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Title: The Lost
Author: Natasha Preston
Release Date: April 2, 2019
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
In Piper’s hometown, teenagers keep disappearing, and everyone assumes they’re just a bunch of runaways. But when yet another person disappears, Piper and her best friend Hazel suspect something more sinister is going on.
So they decide to investigate, determined to learn the truth. Their search for answers leads them to the source of the missing people…and their captors. Piper and Hazel suddenly find themselves locked away in a secluded building in the middle of a privately owned forest.
But the building isn’t only meant to keep them imprisoned; every room is a test to see if they can make it out alive.
And failure means being lost…forever. (Amazon)
While the premise of The Lost was intriguing, have to admit that I was tempted several times to put this one aside as a DNF.
First off was the writing. The first few chapters really annoyed me for some reason. I think I got used to it because it didn’t bother me as much a few chapters in, but it was enough for me to consider putting the book down. I even checked to see if this was a debut author but no, she’s written several other books. It came off as awkward, stilted, and unpolished. Overly descriptive prose with awkward dialogue. Just didn’t work for me.
Then there were the main characters, Piper and Hazel.
We are told, more than once, that Piper and Hazel enjoy watching mystery movies and TV shows. That they are introverts. That they’re not like other teens. And did I mention that they watch lots and lots of mysteries and thrillers?
This totally qualifies them to solve the mystery of why so many teenagers have disappeared and been labeled as runaways. Their grand plan? Infiltrate normal teen society by going undercover as….regular teenage girls! *insert eye roll*
So what do they do after their very first “normal teen” activity of hanging out at the lake? After their first fact finding mission of the summer? They get in a car with a couple of strangers!
Yes, they are teenage girls. And yes, teenage girls can be stupid. But we’ve just been hammered over the head with how the BFFs are NOT like other teens and oh yeah, they watch a ton of mysteries and thrillers. So we’re supposed to believe they would do something so stupid? After Piper already talked to one of the strangers earlier, reminding herself that she didn’t really know him?
I was an introverted teenage girl and know that I would’ve been too shy to get in that car, no matter what. And that’s without being a mystery movie buff/Nancy Drew wannabe.
Didn’t care for the coincidence of the bad guys running into the girls soon after they decided to play Nancy Drew. I don’t like coincidences. Feels lazy to me.
Since the girls have never hung out at the lake with other teens before, how did the BGs (bad guys) know Piper was going to be there? And after talking to Piper before she walked down to the lake, they hung out and waited for her to come back? And being with Hazel didn’t deter them? You’d think that abducting two girls instead of one would have given them pause, but I guess not.
Piper had several red flags thrown at her after getting in the car, but she ignored each and every one. She even chides herself for being an idiot and worrying for no reason. Hello? Where are all those awesome mystery-movie-watcher skills?
Was ready to throw up my hands at this point and set the book down, but I settled for several more eye rolls and kept reading.
As mentioned in the synopsis, the girls are locked away in a secluded building with some of the other missing teens. That’s when things really went off the rails for me.
The building is pretty sophisticated. How did the bad guys renovate it? They weren’t exactly DIYers, so who did all the modifications? And if they hired someone, it would’ve hit the grapevine in town. One thing about small towns is that everything is worthy of gossip!
Another thing that bothered me were the mistakes that a decent editor or proofreader should have caught.
For instance, someone is released from being restrained and rolls to her side. A few sentences later it says that she hasn’t moved, as if she hasn’t realized she’s been released. She stares up at the ceiling, not wanting to get up. So did she roll to her side or not?
Or another instance where someone is carried to their top bunk, already asleep. In the very next sentence the person who carried her rises to his feet. If you put someone in the top bunk, how and why are you squatting?
Then there’s a sequence where another teen is being discussed and his name changes from Malc to James, mid discussion. Huh?
Little things, but they bothered me. And it’s funny because normally I barrel right past mistakes and plot holes without noticing, but all of these mistakes smacked me right in the face and took me out of the story.
Then there’s the ending. Ugh! This dropped the book from a 3 star rating to a 2 for me!
After having Piper as the main narrator for the entire book, one of the other characters suddenly takes center stage and starts narrating. Why?
And the sheer incompetence made no sense either. There is no way that that ending could have actually happened. Are we supposed to ignore the giant plot holes?
I was left angry and annoyed that I wasted my time instead of trusting my gut and putting it aside. I liked the premise, but ultimately felt let down by the execution.
About the Author:
Natasha Preston is the New York Times bestselling author of The Cabin and The Cellar. A UK native, she discovered her love of writing when she shared a story online-and hasn’t looked back. She enjoys writing romance, thrillers, gritty YA, and the occasional serial killer.