Sunday, August 3, 2014

Book Review: "Let's Get Lost" by Adi Alsaid

Let's Get Lost is sweet, quirky, and more than slightly implausible in places, but it's one of those books where the characters act like and say things you wish people would in real life.

Leila is a free spirited young woman on the ultimate road trip—she's headed from her home in Louisiana to see the Northern Lights, which she has always wanted to see. Driving her bright red car, moving from place to place, she comes upon several different people, each in a time of need or dealing with an emotional crisis. Acting as a cross between a fairy godmother and a partner in crime (sometimes literally), Leila tries to help each of them find a way to solve their problems, winding up in some interesting and occasionally zany situations.

In Vicksburg, Mississippi, she comes upon Hudson, a young mechanic who has a great deal of pride in his hometown, but is heading toward a life-changing opportunity. On a highway in Kansas, she encounters Bree, a runaway shouldering some heavy emotional burdens, but who still has a zeal for seizing opportunities that come her way. Leila finds Elliot in Burnsville, Minnesota on the night of his high school prom, when he's dealing with disappointment that his love of the movies had never prepared him for. And in British Columbia, Leila crosses paths with Sonia, a young woman with a tough decision to make.

To each of the people she encounters, Leila appears as a mystery and a savior (although their interactions don't always end with them feeling the same way), and she helps them find solutions to the things that are bothering or worrying them—sometimes she guides them, sometimes she helps them find the answers within themselves. While the issues they deal with aren't unusual, sometimes the manner in which they try and solve their problems is, and that's where the book sometimes loses steam, because the situations they find themselves in a few times are just too implausible.

But Hudson, Bree, Elliot, and Sonia aren't the only ones changed by these experiences. As helpful as she is, Leila, too, has her own issues, and her own journey of self-discovery to make, and it takes her to Alaska and back. She, too, realizes there aren't always answers to the questions that plague us.

I enjoyed this book a lot, even if I had to suspend disbelief a few times. This is a book about realizing that as insurmountable as your problems may seem, you can actually solve them—all it takes sometimes is the opportunity to talk them out with someone, plus a little faith. It's also the story of how it's so much easier to help others than it can be to help yourself. It's an emotional, funny, sweet book.

I really liked the characters and felt that Adi Alsaid did a great job giving them complexity. Each of the sections of the book read like their own novellas—I just wish that I knew where things ended for them. That's definitely a mark of a good storyteller.

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