October 7, 2012

Review of Lost Girls by Ann Kelley


No parents. No rules. No way home. 
Fourteen-year-old Bonnie MacDonald couldn’t be more excited for a camping trip on an island off the coast of Thailand with her fellow Amelia Earhart Cadets-the daughters of the men and women stationed there during the Vietnam War. But when a strong current deposits the girls on what their boatman calls the “forbidden island,” things take a turn for the worse: A powerful storm comes to destroy their campsite, the smallest of the junior cadets is found dead, and their boatman never returns. What once seemed like a vacation in paradise has become a battle against the elements.
Peppered with short, frantic entries from Bonnie’s journal, Lost Girls is a page-turning, heart-pounding adventure story about a group of teen girls fighting for their lives.

Lost Girls by Ann Kelley
Publication Date:  July 12, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

I couldn`t find a book trailer, so here`s a song!
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**This title was provided to us by the publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions **

I have seriously been dying to start reading Lost Girls by Ann Kelley. I mean come on! A novel set during the seventies with a series of shipwrecked girls? Read the synopsis, doesn’t that sound just plain awesome? I was expecting a story that could be compared to Lord of the Flies and would be kind of like Lost minus the novel ending in a church. I was expecting so many amazing things (one of them including cannibalism) and am a bit sad to say that Lost Girls fell far from what I expected.

The novel is set in the mid-seventies from the POV (point of view) of Bonnie MacDonald whose family is in a military base in Thailand. Going on a trip with her fellow Amelia Earhart Cadets to an island that the boatman claimed was forbidden. Things quickly take a turn for the worst when a hurricane rips through their camp, killing one of their own and making a few day trip turn into weeks lost on the “forbidden island” where death seems to be causing the groups numbers to dwindle.

Lost Girls had such a promising plot, but if there’s one thing that totally set me off it was the fact that nobody was panicking. Seriously? You all just got caught in a hurricane, the ocean is a mess, nobody is gonna be coming to save you, one of your own friends just died and your holding onto stupid prejudices and acting like everything is going to be perfectly clear. It wasn’t denial. It was almost like everybody in the story except for the main character Bonnie and her friends Hope and Jas noticed that their trip just turned into something out of a horror movie.

Throughout the story their numbers begin to fall and constantly “the Glossies” and their chaperon Layla act like idiots by telling Bonnie to stop annoying them, to go get food for them while they get high and drunk and remain ignorant by saying that somebody will come to save them. The Glossies themselves just annoyed me, how did they manage to get into a cadets group that is dedicated to survival and believe that they should bring make-up and hair curlers onto their trip to the middle of nowhere? I liked how author Ann Kelley could create characters and situations that could grind my gears like that, but there did come a point where I’d have to put the book down and let my emotions sit.

The tragedies that came across in this book were great, really. They grab your emotions and take you on a ride. Especially since some of the deaths are for nine year old girls and for readers who have kids or people close to them who are that age, you’ll probably need a box of tissues. Another thing though that I think I should bring up is the lack of realism in the age groups. Kelley had nine year old girls acting like five year olds, it wasn’t too long ago that I was nine years old and I am pretty sure that I didn’t need a teddy bear to go to sleep and that my imaginary friend stopped existing a couple of years prior.

It’s probably because I’m still young that that bothered me so much, I still remember being nine and that was only four years ago. Nine year olds don’t act like five year olds and I feel like a lot of authors in YA make that mistake.

There were a ton of points in the story that left me shocked and so I expected the ending of the novel to be this big climax that would leave me feeling the way I did when I saw the Dark Knight Rises: Breathless. Sadly, I found the end of the novel to be lacking and in total the novel didn’t work for me the way I wanted it to.

I would recommend Lost Girls to readers who are in search of an adventure story and fans of shows like Lost and Survivor (minus the reality TV).

About the Author:


Ann Kelley is the author of The Burying Beetle (shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award) and The Bower Bird (Winner of the Costa Children’s Book of the Year Award). She has also published two poetry collections, The Poetry Remedy (1999) and Paper Whites (2001). She has won several prizes for her poems and has run courses for aspiring poets from her home. She is an honorary teaching fellow at Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Exeter and Plymouth. Her collected photographic works are Born and Bred (1988) and Sea Front (2005).

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