Check out this new YA and an interview with the author... The Leaving Year by Pam McGaffin (Interview, Review & #Giveaway)

Welcome to my tour stop! You can find the tour schedule here. Check
out my review, an interview with the author, and the tour giveaway below...

The Leaving Year
By Pam McGaffin
YA Historical
Paperback & ebook, 352 Pages
August 14th 2018 by SparkPress


A coming-of-age YA novel about the daughter of a Pacific Northwest fisherman, whose presumed drowning in 1967 has her searching for answers, including whether or not he’s really dead.

As the Summer of Love comes to an end, 15-year-old Ida Petrovich waits for a father who never comes home. While commercial fishing in Alaska, he is lost at sea, but with no body and no wreckage, Ida and her mother are forced to accept a “presumed” death that tests their already strained relationship. While still in shock over the loss of her father, Ida overhears an adult conversation that shatters everything she thought she knew about him. This prompts her to set out on a search for the truth that takes her from her Washington State hometown to Southeast Alaska, where she works at a salmon cannery, develops love for a Filipino classmate, and befriends a Native Alaskan girl. In this wild, rugged place, she also begins to understand the physical and emotional bonds that took her father north and why he kept them secret—a journey of discovery that ultimately brings her family together and helps them heal. Insightful and heartfelt, The Leaving Year is a tale of love and loyalty, family and friendship, and the stories we tell ourselves in our search for meaning.


“If you're looking to add a heartwarming read to your Summer #TBR pile, The Leaving Year will be your go-to read.” ―PopSugar

"A charming, emotional story about family, fishing, and self-discovery.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“An atmospheric and richly layered coming-of-age novel with a protagonist to root for and a page-turning mystery. Family secrets, first love, a quest for truth, and a character who heals and expands her worldview through a journey to Alaska; what more can you ask for? I loved this thoughtful and uplifting story.” ―Kristin Bartley Lenz, award-winning author of The Art of Holding On and Letting Go

“Ida Petrovich, wise and brave beyond her years, takes us on an incredible journey as she seeks the truth about her father’s disappearance. Rich in period details of the 1960’s, and set against the spectacular backdrop of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, The Leaving Year, is a lovely story of youth, sorrow, and personal growth. Truly a Young Adult must-read.” ―Anne Leigh Parrish, author of The Amendment

"In Pam McGaffin’s exceptional debut, emotion bubbles right below the surface and weaves an addictive tale of mystery and forgiveness as Ida’s search for a missing father takes her on a remarkable journey to find herself." ―Jan Von Schleh, author of But Not Forever

"Pam McGaffin weaves a heartbreaking tale of loss and finding your way back. This coming-of-age tale is not to be missed." ―Lish McBride, award-winning author of the Necromancer and Firebug young-adult books

"The Leaving Year takes the reader to a time and a place that is not only singular, but beautifully familiar. Author Pam McGaffin has written a powerful story of loss and its unknowns, rife with grief and confusion, and weaves it into an empowering journey of self-discovery and promise." ―Emily Russin, writer and editor

“Pam McGaffin has crafted a coming-of-age novel that starts and ends in the fishing communities of Puget Sound, but whose landscape of imagination is really Alaska. The grandeur of the land and largeness of spirit that shapes our image of the forty-ninth state is echoed in the families that fight and feel their way through this story of caring, loss, and the price of self-awareness.” ―Steve Lindbeck, former CEO of Alaska Public Media and director of the Alaska Humanities Forum

(Affiliate links included.)


What inspired you to write THE LEAVING YEAR?

This book started with the setting. I was headed to our family’s beach house on Guemes Island in northwest Washington State and missed the ferry. With some time to kill until the next boat, I took my dog for a walk along what used to be cannery row in Anacortes. I passed this one beautifully restored Victorian home that got me thinking about the stories and lives that old house had seen. Anacortes being a fishing town, I naturally thought of a fishing family . . . that experiences a tragedy, a boat that’s lost at sea. I heard the voice of a young girl in my head -- the daughter who’s left behind to wonder what happened.

Would you tell us a little more about the characters from the story?

My protagonist is Ida Petrovich, the daughter of a commercial fisherman who’s presumed lost at sea. She’s a daddy’s girl who idolized her often absent father, and his mysterious disappearance tests her already strained relationship with her mother, Christine, who’s hiding family secrets. There’s a rift between Christine and her in-laws that leaves Ida caught in the middle, but Ida finds support from her cousin, Dena, and an assortment of friends, including a Filipino classmate, Sam, and an Alaska Native, Jody, who both know what it’s like to be missing fathers/parents.

Did you find anything interesting while researching the story?

Tons. I got particularly caught up researching Tlingit mythology and the experiences of Filipino cannery workers in the 1960s-1970s, reading books and spending countless hours online. Research can become a black hole that sucks you in. Many times I had to force myself to stop researching and start writing.

What would Ida say she learned the most while on her search?

That she is loved and loveable.

What did you love the most about writing the story?

Those ah-ha moments when the themes of my story presented themselves – how Ida’s personal identity crisis mirrored what was happening in the country during the late 1960s, for example. The idea of prejudice or pre-judging came up again and again. Eventually all those ah-ha moments lead you to The End, the sweetest moment of all.

What are you working on next?

I have two-thirds of a rough draft of a NaNoWriMo novel – a dystopian story told from the point-of-view of crows (as in the birds we love or hate) in a world ravaged by disease and climate change. Cheery, huh? I don’t know if I can pull this one off, but I’m going to try.

My Review

THE LEAVING YEAR is a story of a daughter's search for truth as she tries to accept that her father may never be coming home. Set during an era in US history of drastic change and varying tensions, and in a small town that is somewhat removed from what was going on, yet wasn't left unscathed. It's an interesting story, with a main protagonist who will resonate with readers, and an ending resolves everything perfectly. An overall enjoyable story.

Ida is so easy to like and to connect with as a reader. She never felt flat or like she would easily fit into a box and easily labelled. She's still figuring out who she is and who she wants to be. There are so many things she deals with and so many firsts that challenge her and begin molding her to who she is at the end of this story. I also really liked Sam, Jody, Ida's mom and several other characters.

I have to note how much I enjoyed all the various nods to the time period. The shows, fashion, music, and just the overall culture was a fun setting to dive into for this story. It was also a tough time with Vietnam, Martin Luther King Jr.'s death and the shooting of President Kennedy. It was interesting seeing how those things affected this small town in Washington state.

The story moves at a fairly steady pace. It was slow in places to me and didn't always completely hold my interest. I would have liked a few things developed more and others less - or sped up a little. It also felt a little long.

In the end, was it what I wished for? I enjoyed reading this story. There were a few places where I really liked the little pieces of wisdom that Ida gathers and I loved the ending and how Ida and her mom celebrate her dad. It's an overall nostalgic, introspective, coming-of-age story.

Content: Some swearing, underage drinking, innuendo, some suggestive scenes.
Source: I received a complimentary copy through Jean Book Nerd Tours, which did not require a positive review nor affect it in any way.

About the Author


Pam McGaffin is an award-winning former journalist who returned to her original passion of writing fiction after a long career in newspapers and public relations. Her short stories have appeared in online literary journals, and her articles and essays have been featured in newspapers and magazines. She and her family live in Seattle. This is her first novel.

Tour-Wide Giveaway

- 3 Winners will receive a Signed Copy of THE LEAVING YEAR: A NOVEL by Pam McGaffin.
- Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter | Ends October 1, 2018

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Any thought on the book or interview? What's the last YA book you read set in the past?

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