Cover Image: The Leaving Party

The Leaving Party

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Ava is leaving to start a new life in New York with Ben.  Lena her best friend and housemate is throwing on last party for her before she jets off.  The day starts of badly. Ava receives a black rose. She’s been getting them for the last twelve years on the anniversary of an event we learn about during the course of the book. 
During the night. More roses appear and strange things start happening. So the person Ava fears most must be one of her friends.  But who?
The story is told during the evening by both Ava and Lena with flashbacks to 2005.  
Started slowly then build up to a crescendo. I couldn’t stop turning the pages fast enough. High five for Lesley Sanderson. A thoroughly engaging read.
Thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for the arc in return for an honest review.
#theleavingparty. #lesleysanderson #bookouture
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Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review of it.

The story revolves around two main characters Ava and Lena. The story is told in the present day with every other chapter a flashback to 2005. The story gives a picture of an obsessive friendship, where one character will do anything in their power to stop the other one from leaving and moving on with their life. The story begins and ends with a party, the events of the first one overshadow the events at the second one. 

When one of the women has no other friends beyond this one friendship, they try to hang on tooth and nail to the other one. They try to isolate them from other friends, from their family, layer lie upon lie, scare them with the past. They hide their things (cell phone, passport) in an effort to force them to stay. An interesting take on the word 'obsession'.
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I sat down to read this book before dinner... and didn't put it down until I fell asleep that night. I mean... who needs to eat when there's a crazy psychopath taunting Ava about a tragic event from her past. 

For years, Ava's received a black rose on the anniversary of the event she's tried so hard to forget. But now that she's leaving the UK for good to be with her handsome boyfriend Ben in the US, the taunts have increased. On the day of Ava's leaving party-- so perfectly planned by her best friend Lena-- black roses and a black cake are delivered and now Ava's passport is missing. Whoever has been torturing her for the past 13 years wants to make this leaving party a night to remember. 

Ava's friends and co-workers are all at her house to wish her well... or are they? Is one of her friends responsible for the black roses? What exactly is their end game? You'll have to read the book to find out!
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This story is told in two timelines. Past, present and between two characters, friends.

We learn that something happened years ago that overshadows them. 
So when a leaving party is noted and strange things start to happen, it’s spooky and concerning.

It’s a good premise to the story and I enjoyed it, however, as the heat started and I was expecting kind kings of flame with pitch power and pace, it just didn’t happen.
I was trying to urge myself to get excited but it just kept the same momentum.
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this book was just ok to me.  the story of two friends and what bound them together.   it was told in both their voices, the secret was fairly predictable.  a bit slow going but ok
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I didn't connect with this book at all since I found the plot unbelievable and predictable at the same time. I didn't relate to the characters or their lives ... just didn't do it for me.
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Unfortunately I'm struggling to find anything I really liked about this book. The plot was relatively obvious from the first couple of chapters, the switched perspectives and parallel narratives of the two parties took me a while to get my head around, none of the characters were particularly likeable/relatable, and ultimately this just fell short for me. I basically only finished it to confirm what I thought I already knew.
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At its core, this is very much a story about the toxicity of codependency. 
The real intriguing in this one is the various relationships, particularly that of Lena and Ava. They have an unusual and smothering relationship, which Ava wants to break away from while Lena wants to continually cling to it. This showcases the difficulty in setting boundaries in an unhealthy codependent relationship. 
Escapism is another running theme in this book. In Lena's case, pretending things aren't happening and hoping they will go away. In Ava's case, running away from problems and from the past and believing those things won't follow her. It stands to show how disillusioned our main characters really are. 

As for the mystery at its center, it was bit of slow burn which I didn't mind. If you read these types of book often, you will figure it out fairly quickly, however, that didn't deter my enjoyment of the book. I enjoyed how things were slowly unraveled and came together in the end. Overall, I found the ending to be a satisfying one that continued the ongoing theme of codependency and escapism presented throughout the rest of the novel.  

Thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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"The Leaving Party" is the story of Ava and Lena, best friends since they were young, and inseparable as adults. Until now: Ava is leaving to live in New York with her boyfriend, Ben, and Lena doesn't know what she's going to do without her. She can't let her best friend go without a send-off, so she arranges a surprise party in Ava's honour. But Ava may not be the only surprised by the party, and maybe Lena will have to say goodbye to more than just her friend...

The story zigzags between two timelines - a party attended by the two girls thirteen years before, and the titular leaving party set in the present day. At the former, we are aware that something terrible and tragic occurred, which is gradually revealed in flashbacks; at the former, things start unravelling for Ava as it appears someone is trying to sabotage her move to America. 

I enjoyed both storylines, and the author does a great job of slowly increasing the tension. There are plenty of twists and turns, and I genuinely couldn't decide who was responsible for Ava's misfortunes. I enjoyed trying to unpick the final twist, and also watching the friendship of Lena and Ava both form and unravel. 

A tense, well-paced thriller with some real surprises. I look forward to reading more from this author. 

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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What an intense read, I was captivated from the start. This book goes back and forth from what happened at the party back in 2005 when Ava and Lena were teenagers, to present-day at Ava’s leaving party, and Ava and Lena’s POV. 
Ava is about to leave the country to live with her fiancé Ben, Ava and Lena have been inseparable since they were teens, and more so after events in 2005 when Lena saved Ava’s life, Lena wants to throw a leaving party that will be remembered, planning every last detail. But strange things happen during the party, black roses appearing, who is sending them? Everyone is under suspicion.
All of the time I was reading it I suspected one person, it had to be them surely, oh how wrong I was. It was full of twists and turns not just in the present but in the past too.
This is the first book I have read by Lesley Sanderson but wow, she wrote this so well and it flowed smoothly, I will be looking out for more of her books.
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Ava is going to join Ben in New York. Her best friend Lena has organised a leaving party for her in the house they share. But what begins as a straightforward farewell attended by friends and work colleagues quickly descends into a nightmare for Ava.

The bulk of this story takes place during the party held in the house shared by Ava and Lena. In between there are glimpses of the girls' lives 15 years back and a tragic accident which has affected both of them.  Each year on the anniversary of the accident Ava has received a black rose.  She has no idea who is sending them, but feels they mean her harm. Tonight, as she looks forward to her new life with Ben in America, another rose arrives.  As the guests join her Ava begins to analyse each of them, wondering if they could be behind the tormenting symbol she has received for the last 13 years. Could one of her close friends or work colleague want to do her harm? And if so, why?
Told from Ava and Lena's perspective this story is cleverly written so the deeper you get into it, the more suspects there are to choose from.  Everyone, it appears, has a motive.

Highly recommended.
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~This ARC has been gently provided in exchange for an honest review~

The story is mainly told by Ava and her best friend Lena. First of all, we know that it has been an accident. A woman has been hit by a car and it seems like she's dead.

Most of the story happens at the leaving party Lena has organised for Ava, who is going to the USA -in a couple of days- to live with her fiancé. Therefore, she should be happy, but someone has been reminding her a terrible accident that happened 13 years ago. A black rose has been sent to her all those years on the anniversary of the accident. It seems like someone is trying to take revenge. Her leaving party was supposed to be a moment to share with her friends, to spend one of her last days in the country with them and have a good time, but it turns out quite the opposite.

In summary, the leaving party is a twisty story about revenge and an obsessive friendship.
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This is told from the perspective of two best friends who have been inseparable for years. During a leaving part for Ava mysterious events start taking place. This is a fantastic book which will grip you and keep you guessing from the very beginning.
There are secrets, obsession, manipulation, lies and revenge, the plot will keep you hooked. I really like that the chapters are short and snappy, it has made this a read which is impossible to put down.
There is nothing negative I can say about this book, it has been a fantastic read which I devoured in a matter of hours. My first read by this author which is definitely five stars worthy. I cannot wait to read more by this author.
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This was a slog for me. It's a story of two best friends told from alternating points of views and going back and forth between 2005 and present-day.

- Ava and Lena are best friends and roommates. Lena is throwing a leaving party for Ava who is moving to the United States from London to live with her boyfriend. The first thing I disliked about this book were the two main characters. Ava was a weak, codependent, whiny woman and Lena was just as unlikable for the opposite reasons.

- The writing style was not my taste. It read like a bad YA novel. Lots of repetition and melodrama going on. These women were suppose to be adult women but they sure didn't act like it. It did go back and forth in time to when they were in high school to the present, but it all felt like high school.

_ The thriller part was very predictable and I figured it out so early on that I really struggled with the rest of the book. I didn't find there to be any twist and turns. I will give it credit for being a fast read thankfully.

Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for the book in exchange for an honest opinion. I'm giving this a 2
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Thank you to Lesley, Bookouture, and Netgalley for an advanced copy of The Leaving Party.

The Leaving Party is a multi-POV thriller featuring flashbacks to the past.  Lena and Ava have been inseparable forever, mainly because of a terrifying incident they experienced together as kids.  When Ava decides to leave England to join her fiance in New York for a brand new life, Lena throws her a leaving party that no one will forget.  

The story itself wasn't mindblowingly original, however it was a nice break from the run of domestic thrillers I've been into lately.  I always enjoy a good 'secret from the past' plot and secrets involving friends gets me hooked as well.
The characters were neither lovable or dislikable.  I didn't necessarily care for Ava or Lena, nor the supporting cast but it didn't deter me from enjoying the story.  I found both main characters to be somewhat self-absorbed and only interested in their own gains.
The twists were okay.  I didn't see the entire thing coming and there were a couple of misleads that I fell for.  The main twist however I did kind of figure out.  I knew the party/parties involved to a degree.  That doesn't make me dislike a book (I actually get really excited when I figure it out ahead of time!) but I know a lot of people don't enjoy when they can guess.
Overall, a quick engrossing read.
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I loved the first quarter of this book but as it progressed I struggled to keep on top of the narrative. I wasn't always sure who's chapter I was reading and sadly was disappointed by the ending. However I did really enjoy the pace of the storyline.
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This was a fun and quick read.  Ava and Lena's friendship was interesting to read about.  The flashbacks were good.  My favorite part is that most of the book happens in one night.
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Oh my goodness -I think I need therapy after this book has drawn me in , chewed me up and spat me out!  What a dark , bewitching psychological thriller this is. The Leaving Party is the culmination of 13 years of mental torment inflicted upon Ava, black roses arriving each year on the anniversary of the death of a young girl , killed in a car accident caused as she swerved to avoid a drunken Ava lurching into the road in front of her. Ava' s life was saved that night by her close friend , Lena , who now shares her flat and her life . The girls have been inseparable since that awful night-Ava' s parents even had her live with them as part of their family, partly in gratitude for saving their daughter's life and partly out of guilt for previously distrusting her and considering her a bad influence. The Leaving Party is supposed to be a farewell for Ava as she embarks on a new life in America ,with her fiancee ,Ben but despite throwing the party in her honour, Lena does all she can to persuade her friend to stay . However , events spiral out of control at the party and nothing is as it seems. Who is tormenting Ava ? Are they at the party? I guarantee you won't be able to put this book down until you get the answers- and they won't be what you are expecting! A thoroughly engaging read which I highly recommend
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Thank you to Netgalley & Bookouture for my advanced copy.
Chilling and suspenseful, with excellent characters and a perfect pace. I will be looking for more books by Lesley Sanderson.
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Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

In "The Leaving Party", Lesley Sanderson has written a compelling thriller with a palpable sense of tension and menace. This is very much an edge-of-your-seat novel which will either leave you holding your breath or with a temporary nervous twitch.... waiting and waiting for the inevitable explosion that ties present events with past ones. Sanderson proves masterful not only with her tautly constructed plot, but in the subtle ways she ratchets up the sense of suspense... bit by bit. Switching between events of 2005 and the present day, Sanderson paints a convincing picture of the tangled interplay of human relations that are both complex and twisted; where a façade of humanity hides the darkness that lurks just beneath the surface. The moral of the story? Well, that's easy. Be carefully who you trust. Not everything is as it seems.

A real page-turner.
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