Monday, July 07, 2014

Review: Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

Title: Let's Get Lost
Author: Adi Alsaid
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release date: July 29th 2014
Pages: 352
Genre: Young Adult contemporary
Source: BEA 2014
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Five strangers. Countless adventures.One epic way to get lost.
Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.
There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.
Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

After the tons of buzz for Adi Alsaid's book at BEA, I was super excited about Let's Get Lost, and luckily it didn't disappoint! I loved Adi Alsaid's writing style - it's the perfect balance of funny and poignant, making this a novel that is both entertaining and heartbreaking.

The novel is separated into five parts, each focusing on a different character, and I did not enjoy them all equally. My favorite parts were Bree's and Sonia's - both of them get into ridiculous situations with Leila, and they are hilarious to read about. Underneath all of these entertaining scenes lies stellar character development for both Bree and Sonia: both of their background stories are heartbreaking and made me feel for them throughout their parts. To me, these two sections are the funniest but also convey a very strong message.

Hudson's and Elliot's sections are the two that I took issue with. I did really enjoy these parts - they, too, have great humor and poignancy - but they both have problematic themes. Hudson's story adheres a bit too closely to the manic pixie dream girl trope: Hudson is the good guy with issues, and along comes this "whirlwind of a girl" who is so different from anyone else he knows and helps him discover himself. The manic pixie dream girl (aka Leila) works as a plot tool - and therefore an object - without really having a personality of her own. Looking back after I've finished the novel, and knowing what I know now about Leila, it makes sense that we wouldn't find out much about Leila, but while reading Hudson's section, the set-up didn't sit right with me, just because this trope is very problematic in terms of women's representation and it just frustrates me every time I see it.

In Elliot's story, too, my issues are gender-related. This section takes place after Elliot has confessed his love for his friend and she has turned him down, and the whole story revolves around Eliot trying, again and again, to win her over, after she has said no. It's the classic "friendzone"  story, which automatically made me dislike Eliot for his sense of entitlement to women. The way he does not respect her no and continues to attempt to win her over is deeply problematic and perpetuates rape culture, ideas of male entitlement, and traditional gender roles within the "courting"  process. His behavior is simply not okay, and that made it hard for me to enjoy Elliot's story, even though his section, too, had some very entertaining parts.

The last part of the novel is about Leila, and it's another section that I loved. After finding out about Leila's background, I wanted to go back and reread everything, just to see how much better I could understand Leila's behavior now that I know what she's going through. Her story is heartbreaking but hopeful, and I loved it. The only part I took issue with is the ending, because that just seemed unnecessary and unrealistic to me.

I know the negative parts of this review almost outweigh the positive ones, but that's really just because once I get started on a feminist rant, there's no going back. Despite these issues, I really loved Let's Get Lost. I loved getting insight into each of these people's lives that are connected in such a random way, and even though we only get to read about them for such a short time, all the characters have depth and are very memorable. If you like roadtrip books, there's no way you won't love Let's Get Lost because these adventures are more ridiculous and entertaining than any other roadtrip book I've read. With the perfect balance of humorous, random road trip adventures and the honest exploration of these characters'  inspiring struggles, Let's Get Lost is the perfect summer read. I can't wait to see what Adi Alsaid writes next!


  1. I am glad I read your review. I did not get to pick this one up at BEA. I have been thinking about it since then and I saw a lot of talk about it. I liked that your review had both sides - the negative and positive.


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