A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Let's Get Lost is about a teenage girl, Leila, on a solo road trip from Louisiana to Alaska to see the Northern Lights; along the way, she meets four other teenagers. Teens sneak out of the house, shoplift, steal a car, and try multiple times to cross an international border illegally. The story depicts teens making out, drinking (often to excess), and smoking pot and cigarettes. Profanities include "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole."
What's the story?
LET'S GET LOST is a road-trip story about Leila, who has left Louisiana for Alaska in hopes of seeing the Northern Lights. The book unfolds in a series of five stories, each of which sees Leila happening upon a teen dealing with a life-changing situation. She doesn't share with these teens much about her own life or her reasons for her big journey, but she provides them with insights, advice, support, and friendship. As she moves north through the U.S. and Canada and gets to her destination, Leila has to confront the incidents in her own past that spurred the trip, and she comes to some important decisions regarding how to move forward with the rest of her life.
Is it any good?
Many teen readers will find inspiration here. In Let's Get Lost, Leila helps other teenagers with serious issues, such as heartbreak, death, and big decisions about the future. By structuring the novel as five short stories, author Adi Alsaid gives the reader a glimpse into the lives and issues facing a variety of teenagers. The downside of this structure is that the reader can't get vested enough in any of the characters. Even Leila, the main character, is enigmatic throughout most of the book.
Each story finds a character in a predicament, with Leila stepping in to help solve the problem, usually instigating a wild adventure in the process. Sometimes this approach works, but other times the situations feel contrived and ridiculous. The first story, "Hudson," is the clunker; the writing is cloying, and the plot unbelievable. After that rocky start, though, the book improves, though the antics in the story "Sonia" are illogical. Still, Asaid writes some very nice moments between Leila and her new friends.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about dealing with tragedy. Do you shut down and keep your emotions to yourself? Or do you freely share how you're feeling? Why do you think you react the way you do? Can you think of ways to reach out for help or people to whom you can turn when you're dealing with sad or troubling issues?
Have you ever imagined or planned something according to how it might play out in a movie or a book? Did the real situation live up to the idealized version? Have you considered why real life often isn't the same as movies and books?
Are you as comfortable talking to strangers your age as Leila is in Let's Get Lost? Can you think of any scenarios that might prod you to initiate a conversation with another teenager?
If you were able to take a solo road trip anywhere for a few weeks, where would you go? What would be your ideal playlist?
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