Thursday, May 02, 2019

The Lovely and the Lost

Barnes, Jennifer Lynn. The Lovely and the Lost
May 7th 2019 by Freeform
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Kira has a tenuous existence with Cady and Jude, her foster mother and brother. The family trains service dogs, as does Kira's friend, Free, and Kira finds it easier to deal with the dogs than with other people. Kira was lost in the woods when she was very young, and Cady is the one who found her and took her in. When Cady's father, Bales, shows up asking for help with a lost girl, Cady reluctantly takes her family to join the search. Being in the woods, looking for the lost girl causes Kira some anxiety. She has flashbacks to her own experience and confronts some hard issues that have never before surfaced. She meets Gabriel, whose stepfather is the sheriff, but who is in the care of another searcher because the sheriff is abusive. Gabriel's brother was a woods survivalist, but has been missing for several years. The lost girl's trail keeps getting picked up, even though she falls into rivers and ends up in cave's. When Kira and her team find some clues in a hard-to-reach location, they become a bit suspect, and when Kira finally locates the girl, there are even further problems. Bales has his own reasons for wanting Cady to join the search, Kira finds out more information about her past before she was lost in the woods, and the saga of the missing girl is fraught with twists, turns, and drama from the past.
Strengths: This had a lot of good surprises, and I don't want to ruin them. I thought that Kira's story was dealt with realistically, and the search for the missing girl has lots of good details about using the dogs, following the trail, and tracking through the woods. The characters are all multifaceted and interesting, with enough bad choices to be intriguing. Barnes does a good job of writing books that have a high school level of character development and plot complexity with a middle school level of action and appropriateness. Very well done.
Weaknesses: A sad dog moment is included, but it's nicely done. I am not a fan of the cover or the title, though-- they really give us no clues as to what the book is about.
What I really think: I love Barnes' work, so will definitely purchase, but this will take a lot of hand selling because of the cover.

Ms. Yingling

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