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The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst
Review by Gayle Surrette
MIRA Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780778317111
Date: 27 May 2014 List Price $14.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Lauren Chase leaves work and drives. Her mother was supposed to get the results of her medical test today, and Lauren fears her mother's cancer is back. Whenever she gets upset, she drives. The road rolls out before her but there's no sense of calm, just more road and anxiety for skipping out and not going home to face the results with her mother. After-all, it could just as easily be good news as bad.

With the gas tank approaching empty, Lauren hopes to see a sign for a gas station and realizes that she hasn't seen anything in quite a while and there's a storm ahead. Clearing the dust storm, Lauren drives into the town of Lost. Her major problem now is how can she get out of Lost.

Coming of age books are usually associated with young adults but The Lost is a coming of age for adults. We've all felt that sense of dislocation when we've lost something important to us: dreams, hopes, loved ones, aspirations, reputations, jobs, or even little things like keys, phones, purses, and receipts. When we're losing a loved one, how we handle that loss defines us. Lauren gave up her dreams of a career in art to help her mother through her first diagnoses and treatment and she's afraid to do it all over again. She may be an adult, but she's afraid of losing her mother -- her best friend and confidant. What will she do without her?

Stuck in Lost, Lauren has to deal not only with her own fears but learn to cope with rules that don't make sense, develop some pretty weird survival skills, and learn to care for others. Like most of us, the hardest lessen to learn is that we are not the center of the universe. And some of us are still trying to cope with that concept.

The story also has a lot of depth and texture. There are hints of more going on than appear on the surface, and there are many glimpses of myth and fairytale in the mix to add spice and wonder. Overtly there is no Mad Hatter, but Lost often feels like he and the Dormouse would fit in nicely, if most of the subject matter wasn't so serious.

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