Thursday, May 20, 2021

Long Lost

West, Jacqueline. Long Lost
11 May 2021, Greenwillow Books
E ARC provided by Edelweiss

When Fiona's family moves to Lost Lake, she's not thrilled. Her preants have decided it makes more sense to be near her older sister Arden's skating training facility instead of spending so many hours driving back and forth, and both parents were able to get jobs nearby. Never mind that Fiona has to leave all of her friends and live in a semi-creepy house; everything is always about Arden. Instead of spending four hours on a summer day watching her sister skate, Fiona asks to be dropped off at the local public library, which is in an older mansion donated by the Chisholm family. There, she finds an old book in the mystery section entitled The Lost One. She starts to read, but has to leave before finishing. Her mother drags her feet on getting Fiona a library card, and when she is finally able to check the book out, it isn't there. She sees the librarian, Ms. Miranda, with the book in a staff room, and takes it home. The story, about two sisters named Pearl and Hazel, is a riveting one, but the book disappears! Is The Searcher that the book talks about real? And what did happen to Evelyn Chisholm? Fiona starts to investigate the history of Lost Lake, and is helped by Charlie Hobbs, whose grandfather knew the Chisholm family and who is also interested in the book. Things get stranger and stranger, and on the third floor of the library, Fiona runs into a strange, stern woman and a small dog named Pixie. Once she talks to Ms. Miranda, she finds out that there's no one at the library who matches that description, and Charlie lets her know that the third floor is in fact haunted. Fiona gets in trouble for sneaking away from home, and isn't very nice to Arden, but eventually realizes that Arden's life isn't easy either, and that her sister misses her as much as she misses her sister. As Fiona gets further into the mystery and closer to the truth of what happened to Evelyn, things become dangerous. 
Strengths: This was a brilliant blend of enthralling, cozy library and MURDEROUS GHOSTS. My students don't just want ghosts that scare people, they want ghosts like those in Lindsey Duga mysteries who want to kill the people who come across them. I don't want to spoil the mystery, but this not only had ghosts that are more than threatening enough, but also wove in some history, and some very touching and realistic sister drama. One of my favorite parts was something small-- the town of Lost Lake doesn't take to newcomers kindly, and Ms. Miranda mentions that she has taken to wearing something spectacular in her bun every day to give them something positive to talk about. Didn't hurt that the mother, a pediatrician, also had fun jewelry. The library, of course, is brilliant, and one that anyone who loves books would want to investigate. This was short, fast-paced, and really intriguing, with plenty of twists and turns. My daughter was an enormous fan of this author's The Shadows, and I may have to buy her a copy even though she's 22!
Weaknesses: The first couple of chapters of interior novel, The Lost One went on a bit too long for my taste; I got in to the story soon enough, but I was so invested in Fiona's struggles in her new home that I skimmed the story of Pearl and Hazel and had to go back and reread. Just good to know in case I have readers who struggle with the story-within-a-story concept.
What I really think: Definitely purchasing and glad to add to a growing collection of killer ghost books like Brown's The Forgotten Girl, Currie's Scritch Scratch, Poblocki's Ghost Hunter's Daughter , and Schwab's Cassidy Blake books. 


  1. Still waiting for my copy to arrive, I'll check back after I've had a chance to read Long Lost. Now I'm jealous :)

  2. That is a very cool cover. I'm not sure how keen I am on murderous ghosts, but the rest of the premise sounds great!