(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)Also by this author: The Fixer, Little White Lies
Published by Disney Electronic Content on May 7th 2019
Genres: Action & Adventure, Animals, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Survival Stories, Young Adult Fiction
Kira Bennett’s earliest memories are of living alone and wild in the woods. She has no idea how long she was on her own or what she had to do to survive, but she remembers the moment that Cady Bennett and one of her search-and-rescue dogs found her perfectly. Adopted into the Bennett family, Kira still struggles with human interaction years later, but she excels at the family business: search-and-rescue. Along with Cady’s son, Jude, and their neighbor, Free, Kira works alongside Cady to train the world’s most elite search-and-rescue dogs. Someday, all three teenagers hope to put their skills to use, finding the lost and bringing them home.
But when Cady’s estranged father, the enigmatic Bales Bennett, tracks his daughter down and asks for her help in locating a missing child—one of several visitors who has disappeared in the Sierra Glades National Park in the past twelve months—the teens find themselves on the frontlines sooner than they could have ever expected. As the search through 750,000 acres of unbridled wilderness intensifies, Kira becomes obsessed with finding the missing child. She knows all too well what it’s like to be lost in the wilderness, fighting for survival, alone.
But this case isn’t simple. There is more afoot than a single, missing girl, and Kira’s memories threaten to overwhelm her at every turn. As the danger mounts and long-held family secrets come to light, Kira is forced to question everything she thought she knew about her adopted family, her true nature, and her past.
The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is the second book I’ve read by her and I have to say, I enjoyed the story and based on both books I will definitely be checking out more!
I wasn’t really sure where this story was going to go based on the summary, but I don’t mind a darker storyline in the books I read and Kira’s story isn’t all rainbows, that’s for sure. There is no question in my mind that Kira is a survivor and I’m convinced that Cady Bennett came into her life at exactly the right time. Kira’s memories go back to a point where she was living alone and wild in the woods and she has no idea how long she had been trying to survive that way. When Cady and one of her rescue dogs find her, she immediately becomes a part of her family. Although that is great, it is clear that Kira still struggles being “normal”, but she has Cady, her adopted brother Jude, and their neighbor Free to help and support her.
I have to say, while I enjoyed the characters in this book, my absolute favorite person was Jude. He brings the right level of optimism and levity to this story to balance out the pieces that could really make this a tough read. He loves his family and is extremely loyal and I love that about him. There are several things in his story that could have made him an angry teenager, but I appreciate that he is the type of character to challenge everyone around him to see things in a more positive way.
Cady was an interesting character for me. She has some secrets and by agreeing to her father’s request and going home, she is opening some old wounds. Not only that, her decision has created some challenges because of the secrets she has kept and Kira’s history. I loved her relationship with Kira. She wasn’t forcing her to be someone she wasn’t and while she was protective (as any parent would be), she gave Kira the space needed to come back to the human world on her terms.
So, to get to the story, when Cady’s estranged father tracks her down and asks her to help locate a missing girl, she agrees and brings Jude, Kira, and Free with her to the Sierra Glades National Park. As I mentioned, this has brought back some tough memories for Kira and she becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. What they don’t know is that this search will put them all in danger and those secrets I mentioned will force everyone to face some things that they probably would have rather left uncovered.
I can’t say much about the story for fear of giving something away, but I will say that I loved how Barnes developed the relationships amongst the characters, including the search and rescue dogs. They were integral to the story and the secondary characters were just as well done and are the catalyst to several things that happen in the book.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. This story kept me turning the pages because I had to find out what was going to happen next with everyone and while I wanted a bit more at the end, I thought this was well done and only solidified the fact that I need to read more books by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. If you are looking for a story with a bit of a mystery and some interesting characters, check this one out!
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the early copy in exchange for an honest review.