Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need most.
There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday-- and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings...until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.
Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth - sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for it to get lost along the way." (synopsis and cover from (x).
Let's Get Lost is an interesting, unique novel from a talented debut author.
The story focuses on five strangers. Four of whom have no commonalities whatsoever with the exception of the fifth person: a girl whose name is Leila. She is on a road trip and this novel is the misadventures and sidesteps along the way.
To be honest, it's a little difficult to review this one. Why? Because there's two ways of thinking about it.
1) You can look at and review it in its entirety. Or
2) You can look at each of the strangers as separate short stories.
Because that's what it is; with the exception of Leila, there are no similarities. They are literally snapshots of one characters life. Whether it's done successfully is something else entirely. I'll get to this in a little more detail later on.
Onward! The good stuff.
Number one: I love, love, love the concept. From the get-go, it's one of those novels that asks all the right questions. On this occasion: how can one person, one perfectly pleasant stranger, affect the life of others? I don't know about you guys, but that is something that I am utterly fascinated by, and I really appreciate that the author decided to explore this.
Number two: Distinct voices. All the characters were very separate from each other. This works well in terms of the reading experience. I never had to go back and double check who exactly I was reading, because it was very clear from the start.
Number three: The writing. Unsurprisingly, given how well the voices were written, the writing itself was very well done. There were definitely lines that I felt were provocative and thoughtful. I just really appreciated the tone of it.
Now, for the negatives. I want to warn you in advance that I'll be referring to things that I mentioned above. Like I said, the novel is fundamentally broken up into five short stories. This would be totally fine, but if we go with the idea to review them as separate short stories, I found them too broad in nature. Short stories are supposed to be a snapshot. However, the author attempts to include a lot of plot and a lot of development. I'd argue that perhaps it's too much.
I also think that it comes across as a little disjointed. The stop and start of the strangers' stories disrupted the flow of the full arc of the story (does that make sense?). Every time I started to truly get involved in it, we'd have finished that character's arc and be onto the next person.
Given this, it was hard to find a huge amount of development within the characters. Alsaid definitely attempted to show it, however I feel he might've failed in some regards. For instance, I wasn't a huge fan of Bree. She definitely was one of the more obvious cases of growth. I didn't particularly like her in the start, and I still couldn't feel for her by the end.
Let's Get Lost is a fascinating concept that has been solidly illustrated by the author. I look forward to reading more of his work. 3 stars.
Rating: *** (3 Stars)
Publisher: Harlequin Teen Australia
Publication Date: 1st August 2014
Want to buy the book? You can get it here:
Thank you to Harlequin Teen Australia and NetGalley for this e-ARC.
This review will also appear on Book Nerd Reviews