Synopsis: A charming and imaginative new novel about getting lost before you can be found.
Frannie and Louis met in an online support group when they were both younger. They have never met face-to-face. They don’t even know each other’s real names. All they know is that they both have a mysterious tendency to lose things. Well, not lose them, exactly. Things just seem to…disappear.
They each receive news in the mail that sets them off on a road trip to Austin, Texas, looking for answers—and each other. Along the way, each one begins to find, as if by magic, important things the other has lost. And by the time they finally meet in person, they realize that the things you lose might be things you weren’t meant to have at all, and that you never know what you might find if you just take a chance.
Can we just take a minute to appreciate how wonderful a well-written magical realism story is?
Okay, now can we talk about how surprising/unexpected/exciting it is when a perfectly great contemporary turns out to be chalk-full of magical realism?!?!
Because THAT is what you’ll find in Katrina Leno’s The Lost & Found. I freaking LOVE magical realism, especially when I’m not expecting it, and I sure as heck wasn’t expecting it in this adorkable contemporary title.
I guess that proves that you really never know what you need until you find it (I have no shame tying bad puns and jokes into the title of this book).
There were so many things to love about The Lost & Found, so I’m just going to do my best to list them all and we’ll see where it gets us.
Frances. Hmm… So Frances is this girl who lives with her grandparents because her mom is totally crazy, and then she finds out one day that a famous film star might just be her real dad and decides to go on this road trip to try and meet him. I liked Frances because she’s totally frank about her situation and herself. She is unapologetic about who she is, and I can never get enough of that in books, because, duh, everyone could use more positive role-models.
Louis has a twin sister who fell off their emergency-stair-landing-thing-outside-of-their-apartment-window when they were really small, resulting in the loss of her legs. So now he has severe anxiety and blames himself for the whole incident, while his sister, Willa, is like the COOLEST F-ING PERSON ON THE PLANET and I just wanted her to be real so badly so we could become best friends. She seriously refuses to wear long skirts to cover up her prosthetics because she’s comfortable being who she is and doesn’t believe anyone should be able to force her to hide her handicap to suit his/her own comfort levels. She’s basically my hero. She’s not perfect or anything, but all-in-all she is probably one of the best disabled characters I’ve ever read about. And she makes Louis’ half of the story that much more entertaining.
Really, this book is just bursting with diversity, which I love, and all of the characters are fleshed-out. We get to spend a lot of time with Frances’ cousin Arrow (who was adopted from Vietnam), Louis and Willa are half-Indian (and rocking the heck out of it), and there are gritty, realistic, and poignant portrayals of mental illness throughout.
The ending is bittersweet in the best possible way, and it just made me fall even more in love with Louis and Frances (I’ve written them so many new stories in my head because they’re so wonderful together). Plus, there’s the whole magical realism twist, because Louis and Frances keep losing things, only they aren’t losing them – the universe is redistributing them or something – which I thought was funny and strange and just a really cool element to add to an already magical contemporary.
Rating: 5/5 stars
TALK *WORDY* TO ME
Do you like Magical Realism? What are some other books featuring disabled characters that you recommend???