Published by Harper Teen on July 5th, 2016
Sometimes you have to get lost before you can be found.
Lost: Frannie and Louis met in an online support group for trauma survivors when they were both little and have been pen pals ever since. They have never met face-to-face. They don’t even know each other’s real names. All they know is that they understand each other better than anyone else. And they both have a tendency to lose things. Well, not lose them, exactly. Things just seem to…disappear.
Found: In Louis’s mailbox is a letter, offering him a tennis scholarship—farther from home than he’s ever allowed himself to think of going.
In Frannie’s mailbox is a letter, informing her of her mother’s death—and one last wish.
Setting off from opposite coasts, Frannie and Louis each embark on a road trip to Austin, Texas, looking for answers—and each other. Along the way, each one begins to find important things the other has lost. And by the time they finally meet in person, they realize that the things you lose might be things you weren’t meant to have at all, and that you never know what you might find if you just take a chance
Oh man, I am kicking myself so hard for not reading this book a lot sooner. Like last February when I got it. I think I had a lot of expectations for it because of how much I loved Leno’s debut, The Half Life of Molly Pierce. I was a bit apprehensive because road trip books have been a bit of a hit or miss for me. What I wasn’t expecting was how much I LOVED the characters.
Frannie has been living with her grandparents for many years. Her mother was said to have run off to Florida and her father was a piece of crap who had once stabbed Frannie with a pen when she was little. So both of her parents had mental health concerns. Or at least her mother did, her father was just a bad guy. Frannie very soon finds out the truth about her mother and then later on, some truths about her father as well.
Louis has been wracked with anxiety attacks & PTSD moments from the moment his twin sister, Willa was hit by a car after falling from the fire escape in a freak accident. She lost both of her lower legs because of that accident. Louis is proof that even if you aren’t the direct victim of an accident, you can still suffer the emotional & psychological effects. He was also a VERY good tennis player (we don’t get a lot of tennis playing guys or girls in YA, so that was awesome)
As much as I liked the main characters, in some ways, it was the SECONDARY characters, Arrow & Willa who made the book so special. Arrow was Frannie’s adopted cousin and she was full on awesome-sauce. She was Vietnamese, and I gotta say I loved that. It’s rare that we get to see any part of the Vietnamese culture show up in YA (More of that please, authors) She is also a major germaphobe. Now I’m not as bad as Arrow is, but I have been known to disinfect hotel rooms upon arrival.
I am borderline obsessed with Willa to be totally honest. I thought she was awesome and I really wish there was more disabled characters in YA. I don’t even care if they are secondary characters. We exist and we deserve to see ourselves in books.
But I digress.
Willa was awesome. She was authentic and she was real. She worried about being a bad sister to Louis because of her disability. She wondered about the little kids who would ask her questions about her legs. She tried so hard to be confident in herself and sometimes it faltered and she tried so hard not to show that.
“Some of us are zeroes at everything.”
Holy crap, I related to this quote in a big way. I have struggled a lot with not feeling like much of anything and like everything I attempt goes horribly wrong. I have felt like I am a zero at everything. Willa got to me in a way I wasn’t expecting. I could go on and on about Willa, but I think I should probably move on.
What I loved most about this book was the friendships. This book is for all of those teenagers whose parents say “you can’t have ‘real friends’ online.” or “Everyone on the internet is an internet predator” Actually, I don’t know if parents still say that last one. I really loved that there wasn’t a whole lot of romance in the book. Really just a sprinkling, which I was thrilled about. I think more romance in this book could have detracted from the book for me.
Final thoughts: If you love diverse characters & great friendships, you need to pick up this book.