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When You Misplace Your Place In The World

Katrina Leno's latest novel follows a boy and a girl who tend to lose everything, so they decide to find each other.

When You Misplace Your Place In The World

BOOK REPORT for The Lost & Found by Katrina Leno

Cover Story: Why Nibble When You Could Take a Bite?
BFF Charm: Big Sister x 2
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: She Said, He Said
Bonus Factors: Austin, TX, Tasty Business
Relationship Status: Flirtation

Cover Story: Why Nibble When You Could Take a Bite?

A fountain pen (and, in particular, the nib) play a role in The Lost & Found, so it's not that this artwork is inaccurate, it's just... bland. Sure, the original cover wasn't amazing either, but at least it was trying to be interesting. I guess I'm surprised that a story with so many quirks is wrapped in such a boring package--it's like seeing that cool artsy girl in high school showing up to the senior prom wearing a Laura Ashley dress. (Okay, well, that analogy doesn't work now, because it would be vintage, which is cool, but in the early 90s, that would've been the most lame... gah, I'm old, SHUTTING UP NOW.)

The Deal:

Frances is constantly losing things. Some of those things are small, like a nib that doctors couldn't find in her body after her dad stabbed her with a pen, and others are big, like her mother, who ran off to Florida.

Over on the other side of the country, Louis has the same problem. There's the expensive tennis racket he swore he put in the trunk of the car, and the letter of acceptance from the University of Texas, which disappeared from his back pocket.

After corresponding for years via an online therapy group, Frances and Louis decide to road trip (Frances with her cousin, Arrow, and Louis with his sister, Willa) to Austin, where they will finally meet, and hopefully, help each other find what they're truly looking for.

BFF Charm: Big Sister x 2

In spite of her traumatic early childhood, Frannie is a stable, self-possessed girl, and I really dug her frank attitude and her quiet (but steadfast) love for the people in her life. Louis, along similar lines, is stand-up guy whose adoration for his twin sister is the SWEETEST (especially since Willa can be, how should I put this, quite vexing). They're both good kids, and I felt very protective of them, but I never wished I was with them, sitting in the diner booth or walking down Rainey Street--and that's not just because they can't get into the bars. Although they've each endured their fair share of tragedy, Frances and Louis lack the depth necessary to make them interesting as characters, apart from the story, and that's what gave me that classic Big Sister feeling: I cared about them, but I didn't really care about them.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Thanks to years of online friendship, Louis and Frannie share a gentle intimacy that, of course, gets scary when they lose the shield of their computer screens. The connection between them is both innocent and intense, and while the romance in this book is less about passion and more about the warm fuzzies, I'd be lying if I said that this duo didn't melt my heart a little.

Talky Talk: She Said, He Said

Our two protagonists take turns narrating chapters, and their voices are engaging, if not exceptionally distinct. Given the premise, I was worried that The Lost & Found would hit too much of a twee note, but Katrina Leno is sparing with the whimsical flourishes, and her straightforward style infuses this pleasant and easy read with a nice dash of substance.

Bonus Factor: Austin, TX

If you think I'm automatically going to like a book more if it's set in Austin, then... YOU WOULD BE CORRECT. Though their time in my fair city is too brief, Frannie and Louis do all of the important stuff, like drinking margaritas and eating tacos from a food truck. Louis also tours the UT campus, where I went to grad school (and used to work), so I had to chuckle when his sister complained about the heat and how far they had walked. Points for accuracy!

Bonus Factor: Tasty Business

I realize the above photo might not be appetizing, but it was the best way for me to represent all of the food mentions in this book. Willa and Louis are regulars at a diner, where they always get tator tots, and then there's the tantalizing description of those Austin tacos, so it's not hard to figure out what Google search lead me to that image. The point is, this book will make you hungry like a hippo.

Casting Call

Hailee Steinfeld as Frances

Suraj Sharma as Louis

Relationship Status: Flirtation

Book, you're quite the charmer, and yet you have a certain innocence that evokes poignancy (and makes me feel old). I can't say that I was invested in our interaction, but I found your company to be quite amiable, and you left me with a positive, if fleeting, impression. 

Now, pass me a tator tot.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Harper Teen. I received neither cocktails nor money in exchange for this review (dammit). The Lost & Found is available now.

Posh Deluxe's photo About the Author: Sarah lives in Austin, TX, where she programs films at the Alamo Drafthouse. Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and anything that sparkles (except vampires).