Parents' Guide to

The Lost & Found

By Mary Cosola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Online friends hatch plan to meet in sweet but bland tale.

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This sweet road trip story has an unexpected magical twist. Teens who enjoy dialogue-heavy stories without a lot of intensity will find much to like here. When Frannie and Louis decide to take their online friendship to the real-world level, they help each other figure out how much their past tragedies will define their futures. Told in the alternating points of view of Louis and Frannie, The Lost & Found is an enjoyable but sometimes bland read. The first half of the book is slow going, but it picks up once the characters start their road trips from opposite coasts to meet up in Austin, Texas.

Author Katrina Leno tried for quirky in her characters, but none of it rings true. Characters need more than odd names and unusual marriages to make them quirky. The story's concept is interesting, and the relationships are well drawn and engaging, which helps balance the flatness of the action. The book has a lot of dialogue, and the teens' rapport seems real. But it seems like the stakes should be higher in the story, given that both characters have survived tragedies and are road-tripping to meet a virtual stranger, yet none of it generates much excitement or emotion. The time line is sometimes hard to follow. For example, it's difficult to figure out when a pivotal violent event happened to Frannie, how long she was with her mother, and when she went to live with her grandparents. Other bits were odd, too, such as Frannie talking about it being almost dark when she goes for a run at 7 p.m. but Louis describing how bright the sun is at 7 p.m. on the same day. Overall, the book makes for a quick light read.

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