The Gaps by Leanne Hall is a YA contemporary phycological fiction novel set in Australia. According to NetGalley, this book will be published February 8, 2022 although Goodreads and Amazon say it was published in March 2021.
When sixteen-year-old Yin Mitchell is abducted, the news reverberates through the whole Year Ten class at Balmoral Ladies College. As the hours tick by, the girls know the chance of Yin being found alive is becoming smaller and smaller.
Police suspect the abduction is the work of a serial offender, with none in the community safe from suspicion. Everyone is affected by Yin’s disappearance—even scholarship student Chloe, who usually stays out of Balmoral drama, is drawn into the maelstrom. And when she begins to form an uneasy alliance with the queen of Year Ten, Natalia, things get even more complicated.
Looking over their shoulders at every turn, Chloe and Natalia must come together to cope with their fear and grief as best they can. A tribute to friendship in all its guises, The Gaps is a moving examination of vulnerability and strength, safety and danger, and the particular uncertainty of being a young woman in the world.
This was ok but definitely not what I expected. There definitely is a girl who goes missing but while it is mentioned often and is the catalyst for a lot of actions, it’s not really the focus and this is not a thriller or mystery as I was expecting. This book really is more about how two of the girls at the school are dealing with their classmate’s disappearance.
Chloe was an interesting character and I liked her chapters the best. However, so much of her storyline was focused on her art/photography which is not my thing. This may work really well for some people but I just don’t like modern art and so most of that plot was confusing or just not interesting. I was much more interested in her realizations about race and gender and finding her place in this school that she really didn’t fit into. I would have enjoyed it more without the art piece.
Natalia was a hot mess. Now, she deserves her feelings given the situation and I get that she may react strangely to Yin’s disappearance but reading about it was a chaotic mess. I still don’t totally understand her motivations for a lot of things. I just didn’t like her or really understand her character, she seemed to change her personality continuously.
There was definitely some good stuff in here but it just wasn’t written in a way that I liked. The art discussions went over my head and there was a lot of angsty fluff between the good stuff. If you were into modern art, this might be one to pick up but without understanding that piece of it, it was a middle of the road read for me.
*I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.