ARC Review: THE LOST by Sarah Beth Durst

I received this book for free from HarlequinMIRA. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review: THE LOST by Sarah Beth Durst
The Lost
The Lost #1

Written by: Sarah Beth Durst
Published by: HarlequinMIRA
Release date: May 27th 2014
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Magical Realism
Pages: 384
Source: Publisher
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

Lost your way? Your dreams? Yourself?

Welcome to Lost.

It was supposed to be a small escape. A few hours driving before turning around and heading home. But once you arrive in Lost... well, it's a place you really can't leave. Not until you're Found. Only the Missing Man can send you home. And he took one look at Lauren Chase and disappeared.

So Lauren is now trapped in the town where all lost things go—luggage, keys, dreams, lives—where nothing is permanent, where the locals go feral and where the only people who don't want to kill her are a handsome wild man called the Finder and a knife-wielding six-year-old girl. The only road out of town is engulfed by an impassable dust storm, and escape is impossible...

Until Lauren decides nothing—and no one—is going to keep her here anymore.


When I first heard about The Lost, I was a goner. That is to say, the blurb appealed to me like CRAZY, and I knew I had to have this book in my life. Why? Well, did you read the blurb?! It’s about a girl who finds herself stuck in a town made up of lost things and lost people and lost dreams. I don’t know about you, but that premise alone was enough to have me dying to read the book. The potential in that idea is huge… and for me, The Lost totally delivered.

I immediately connected with the main character, Lauren, who’s at a place in her life that I found really relatable. She’s in her mid-twenties, out of school, but still in that period of just-figuring-things-out. Her voice was really easy to connect with. She’s snarky, but not too snarky – she just came across as very real, to me.

“Work is the daily activity that sucks your soul but pays your bills. It’s the path your feet walked down while your head was stuck in the clouds.”

The Lost, ARC, pg 20

Tragically, though, Lauren is slowly losing her mother to cancer. And one day, dreading the news from her mom’s latest tests, she’s on her way to work – and she decides to just keep driving, and driving… (Check out my interview with Sarah Beth Durst, where she explains where she got this idea!) Eventually, Lauren finds herself in a strange little town, stays at the motel overnight, but when she tries to leave in the morning, she can’t. She drives away from town, but just ends up headed straight back into it, over and over.

After being shunned and all but run out of the town after a strange encounter when she first arrived, Lauren ends up befriending a couple of the locals. Peter, the Finder, is a fixture in Lost – he finds people and brings them out of the dust-storm-like void that surrounds the town. Claire is a six-year-old who mostly tags along with Peter, in the times she isn’t out looking after herself. She and Peter teach Lauren what it takes to make a life in Lost.

The town of Lost itself is sprawling – a mix of whimsical and creepy, charming and run-down, beautiful and dangerous. Which I suppose is to be expected. Lost things are lost for a reason, and they’re usually not brand-spanking-new. But one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and as Lauren begins to learn how to survive in this run-down, forgotten town, she learns to appreciate its beauty, as well.

I feel light-headed and giddy. […] Peter is looking at me with an unreadable expression. “What?” I ask.

“‘The mind is its own place, and in itself / Can make a heaven of Hell, a hell of Heaven.’ Still think this place is so terrible?” He sounds wistful.

“It has its moments,” I concede.

The Lost, ARC, pg 185

The town of Lost has a very fairy-tale, sort of Wonderland/Neverland-ish quality to it, both in the setting and in the people and attitudes you find there. It’s a strange place, full of strange people, who go through extremes of hope and despair. The scenes when Lauren is in the real world stand in stark contrast to her time in Lost, gray and plodding compared to the fantastical and ever-changing nature of Lost.

There is a bit of romance in The Lost, between Lauren and Peter, and I loved it to death. This is in no way insta-love, though Peter is definitely immediately intriguing. But Lauren takes a long time to finally come to trust Peter. And as Peter gets to know Lauren, he slowly starts to open up to her. And through it all, while Peter very much wants to protect Lauren and keep her safe, he also has faith in her to look out for herself when she can.

Peter is probably my favorite character in the book, because he reminded me so much of a grown-up Peter Pan, only, a lonely one, without his troupe of Lost Boys… Peter is just as strange and whimsical and mysterious as the town of Lost itself. He’s a mercurial enigma, stunningly truthful at times, and tantalizingly mysterious at others.

He’s like Peter Pan. A dark, mysterious, sexy, grown-up Peter Pan, who can somehow be dangerous and charming at the same time.

The Lost, ARC, pg 110

Much of what Peter says is made up of quotations from poems or fairy-tales, which always seem to fit the moment perfectly. (Seriously, Peter and all his quotes is one of my favorite things about the book.) Most of all, Peter has a sense of otherness to him; he’s often boyish and beaming, but he also has moments that age him, and I love that quality in a character.

He’s earnest in a way I’ve never seen him, eyes intent on mine. I imagine I see a flicker of… what? Sadness? All the childlike play is gone, and I see a man who looks as though he’s lost more than I can imagine.

The Lost, ARC, pg 121


In conclusion…

This book is awesome. It’s a seriously unique premise, wonderfully executed… The Lost just perfectly delivered on what I wanted it to be. The town is a super cool, sort of grown-up/darker version of Neverland, run down but beautiful. Lauren is an excellent main character and I loved her first-person narration a lot. Peter is… Well, he’s a grown-up Peter Pan, which tells you enough about him to know why I adore him so much.

Also, I didn’t mention this earlier, but there was one section of the book where I was just sobbing… seriously, I was crying so hard.  And any book that can make me do that is always one of my favorites. It means I was invested in the story and the characters, and that they were able to crush my heart to little pieces. And I love it (and hate it!!!) when that happens. ;)

So yeah, guys. Pick up The Lost the next time you go to the bookstore. It’s so worth it. Plus, it comes out TOMORROW, May 27th, so you barely even have to wait! ;D

PS. Sarah Beth Durst was on the blog the other day for an interview, so if you need more convincing about this book (which I hope you don’t!! lol), you should check that out!

5 thoughts on “ARC Review: THE LOST by Sarah Beth Durst

  1. Weeee I was looking forward to your review on this one :D Reading your thoughts brought me to one conclusion: EVERYTHING about this book appeals to me!!! I love the sound of a lost town where lost things all end up. I love how the town is SO MANY awesome things. The MC sounds really wonderful – I love relatable heroines ♥ And Peter? Well he just sounds divine and I want to know ALL about him!! Awesome review ^^ I’ll be checking out Lost for sure xxx

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