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Maya Stark has been given the chance of a lifetime. She’s a speech therapist working in a mental hospital, and she’s still pretty new to the job. She knows her way around the institution, as she was a patient there when she was younger, and then an intern, and now that she has her degrees, she’s back to help the patients learn to use the words that they need to communicate their deepest fears and their wildest dreams.

And now she has a prize assignment.

Josiah Blackthorn and his son Lucas disappeared into the Boundary Waters ten years ago, never to be seen again. Boundary Waters is a particularly dense and wild part of Minnesota, up near the Canadian border. It’s frigid in the winter, and the odds of survival go down by the day and even more so by the night. So it was quite the surprise that Lucas showed up at a survivalist store, breaking in to rob it and inadvertently causing the death of one of the owners.

Lucas was taken to the mental hospital where Maya works, and he refused to communicate in any way with anyone. But on seeing Maya, there was a moment, a connection, that he refused every one else, so Maya was given the task of getting him to talk. She was the one chosen to help him find the words to talk about the last ten years, about how he had survived in the Boundary Waters, and maybe most importantly, what happened to his father. But she has secrets too, and they effect her work as much as his haunting eyes do.

Leave No Trace is the story of that connection and the journey that both Maya and Lucas have to take through their respective pasts to find their futures. Author Mindy Mejia, of last year’s Everything You Want Me To Be, is back with a twisty tale of past secrets, pain, and healing that took me on a crazy journey. I was captivated by this story, and I loved watching Maya’s and Lucas’s stories unwind as they became friends and then connected on an even deeper level. I couldn’t help but root for them as they made crazy, desperate choices and found their deeper truths amid all the buried secrets and family issues.

I highly recommend this thriller with its crazy roller coaster ride of emotions. It’s a lovely story of healing and coming home, and it will find it’s way into your heart, leaving traces all the way.

Galleys for Leave No Trace were provided by Atria/Emily Bestler Books through NetGalley, with many thanks.