The Lost, by Sarah Beth Durst, with Armchair BEA giveaway of ARC

It is such a lovely thing, when a book you get for review turns out to be a beautifully satisfying read.  All the pressure to be tactful is off, and you can simply say things like "I really truly enjoyed this book and didn't want it to end."  The Lost, by Sarah Beth Durst (Harlequin, May 27th, 2014) was such a book.  The pleasure of having some of it left to read this morning almost made up for the hideous fact that the cat woke me up at 4:30am.

Lauren was on her way to work one day, driving to a job she didn't like, driving away from the return of her mother's cancer.   But instead of doing what she was supposed to, she just kept going, driving down a highway through the desert with no plans or intentions to speak of.  And she found herself in Lost.

Lost is a place where missing things, missing houses and toys and dogs and library books, and even lost oceans end up.  Its residents are people who have lost their way, or been lost, themselves.    If they find what they are missing, they can leave... And in the meantime, they survive, or not, by scrabbling through the detritus of the lost bits of other people's lives.

Lauren doesn't know what she's lost.   And she doesn't know what she's going to find.

Here's what she finds:

--lots of scavenged stuff (those who like people making home-ish places with scavenged stuff will share my pleasure in this aspect of the book)
--two of the most meaningful relationships of her life (such as made my heart ache).
--what she needs to do

Here's what the book did to me:

--erased reality
--left me with images and emotions that I will enjoy revisiting during the coming summer of yard work (my mind plays books back to me as I weed)
--left me with a strong desire to read the sequel (The Missing, coming this November)
--made me want to enthusiastically recommend it

It is a fact that I mostly read books for young readers, and I think part of the reason I enjoyed The Lost so much is that it is a book written for grown-up that keeps all that I love best about kids books--the deeply, lovingly created world, the characters who are worth caring about, and the sense of wonder and possible impossibility you find in the best children's fantasy.    If I had to pigeon-hole The Lost explicitly, I'd call it New Adult fantasy, because the main character, Lauren, is a New Adult, facing the questions that come with that territory (of the "what am I going to make of this life I have in front of me" type).    It's easy to imagine YA readers also enjoying it just fine.

You can read the first two chapters via Sarah Beth Durst's website.   

And if you are an Armchair BEA participant, I'm giving away my (very very gently read; you might not even notice my reading of it) ARC of The Lost.  Just leave a comment by midnight this Saturday (May 31) making sure that I can somehow find you....

And now, having lost track of time, I must rush off.  (I would so love to find all the time I have lost track of during the course of my life.)

disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher


  1. This sounds really lovely. Our compulsion to pigeonhole books is interesting, isn't it -- I recently had an interchange with Nicola Griffith, author of Hild, about the UK cover of her book, which was redesigned because the US cover (which is beautiful) looked "too YA." Genres and age ranges can be helpful but also limiting. Anyway, this looks like a wonderful limit-transcending read.

  2. I love Durst and may pick this up at a later date, but it sounds a bit like Shusterman's Everlost and would make me too sad right now. I've been curious about the NA designation, since my daughter is that age, so maybe she will want to read this.

  3. Sounds great. I'm definitely big on New Adult-ish books that aren't racy romances, but some other genre. And I like Durst's books for YA readers.

  4. This sounds quite similar in idea to A Place Called Here by Cecelia Ahern, which I absolutely adored! I'd love to read The Lost too! However I am based overseas so understand if I'm not eligible :)
    Suzy Turner, Fiction Dreams

  5. It's always a good sign when a book succeeds in completely eclipsing reality. I've enjoyed Sarah Beth Durst's writing in the past, and this one sounds right up my alley. I'm not participating in Armchair BEA this year, but my associate reviewer is. Speaking of which, I'm sure Jessica will be by shortly for a chance to win. ;)

  6. The Lost sounds amazing. I can't wait to read it. sarahzane16@gmail.com

  7. I absolutely love whenever I connect with a book like that. It sticks with me for days after reading it. Thank you for giving away such an incredible read!


  8. Hmmm. I haven't joined any of the giveaways that are giving out books because none of them appealed to me in any way, until now. Looks good! :) Thanks for the chance! thisbrokenroad @ gmail . com

  9. This sounds really good! Not sure if your giveaway is international, but I'm entering anyway (just in case). I love that cover and the description sounds great. Check out my giveaway too.

  10. Okay I love the sound of this book. I am a huge fan of scavenged stuff!! One person's trash is another's treasure :)

    videoclimber (at) yahoo (dot) com

  11. This book sounds really incredible! It sort of reminds me of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close for some reason. Would love to win!

    suchanovelidea11 (at) gmail (dot) com

    Jess @ Such a Novel Idea

    Here's my TTT.

  12. This book sounds amazing! I have yet to read anything by her, and I really want to :D Thanks for hosting the giveaway! courtneyreadsalot@gmail.com

  13. Sounds like a fun book! I still need to read something by her and this sounds like a good place to start. Thanks for doing the giveaway. Also, thanks for stopping by my blog earlier.

    Jenni Elyse @ Jenni Elyse

  14. Stopping by from ABEA! This sounds like a very interesting book! Lisapottgen(at)justanotherrabidreader(dot)com

    Lisa @Just Another Rabid Reader

  15. Sounds intriguing although emotional. I'll need some Kit Morgan between it and TimeMasters if I win probably. My Beyond Borders post will elighten you on that little matter. If anyone is curious. And my novellas/shorts post tells a little about Kit's books. For those who only do print books unfortunately all the aforementioned are ebook only right now but both authors have Facebook pages and blogs.

  16. Wow, this sounds really different…looking forward to reading it and learning more about the author…thx for sharing!

  17. This sounds so good! XD


  18. This sounds like a really nice read! I love the cover as well :)

  19. Didn't you just love this?? I am really just -- blown away by her range as an author. It makes me want to step up and be brave and try new things, though I don't know that I'm ready to give up YA.

  20. not sure if you ship to Canada, but This book looks really good, the cover is beautiful and great review as well

  21. I've read great reviews for The Lost, can't wait to read it. I love the premise! theindigoshelf (at) gmail (dot) com

  22. I have wanted to read this book for a while, so I truly appreciate you sharing it with it. michelle_willms at yahoo dot com.

  23. The description of this one didn't grab my interest, and I'm not a NA fan, but you've made me reconsider... I might just love THE LOST like you did. Especially when the world-building and hope is present - also two of MY favorite things about children's and YA fiction.


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