A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Explanation of the Jewish tradition of sitting shiva after a family member dies. U.S. geography factors in to the story, as two characters take road trips from opposite coasts to meet up in Texas. Some discussion of schizophrenia and of the mental health of trauma survivors.
With proper support and love, kids can work through tragedies. When you're struggling emotionally, it's good to seek help from professionals, family, and friends. Taking risks can help you grow as a person. Trust in those closest to you; they have your best interests at heart.
Positive Role Models
All the characters are good people, even if a few of them do make some flawed decisions. Frannie's grandparents lied to her, but they thought they were doing their best to give her a happy, secure upbringing. Frannie's cousin Arrow and Louis' twin sister, Willa, are supportive and helpful companions. Louis' parents love and want the best for their children. Louis and Frannie are stronger and have come further than they realize in the wake of traumas they've endured. Even though it's considered misguided to meet someone you only know on the internet, the families take precautions to be sure Louis and Frannie will be safe.
Violence & Scariness
The few violent scenes are told in flashback. A dad stabs his daughter with a fountain pen. The wound and blood are described but not in gory detail. A young girl falls off a fire escape and loses her legs. The sounds of her hitting the pavement, a car running over her legs, and the feeling of the amputation surgery are described in detail.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The relationships in the book are not sexually charged. One character feels she isn't ready for sex with her boyfriend, but it isn’t a big point of interest in the book. Two characters hold hands and kiss once.
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Characters swear infrequently: "s--t" and its variations, "f--k" and its variations, "asshat," "a--hole," and "d--k."
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Products & Purchases
Most products and media mentioned are for scene setting: Volkswagen, Honda Civic, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, FX, HBO, Disneyland and Disney World, Universal Studios, Jiffy Lube, TJ Maxx, iPad, iPhone, Facebook, and Google.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens each drink one small bottle of alcohol from a motel minibar; they don't get drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Lost & Found is a combination online-relationship, road trip, and trauma-survivor story. There's a touch of magic to the story, as the two find more than they bargained for when they hit the road. Though the story deals with internet friendships, driving to meet strangers, and trauma survivors, the content is mild. The characters all are decent people who generally make good decisions, with a few exceptions. The book doesn't have a lot of intensity in terms of conflict, violence, swearing, or substance use (limited to two teens drinking a small bottle of whiskey from a motel minibar). And the only sexual contact is some hand-holding and a kiss. Louis is biracial Indian-American, and white Frannie's cousin Arrow is adopted from Vietnam.
Is It Any Good?
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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