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Let’s Get Lost by Sarra Manning is an excellent young adult novel. Being set in Brighton, not too far from where I grew up, was a big plus for me and made Isabel more relatable. Isabel is ‘Queen Bitch’ at school, focused on being head of a small, mean group of ‘friends’ and looking old enough to buy alcohol and cigarettes. But all is not what it seems, Isabel is struggling with the loss of her mother and lacks a real friend to help her through this. Isabel makes for a lonely figure, and not a character who readers would wish to emulate.
However, Isabel meets Atticus Smith and begins to wonder what she can be outside of the ‘bitch’ persona she has created to keep herself safe. The novel here becomes more typical – badass teenager meets boy and begins to soften before things going wrong. But there is so much more to this novel than the romance story.
The way Isabel treats her family is heart-breaking. In her grief she has managed to become a monstrous daughter and sister, and as an adult I look back on this book and am thankful my bratty attitude was never this bad. However, Manning uses Isabel’s actions to successfully show how teenagers and their parents struggle to understand each other, even when they need each other most.
Manning manages to create a wonderfully believable story with a character who is flawed, not enough to make you instantly dislike her and put the book down. Isabel shows the problems with teenagers trying to grow up too fast, and how no one is beyond changing themselves.
As a teenager reading this novel I really enjoyed it and learnt a lot along the way, as an adult re-reading it the story is still as good, and I can appreciate the difficult world of being a teenager even more now I have some distance and perspective.
If you think this book is for you, why not check out my review on Dreamland, another great young adult novel!