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The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke
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The Lost and the Found

by Cat Clarke

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It's the nightmare every parent fears. How can you move on after your child disappears?
Thirteen years ago 6 year old Laurel Logan disappears without a trace. Search after search was done, every stone unturned. There was so much publicity. Yet there were no clues, no hints as to where she had gone. Faith is Laurel's little sister. Her life has always been in the shadows of her older sister. She sometimes wonders if it would have been better if she had been taken. Laurel had been her mother's favourite, she's just the child who was left.
And then the unbelievable happens. The terrible man who had taken Laurel all those years ago, just leaves her on the front lawn of the house where the family used to live. Instantly their life again becomes a three ring circus with the publicity; the news, the talk shows, the newspapers; everything is about Laurel. Faith should be happy her sister has returned shouldn't she? And she is sometimes.
But 13 years has passed; their life isn't the same now; so many things have changed. Faith is caught up in what her sister's reappearance means to her. Her sister is severely broken by what has happened but their whole life revolves around Laurel. Faith can't escape her anywhere.
While this story is about Laurel's family and how each of them are affected and how they adjust after she returns, it is told by Faith and is primarily her story as the 17 year old sister whose life is turned upside down when Laurel returns.
While this novel is a bit of a mystery, it's more the dramatic, often heartbreaking tale of a family's life after the return of a kidnapped family member. But in my mind reading this book, there was always that obvious question that no one wants to ask.
If I had to make a criticism of the story, it would be in portrayal of Thomas and Faith's romance. Not that it didn't belong in the story because this is the story from a 17 year old point of view, but Thomas just bugged me. He had no depth and there was constant flip flop on whether or not he was a good guy and the love of her life, or quite the opposite.
Nonetheless it didn't really distract me from the story. I flew through these pages and couldn't turn the pages fast enough. The story was so absorbing and fascinating, I didn't want to put it down and devoured most of it in one day. This is a solid 4 1/2 for me. Better than a 4, I upped it to 5.
This was the first book that I have read of this author and immediately after finishing it, I signed into kobo and bought another.
Thanks to net galley and the publisher for a free copy in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  maggie1961 | Jan 16, 2017 |
On Children Lost and Found - and Overlooked and Forgotten

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for rape.)

Chances are, you have seen her. The photo of blond-haired, gap-toothed, polka-dot-dressed, teddy bear–cradling Laurel Logan has surely been printed in almost every newspaper in the world (probably even the Uzbekistan Times, now that I think about it). [...]

I was also in the original photo: four years old, cute in the way that all four-year-olds are, but nothing special. Not like her. Frizzy brown hair, beady little eyes, hand-me-down clothes. I was playing in a sandbox in the background, slightly out of focus. That’s how it’s been my whole life: in the background, slightly out of focus. You hardly ever see that version of the photo—the one where I haven’t been cropped out.

***

I try to put myself in her shoes. Coming back to your family after all that time. You’d want things to be the same as when you left, wouldn’t you? But a lot can change in thirteen years. Your mother can wither away to nothingness, and your dad can get together with a lovely Frenchman, and your little sister can stop building sand castles and start building a wall around herself instead.

***

For as long as she can remember, seventeen-year-old Faith Logan has lived in her older sister's shadow. When they were younger, Laurel was everything Faith was not: friendly, outgoing, and beautiful. Whereas Faith inherited their parents' plain Jane, mousey looks - complete with frizzy brown hair and beady eyes - the adopted Laurel practically shined with her golden blonde hair and bright blue eyes. Laurel was the leader and Faith, her mostly-content follower. That is, until the day that Laurel was kidnapped from their front yard, lured away by a stranger promising ice cream cones.

In the intervening thirteen years, Laurel has overshadowed Faith in a much more tragic and morbid way. Their mother Olivia suffers from chronic depression, a melancholy broken only by the single-minded determination to find her missing daughter. Father John is more or less absent from his remaining daughter's life; his new boyfriend Michel seems to do a better job of parenting Faith than the two combined. Unwilling to be perpetually cast as "Little Laurel Logan's" sad and less interesting younger sister, Faith avoids publicity as assiduously as Olivia courts it: both to fund the never ending search for Laurel, and to keep her case alive in the public's mind. Faith can count her friends on one hand, as too many of her peers seem to want to get close to her so they can be nearer tragedy. Rubberneckers and paparazzi vultures: these are the creatures she's built up armor against.

When Laurel finally turns up - improbably blindfolded and left on the doorstep of the family's old house on Stanley Street by her captor - the Logans' lives are upended yet again...and not always for the good. Olivia and John are overjoyed to have their girl back home, but Faith's feelings are a little more ambivalent. While this is understandable even in the best case scenario, Faith can't shake the feeling that something isn't quite right.

Laurel seems to be the real deal: she looks a lot like the age progression photos of Laurel that have been airing in the media, off and on for years. She turns up with Barnaby, her beloved - and heavily customized - stuffed bear, which went missing with her. She seemingly knows everything about the Logans and their too-short time together. She even has a scar on her cheek, a mere scab the day Laurel vanished. Yet she acts strangely: Faith catches her shoplifting makeup, snooping through her room, and cornering her boyfriend Thomas in dark, private places. Perhaps most damningly, she goes into full-on panic mode every time the police attempt to swab her cheek for a DNA sample.

Is this young woman the missing puzzle piece to their family that the Logans have been searching for - or an imposter? And, if so, do Faith's parents even want to hear the truth - or will they give anything to have their daughter back?

The Lost and the Found isn't super suspenseful, but it's still pretty engrossing. If you've ever seen that one episode of Law & Order: SVU - or, heck, paid very much attention to the synopsis - you can pretty much guess at the WHO and the WHAT. The HOW and WHY remain a mystery up until the final few chapters, which are pretty intense; but in the lead-up my attention was diverted by the narrator, Faith Logan. For me, the real draw of the story is Faith's account: a psychological portrait of a young girl (and then woman) floundering in the wake of her older sister's abduction (and likely murder).

The family's lives pretty much revolve around the daughter who was taken, leaving precious little for the girl who remains. Nor can she find the attention and care she craves in the outside world, for it too is preoccupied with the sensational and tragic. Faith must navigate a landscape populated by hangers-on and rubberneckers; well-meaning but insensitive strangers; true crime fanatics; and the media vultures who feed on the carnage of their wrecked lives. And the imbalance doesn't end with Laurel's reappearance, but rather shifts; now Faith is expected to subvert her own thoughts and desires for Laurel, because of everything she's been through. Suddenly Faith finds herself acting very much unlike herself, being pressured into appearing on talk shows and even signing a deal to pen a book with the whole family. As always, everything is about Laurel. Rinse, repeat.

Clark credits "media coverage surrounding missing children" as her inspiration for The Lost and the Found, and it shows. The Logans' chief tormentor in the media is Jeanette Hayes, who criticized the amount of attention their case received. (Think of her as the anti-Nancy Grace.) She even wrote a book about it; called The Forgotten Children, it profiles some of the other missing children - many of them poor, black, and/or from less-than-picture-perfect families - who might have benefited from the resources devoted to Laurel. Young Faith casts her as the villain, even as she sneaks into the library stacks to read Hayes's book. Yet adult Faith actually concedes her point - and tries to right at least one of the wrongs when given the chance. The "excerpt" from this fictional exposé is a rather nice touch.

The only unbelievable thing? John and the macaroons. WHAT KIND OF MONSTER HATES MACAROONS!?! They are simply delightful. I mean, salted caramel? Come the fuck on! I'm salivating just thinking about it.

http://www.easyvegan.info/2016/09/21/the-lost-and-the-found-by-cat-clark/ ( )
  smiteme | Aug 18, 2016 |
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"A twisty psychological thriller about a girl whose older sister is found thirteen years after she was abducted from their front yard. But is she really who she claims to be?"--

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