"Strong historical novel"
In 1979, fear grips the black community in Atlanta as
someone is killing the children. The younger generation
knows what is happening to some of their peers as the TV
and especially their parents never stop talking about the
missing children. However, there are more pressing
concerns than missing or dead children as one must survive
the social climate of elementary school.
In that environment Tasha struggles with wanting
desperately to be part of the in crowd, but also must deal
with the separation of her parents. Weird Rodney can't
worry about some murderer, as he just wants to please his
father, who has the uncanny ability to embarrass him in
front of his classmates. A loner not expecting much from
anyone and though only a fifth grader, Octavia is brilliant
at hiding her feelings, but still wishes her mother would
be more truthful about life and keep her junkie boyfriends
away from both of them. The innocence of youth ends when
classmates begin appearing on the nightly news as missing
and probably dead.
LEAVING ATLANTA is an interesting spin on the black
children murders of 1979-1980 that brought fear to the
community. The story line focuses on the three children
trying to gain different types of acceptance even as the
unknown threat scares everyone they know. Readers will
enjoy the insight of these three fifth graders, but be
warned that this is not a happy ending, as twenty-nine kids
died during the serial killings.
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted August 22, 2002