, using it to keep Ava close and guilt her into accepting how she clings to her and wants her all to herself. The dynamic is unhealthy but Ava feels so indebted to Lena that she can’t see it clearly.  

I didn’t find Ava or Lena particularly likeable. Ava was a character I felt a bit indifferent about and I never particularly took to her or feel the connection you need with a character to really care about what happens to them. Though she talks about having done something awful and secretive, I never felt that tension or got the feeling she had done anything wrong, but sensed she felt a huge amount of guilt for causing an accident that ended in tragedy. Lena was different. I didn’t like or trust her from early on, and though she unnerved me I was able to feel her pain more keenly. As more of her character was revealed it was clear she had an unhealthy attachment to Ava and might benefit from some psychiatric help. She was a great character to read as though she's clearly unhinged we're never sure if she's the good or bad guy. 

I loved the premise of this book. It was full of mystery and started with tension in the air as Ava receives the rose that morning. Though it never reached a level where I was on the edge of my seat,  tension was added to the story with the mystery of what had happened to Ben, the influx of sinister, unwanted party gifts and Ava trying to figure out who she could trust and which guest was behind it all. I had suspicions about the suspect early on that ultimately proved true, but the author kept me on my toes with a number of viable suspects that each seemed to have equal merit and made it had to be sure who was the perpetrator.

The Leaving Party was a quick, easy and engaging read. It is perfect for those who enjoy mysteries that don’t have the gruesome element you often find in this genre.

Thank you to Bookouture and Netgalley for gifting me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you NetGalley for the ARC. 

Ava and Lena are the main characters who have been through a lot.  Especially 13 years ago.

The black roses on the anniversary of that night added  extra creep factor.  See every year on that day, Ana receives a black rose which brings her back to that night.  In order to get away, Ava is moving.  She claims she's moving away to be with her boyfriend, but I truly don't think thats the point.  There's a lot of mind f*(*ing in it. 

Its told in two different timelines and isn't too hard to follow. 

Thank you again NetGalley
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2 POV and 2 friends and the dark secrets between them was the premise of this book.

Lena and Ava were two best friends since school. Something happened in a party attended by them which cast a dark shadow even in the present time lines. Ava threw a party when Lena was leaving her job, but there was something she was running from in reality.

My first book by author Lesley Sanderson, the premise was great. The story had different plot lines of lies and betrayal along with revenge. Lena was being tormented by someone for the past 13 years and that person was at the party. I liked how the author managed to get the past and present moving together.

The story was slow paced and suspense was low, it was not an atmospheric read that I expected. But it still managed to entertain me as I wanted to know who the culprit was.

Overall, a good read.
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The Leaving Party is about Ava and Lena, two best friends living in a flat together. Ava is about to leave to go to the US with her boyfriend, Ben. Even though Lena is not happy about it, she has planned what is going to be a fantastic farewell party for Ava. Ava, however, has been keeping a huge secret from Lena. Every year, on the anniversary of an event which affected them both, Ava receives a black rose which makes her relive that fateful night all over again.

The plot sounded interesting and I was quite fascinated to find out what exactly had happened to them both thirteen years ago. However, I did not like either Ava or Lena at all. They both were quite needy and melodramatic in my opinion. This made it incredibly hard to get into the book.

The entire book happens during the farewell party. For people who drank such a strong rum punch, the partygoers were remarkably sober. But maybe they could hold their liquor better than mine. I also could not help wondering if they were having any fun between Ava's and Lena's antics. 

One detail that stood out for me was the fact that throughout the story Ava could not find her phone and so was unable to contact Ben. I don't know about other people but generally if you are in a relationship with someone, especially if you know them well enough to move in with them, you would be able to contact him/her without your phone. But maybe that's just me. 

The story did not really have a climax in my opinion. When the most traumatic event of the book happened, I do not even think my heart rate changed. It felt like just another part of the party. And when the villain was revealed, honestly I was not that surprised.

Violence: Moderate
Sexual Content: Sexual harassment is mentioned but it is not graphic
Profanity: A little swearing
Religious Themes: None
Alcohol/Drugs/Smoking: Some mention of social smoking and drinking. Underage drinking
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Wow! I couldn’t puts the book down! Amazing!

Lena is very sick woman, I’m glad she’s locked up by end of the page just wow! Ava seems confused and doesn’t understand what’s going on of her leaving party but, her sister Martha explains everything about Lena and her doings...Lena tried to get rid of Ben so she won’t be going anywhere but herself mostly...

Thanks to Netgalley for the advanced copy...
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Ava is moving to be with her boyfriend-not a minor change, but leaving the country. She's escaping, but first she has to get through her leaving party. When another black rose arrives on her doorstep the morning of the party, an anonymous reminder that 13 years later someone knows what she did and won't let her forget, Ava fears the sender may be a guest and how they want the night to end. 

The Leaving Party is a fun, quick read about secrets and obsession, and what happens when they collide. The story is told in two timelines, both present day and a different party in 2005. Everything happens in the course of one night. 

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC. The opinions in this review are honest and my own. #TheLeavingParty #suspense
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Ava is leaving her life to move to New York and marry Ben
Lena is her bezzy and lets just say she Isn’t that keen on Ava going, whatever she may be saying outwardly
But still she arranges a ‘leaving party’ full of surprises and wants to make it a night Ava wont forget, she succeeds! 

Of course there is a back story that intermingles with Ava and Lena’s chapters so it goes present ( at the party ) and past ( at another party) between them both, the other party is where something happens that comes back to haunt them both at this party! Not as confusing as I have made it seem 😃

There is a good mix of unwelcome guests at the leaving party including estranged sisters, ‘handy’ ex bosses and other folk who really shouldn’t be there

I wasn’t over keen on either Ava or Lena, both needy in different ways and the party itself in its description of being so great and wonderful felt anything but tbh ( not quite sure how people in books drink so much and mix everything for hours and literally usually just stagger a bit ) 

My main bugbear was Ava waiting for Ben to turn up from America for the party ( he is late ) and cant contact him as she doesn’t have his mobile number ‘to hand’ only her Mum does and she’s out having dinner and cant get it, a bit un surreal ( or surreal ) to me 

But it was a viable psychological thriller that did beg lots of questions from the reader, read well and easy and was a quick, non threatening read of at times suspense and at other times a look at obsessive friendship

3 Stars
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“Every year on the same day, on the anniversary, I receive a single black rose. Thirteen years of dark petals, jagged thorns, dredging up memories I’ve tried to forget”

Just these words in the blurb grabbed my attention so I jumped in. 

Ava is about to leave for a new start with her boyfriend Ben. Her friend Lena throws her a leaving party. When spooky stuff starts to happen she’s afraid her past is coming back to haunt her. 

This story took a bit of time to get into as we get two points of view as well as two different timelines. 

Once I got used to the way the story is being told I enjoyed the story. 

Can’t say I loved either of the characters but it’s got a good storyline.
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Lena and Ava have been friends forever.  But now Ava is leaving to trial to the US for a new life with her boyfriend Ben.
Something happened to Ava thirteen years ago that changed her life, and every year on the anniversary she receives a black rose, reminding her of what she has done.
Lena has organized a large going away party for Ava, and it becomes clear the the rose sender is at the party, and they want something.
A compelling story with a large cast of characters who could be the tormented, leaves no you guessing until the end.
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1..5 stars rounded up

I'm torn between giving it one or two stars. Sure, I always rounded up the half star, but at least, I know the real value.
Anyway, The Leaving Party took a lot of pages before it formed a suspense. But honestly, there was zero suspense on the book and I could careless about the girls, Lena and Ava.
Ava is leaving to her new life and her past is catching up to her fast. It was supposed to be thrilling as everything (even the flashback) was told in the span of one night. But I couldn't feel the tension, the suspense, the mystery.
And the real culprit was just, meh. 
It was a so-so book from the start to the end.
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In order to understand the present, the author takes us back to the past and the two main characters Lena and Ava do the talking.

During the whole story there is an air of secrecy and creepiness. What makes it even more sinister is that you don't know where the danger is coming from. Who can you trust? Who has your best interests at heart? Who wishes you the best life you can get? Only one answer is possible, right? It has to be your best friend. 

But if she is your best friend, why do you want to go to the other end of the world? Is she for real or does she lead you on a merry dance?

Who is keeping secrets? Or do they all have things to hide?

A party is synonym to fun, but a leaving party unlocks a whole range of emotions.

I finished the book in a day. I just had to know how it would come together. A gripping story that I most certainly enjoyed. 4 stars.

Thank you, Lesley Sanderson and Bookouture
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I really loved this book!! It had so many twists and turns. It kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next!! This was my first book by this Author, and it won’t be the last!! Quick read!! Highly recommended!! You won’t be disappointed!!
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Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the opportunity to read and review this book!

This story follows Lena and Ava, friends since High School, and bound together since a tragic accident.  Ava has leaned on Lena and are as close as sisters.  Ava has now become engaged and decides that it is the perfect time to move to America to be with her fiance.  To say that Lena is is not taking it well is an understatement.  She does not think that Ava will actually leave her behind, but she plans a surprise going away party for her best friend.  

Poor Ava has been tormented every year since a tragic incident at a high school party, and she receives a black rose on the anniversary every year.  On the evening of her going away party she receives another rose and she can't help but think that one of her guests have been the one sending them to her.While the night unfolds, more unsettling events take place and leaves Ava rattled.  Who can she trust in a houseful of friends a colleagues?

I enjoyed the flashbacks to 2005, it really adds to the character development.  Ava and her family are well off and put together, while Lena and her family are fractured and she is not used to the finer things in life.  I did feel like the pacing was on the slower side until about 50% in.  The second half of this story was spot on.  With a going away party, and plenty of culprits, you are left guessing until the end!

I will definitely recommend this book, and look forward to reading more from this author!
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