Published by Harlequin Enterprises, Australia on August 1, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.
Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.
There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.
Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.
Road trips bring about a sense of adventure, exploration, new people and sights. The idea behind Let’s Get Lost is appealing, where a girl sets her sights on a destination and plans on helping people and having adventures along the way. It’s more of a fluffy, fun and adventurous read that isn’t meant to be taken too seriously – as it ended up being unremarkable and pointless in the end.
The book is comprised of several short stories which are five different people which the teen adventurer Leila will meet along the way. She will touch them with her kindness, offer an ear and a hand to help them with the troubles and ends up making a real difference in their lives. Throughout the book, we will hear of these strangers finding a friend in Leila, but Leila herself is a mystery, until the end of the book when it’s revealed why she wants to go the Northern Lights. There wasn’t enough development for her even though we followed her throughout the book, and her story ended in a sort of ‘cop out’ way.
Most of the people who she meets will have some sort of issue that will need to be resolved, such as Hudson who is looking for a direction in life and romance, Bree who needs to make up with her sister, Elliot who wants to woo his best friend, Sonia who needs to return her wedding rings to her boyfriend. Each of these characters needed Leila in some way, and I kind of suspended my disbelief over the trust they had for Leila and vice versa. I have no idea why you would let a stranger into your car, drive you across a country, or invite them into your home after a few mere hours of meeting them, and this happened consistently during the novel. There was also an element of cheesiness during these meetings.
The girl responsible for the best night of his life was gone, headed vaguely north – who knew exactly where.
Hudson was Leila’s mechanic, who proceeds to take her out on a date and then invite her into a home, and then they swim across a river and sleep under the stars together. This happened in the space of 24 hours, which was total insta-love and not enough time to understand the impact on Leila at all – espeically since you don’t really hear from her until the very end of the novel.
Bree’s story was one which really irritated me, as she’s an adrenaline junkie who has run away from home and also a thief. She influences Leila to steal from a grocery store and steal a car for a joyride, and during that whole time I was just incredulous with Leila’s willingness to go along with it.
“Leila, you hit me with your car in the middle of the night, and despite us knowing practically nothing about each other, you’re intent on fixing my love life,” Elliot said. “Trust me, the aura’s there.”
During Sonia’s story, the two girls also figure out how to illegally get over the Canadian border after accidentally taking off with some wedding rings, and they jump into a stoner’s trunk in order to do so. There is no way this would be believable at all for any teenager with any sense of safety, and during the whole book I was just rolling my eyes at the amount of conveniences and stupid decisions that were made.
Let’s Get Lost is a fun and adventurous compilation of short stories featuring the kind soul Leila. I couldn’t overlook the stupid decisions that she would make during the novel and her reckless disregard for her own safety. I felt like it was a pointless, unmemorable read – there was something lacking to tie it all together, whether it’s about the adventures that she had along the way or the impact that she made on people and the new friends that she made. It was overall a senseless, mind numbing read, but not one that I would be in a hurry to recommend.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Thank you to Harlequin Australia for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
The last person Zac expects in the room next door is a girl like Mia, angry and feisty with questionable taste in music. In the real world, he wouldn’t—couldn’t—be friends with her. In hospital different rules apply, and what begins as a knock on the wall leads to a note—then a friendship neither of them sees coming.
You need courage to be in hospital; different courage to be back in the real world. In one of these worlds Zac needs Mia. And in the other Mia needs Zac. Or maybe they both need each other, always.
After the heartbreak that was TFIOS, it took me a very long time to pick up another cancer book. I have no idea why it took me so long, because Zac & Mia were charming characters that really warmed my heart.
I love character relationships that seem to play off each other, balancing off each others moods and personalities. That’s what Zac & Mia was, with the optimistic, fact finding, caring Zac against the moody, morose, and violent Mia. Zac in hospital is the hardest part, as he counts his days there and shares all the gory details of cancer, from bowel movements to white cell counts. His days with his mum keeping him company are mundane, until Mia walks in blasting some loud Lady Gaga music on repeat and arguing with her mum. Mia seems so self loathing, angry and alone, even though she has a high chance of surviving cancer. With Zac’s caring nature and wanting to make a friend his age, he wants to get to know and help Mia. I loved how he could see through her facade and coping mechanism into how lonely she really was, and how there was no one there to really comfort her.
The book is told in three parts – the first in hospital, the second where Zac is released and living on the farm, and the third where Mia finally shares her point of view. While the plot is fairly loose, it offers us significant character development, especially with Zac finding a friend in Mia and Mia being able to affect him positively in the end.
Whatever’s happened to Mia, it’s emptied her. It’s left behind a girl with fake hair, fake plans, and nowhere in the world she actually wants to be.
I loved both Zac and Mia, even though Mia was a bit insufferable at the start. She’s self pitying, angry, and violent and worried about losing her hair instead of her survival rate. And you know what? That’s probably a more realistic reaction, than the more practical Zac with his quiet acceptance of leukemia.
Zac’s beautiful nature in reaching out to Mia from the start, shows the development of a beautiful friendship. It’s not just about romance, it’s more about finding a kindred soul who you can rely on to understand the darkest parts of cancer. About someone you can talk to as an equal without being subject to pity or ignorance. About someone who will not judge, but just listen and be there during your darkest moments.
I’m a complete idiot. All the compliments in the world mean nothing if he doesn’t want to act on them. Zac is just a nice guy, trying to make me feel better. And I’m a fucking fool for believing him.
Zac & Mia shows us a lot more about having cancer. From the more medical parts in hospital, to the alienation of friends who just don’t understand what you’re going through, to the pity that people give you, it’s all there. Even if you feel like you’ve read the YA cancer book, Zac & Mia will offer you a different perspective, focusing on friendship as the grounding factor.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Thank you to Text Publishing for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.