The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Crime (?)
Published by: Quercus
The Lost and the Found has been on my radar for a while. It follows Faith thirteen years after her adopted sister Laurel was abducted and suddenly reappears. Laurel is thrust back into her family life and it’s a lot to adjust to. Meanwhile, Faith is struggling with her older sister’s return as what little attention she got from her parents before is completely non-existent now that Laurel’s back. Last year I read If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch, which is about sisters who are returned to civilisation after growing up in the woods. It has a similar tone and the same mysterious and volatile tone that I really loved from Murdoch’s book and overall, I’m pleased I was immersed in the harrowing tale of the Logan family.
C H A R A C T E R S
Faith is confused and struggling to sort out how she feels now that her sister has returned. On the one hand, she’s relieved to finally have her sister back, but on the other, something doesn’t feel quite right and she’s doesn’t like all the attention Laurel’s return had brought on the Logan family. I really loved Faith’s conflicting emotions because I really felt for her in the intense situations. Like when her infuriating mother always sides with Laurel and tries to
force encourage Faith to do TV interviews and write a book about their experiences ‘as a family.’ Or when Laurel seems to be stealing her best friend and her boyfriend. It’s emotionally grey, if you will. I found Faith to be a bit whiny at times, but more than anything I trusted her judgement. She wasn’t over-the-top when it came to complaints and she kept a level-head even when things weren’t going as expected. I just really appreciated the depth of her character.
Laurel was a hard one to gauge. You wanted to trust her, you really did. But you also couldn’t help wishing that she would get settled because you wanted Faith to be happy. More than anything, Laurel was sweet, and even when she seemed to be the centre of everything, I never got the impression that she was doing any of it to be malicious.
The Parents. I found the mother to be insufferable. Probably because she was so realistic. The way she emotionally manipulated Faith had me grinding my teeth. It definitely didn’t present her to be the most sympathetic character, but I think that’s because her presentation was unreliable because all of her actions were filtered through Faith. I really really loved the dad. He was so understanding and worked hard to make Faith understand that she was appreciated and still a big part of the family. But the best parental-figure, BY FAR, was Michel, Faith’s dad’s partner. First of all, to have such a family that’s so diverse was wonderful to see, and Michel was probably my favourite character. Although the adult’s lives are integral to the story, the focus remains on Faith and Laurel, but it was still nice to see some Parents-In-YA representation.
P A C I N G and S T R U C T U R E
This would have been a very different story had it been told from Laurel’s point of view, and having Faith as the narrator really makes you think about how life-changing other’s actions can be on the people around them. Of course, having Faith as the narrator also meant there could be a lot of tension around what happened to Laurel over the thirteen years, and whenever Laurel divulged in telling her sister anything about her time with ‘Smith’ I found myself leering over the book, anticipating the details.
We didn’t get an overwhelming amount of insight into what happened to Laurel but from the information she does supply it’s not difficult to fill in the blanks. Laurel’s story felt very similar to storied I’d heard about or read about in the past. The story may be reminiscent of the disappearance of Madeline McCann conspiracy theories. So, if you’re from the UK and are familiar with the story it will probably strike a chord with you too. The whole story works really well because it plays off storied you’ve already heard.
One of my only negative complaints about this book would be the pacing. I thought it was waaaayyy too slow. The middle dragged when the suspense and novelty had worn off and it took a while to pick back up again. Despite the blurb already spot,ing us on the fact that Laurel returns, Clarke spends fifty pages building up to this event. I know it’s gong to happen, already, so let me just get to it! Luckily, I was invested enough in the mystery to read on to see how it all panned out.
There’s an element of mystery to the Lost and Found, and unfortunately I saw the cliffhanger coming from a mile away. If you’re familiar with this kind of genre then it will come as no surprise, most likely. However, if you haven’t read much then you might not pick up on the clues as easily, which will probably make it a more enjoyable reading experience! The most harrowing part, for me, wasn’t the big reveal, but the final paragraph before the book excerpt, because it literally gave me chills. I’m not entirely sure if it was necessary – and it’s going to be hard to understand why I’m obsessing over this bit so much if you haven’t read the book – but then again I’m not sure what the story would be like without it. Let’s just say it gave a very lasting image that I’ll be thinking of for a long time to come.
V E R D I C T
It’s difficult to talk about The Lost and the Found without going into intense spoilers, but I think I covered the main things that will either convince you to pick it up or decide it’s not for you. The premise alone was enough to make me read it without hearing anything about it prior to reading the blurb. Overall, I gave The Lost and the Found 3 stars for being a immersive and entertaining read, if a little bit predictable.