Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby

Title: The Other Side of Lost
Author: Jessi Kirby
Genre: Contemporary
Source: HarperTeen

Girl Online meets Wild in this emotionally charged story of girl who takes to the wilderness to rediscover herself and escape the superficial persona she created on social media.

Mari Turner’s life is perfect. That is, at least to her thousands of followers who have helped her become an internet starlet. But when she breaks down and posts a video confessing she’s been living a lie—that she isn’t the happy, in-love, inspirational online personality she’s been trying so hard to portray—it goes viral and she receives major backlash. To get away from it all, she makes an impulsive decision: to hike the entire John Muir trail. Mari and her late cousin, Bri, were supposed to do it together, to celebrate their shared eighteenth birthday. But that was before Mari got so wrapped up in her online world that she shut anyone out who questioned its worth—like Bri.

With Bri’s boots and trail diary, a heart full of regret, and a group of strangers that she meets along the way, Mari tries to navigate the difficult terrain of the hike. But the true challenge lies within, as she searches for the way back to the girl she fears may be too lost to find: herself.
Review by Nara

Jessi Kirby is one of those contemporary authors whose books I will pretty much always read. She's released some very strong novels including Things We Know By Heart and Golden, and I'll always read her books with the expectation that I could get a massive hit in the feels.

The Other Side of Lost is probably middle of the pack Kirby for me. While there was a pretty solid story, it lacked the emotional pull of some of her other novels, and I felt I didn't quite connect as much to the protagonist Mari. On the other hand, the book did contain the rather interesting message of how people these days are too connected online and should take the time to explore the outdoors. It's been a while since I've seen a book with that message in YA, and although I don't necessarily agree with it myself (the few times I've gone without internet have been a bit hellish to be honest), I can see the value in letting yourself disconnect from social media every once in a while.

There was a bit of romance included in the book, and while I did think that the romance wasn't necessarily needed, I also didn't mind that it was included, because I felt that it was minor enough that it didn't take over the main bulk of the story. The focus was definitely still on Mari as a separate person, and her relationship with her cousin Bri.

Overall, I felt The Other Side of Lost was an interesting and relatively quick read. It was a bit different from Kirby's other novels I've read, in that there wasn't a huge focus on the romance, but I enjoyed the novel nonetheless.

Really liked it
Overall: 8/10
Plot: 4/5
Romance: 3.5/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 3/5