Review of Long Lost

Long Lost
by Jacqueline West
Intermediate    Greenwillow    288 pp.    g
5/21    978-0-06-269175-0    $16.99
e-book ed.  978-0-06-269177-4    $8.99

Eleven-year-old Fiona blames her older sister Arden for their family’s move to the “quaint” (fictional) Massachusetts town of Lost Lake. Arden, thirteen, is a successful figure skater, and Fiona feels that her parents value her sister more than her. Finding solace in the town’s library, Fiona discovers a mysterious book called The Lost One that tells the story of two sisters from that very town, one of whom disappeared a hundred years ago. The Lost One refuses to stay put, despite Fiona’s best efforts, and it routinely disappears from her possession, only to show up at the library again. Together with a boy from Lost Lake, Fiona investigates the history of the two sisters and the legend of the fearsome Searcher that is said to snatch children from the town’s woods. What starts as rather a cozy mystery — small town, quirky librarian, strange book — builds up to a spooky denouement with brief but very real peril the intrepid youngsters must face. While the shift in tone from the main text to passages of The Lost One feel jarring at first, the two stories blend together nicely by the end, and readers will be eager to learn the fates of both pairs of sisters. The realistic and picturesque details of Lost Lake capture small-town New England perfectly — but with sinister history lurking behind every old landmark.

From the July/August 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Sarah Berman

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