About the Book

Title: The Lost and the Found
Published: 2016
Swoonworthy Scale: 1

Cover Story: Ripped and Torn
BFF Charm: Big Sister
Talky Talk: The Long and the Short
Bonus Factor: Girl on the Milk Carton
Relationship Status: Group Therapy

Cover Story: Ripped and Torn

This is an interesting cover, and fairly effective—two ripped photos juxtaposing the main character’s sister as an adult and as the child she was when she was abducted.

The Deal

Faith’s sister Laurel was abducted when they were both just little girls. For the past thirteen years, Faith has grown up in the shadow of his sister’s kidnapping—the quest for Lauren to return home, the press attention, the false leads, and the demise of her parents’ marriage.

Then one day, Laurel’s parents get the phone call they’ve been waiting for: Laurel is alive, she escaped, and she’s relatively unharmed. The Logan family is elated—except for Faith, who battles a multitude of emotions surrounding her sister’s reappearance. Everything and everyone is all about Laurel now…even her boyfriend, who never seemed to care before. On top of it all, no one seems to notice how weird Laurel acts, since they’re so excited she’s home.

Faith has a feeling they’re not getting the whole story. If she says anything, though, will she alienate her entire family?

BFF Charm: Big Sister

BFF Charm Big Sister with Clarissa from Clarissa Explains It All's face

Oh man, Faith needs a big sister—not Laurel, whose odd actions make her feel isolated, ignored, and paranoid—but someone who actually listens to her concerns. The closest thing she has to this is her stepfather, Michel, who sees through the “Laurel is home” furor and makes sure he asks how Faith is doing, how she’s feeling, how she’s handling this huge upset to her daily life.

I quite liked Faith, who is as realistic as they come—who wouldn’t have mixed emotions when presented with a national media-attention-garnering big sister after thirteen years of living with her ghost? Frankly, Faith is surrounded by jerks, who make her feel like the jerk when she points out inconsistencies and asks for her own needs to be met.

Swoonworthy Scale: 1

Faith’s boyfriend is THE WORST: a self-absorbed, pretentious “thinker” type who must go against the grain at all times lest he like something mainstream or, I don’t know, enjoyable. We’ve all dated them (or got dangerously close), and I loved to hate him.

Talky Talk: The Long and the Short

Cat Clarke is really excellent at creating dysfunctional family dynamics, describing grief and pain, and creating realistic characters whose sincere motivations almost make up for their terrible actions. I only wish the pacing of this book were a bit tighter; she does an incredible job of building tension, but the “big reveal” came a bit too slowly, and the end came a bit too quickly.

Still, all of her characters and their dialogue feel real, even if their actions sometimes don’t make sense: from the engulfing, guilt-ridden mother, to the traumatized father, to Faith and Laurel themselves.

Bonus Factor: Girl on the Milk Carton

It’s a sad fact that whenever a pretty white girl goes missing, the news media follows the story until the bitter end—which is nice for those families, but terrible for the families of the not-so-pretty, not-so-white girls. This is mentioned in the book, too—a particular reporter calls out the rest of the media for the focused reporting, drawing the ire of Faith and Laurel’s mother. But she does have a point.

Relationship Status: Group Therapy

Book, our date was an interesting one, full of twists and turns—but in the end, I felt more interested in what you had to say about complex, dysfunctional family dynamics than anything else. Maybe we should start an interpersonal relationships book club, hit up some group therapy? What do you think?

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Crown. This review was originally posted on Kirkus Reviews in exchange for monetary compensation, which did not affect or influence my opinions. The Lost and the Found is available now.