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The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn…

The Lovely and the Lost

by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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415436,132 (4.05)2
When a little girl is lost in a 750,000-acre national park, a family of search-and-rescue professionals reunites and three generations of secrets are uncovered.



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A 2020 Lone Star selection, The Lovely and the Lost keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Found in the woods after weeks alone, Kira was adopted by the woman who found her and raised with her son, Jude and the next door neighbor, Free. They have all learned how to train dogs and work search and rescue. Kira is still haunted by her past and took many years to trust people. She loves and trusts these three people. She must depend on them and find herself in order to be successful with finding the lost. Another little girl has gone missing and Cady, Kira's mother, has been requested to help search by Cady's father. This request is a surprise because Cady has never mentioned her father. They only train dogs; they don't do search and rescue. Of course, the teens want to go, but they are curious about Cady's father and what happened in the past. Jude doesn't even know who his own father is and refuses to ask because it could upset Cady whom he loves. When Cady returns to her hometown with the three teens, she must face her own past.

Kira connects with her dogs. Silver has been by her side ever since she was found and through her recovery acclimating into society. Her brother Jude is an eternal optimist who has done everything and anything to help Kira. Free is the free-spirit who only allows a bit of control. They are determined to find the little girl but get pulled off the search for rest and safety. There's something odd about the town. Too many people have gone missing over the years. What's happening? Cady's father has allowed a teenager to stay at his place named Gabriel. The sheriff has a low opinion of Gabriel. Gabriel, however, knows the mountains and can help Kira navigate through the woods. His own brother went missing years ago.

You will not want to put the novel down. You'll want to know what happened that Cady left about seventeen years ago, who else has gone missing, why Gabriel and the sheriff hate each other, where the little girl is (lost or kidnapped?), and whether Kira can handle her own demons and flashbacks while trying to do a search and rescue. Everyone has secrets. The descriptions and imagery are all dog-related, so you'll see dogs honored for their loyalty and skills. You definitely want to read this one! It's an excellent Lone Star choice! ( )
  acargile | Dec 16, 2019 |
Literary Merit: Good+
Characterization: Good
Recommended: Yes
Level: High School

"The Lovely and the Lost" follows Kira, her adoptive family and friends, and the dogs that complete their family unit. As a young kid, Kira was found in the woods by Cady and Silver, the former would go on to be her adoptive mom and the latter her adoptive dog. Also in the picture is Jude, adoptive brother, and Free, a family friend. When Cady's estranged father comes to ask her and their search and rescue family to help find a missing child, Kira immediately feels compelled to help and it's decided they will assist. When the search is not straight forward, questions surface about if the child really is missing or if someone has taken her. Other secrets come to the fore that exemplify the nuance that comes with familial relationships.

On the whole, I loved this book. I enjoyed each of the primary characters, particularly Jude's quick wit and humor. It was interesting to see how Kira identified better with the dogs than she did with other humans. The way that Barnes depicted Kira's actions and intentions was also engaging.

Warning: Spoilers ahead. There were a couple of issues that I had with the way this book ended. The first was that when Silver died, Kira took it upon herself to bury the dog (in an unfamiliar town) and told no other person that Silver had passed. I find it highly unlikely that Kira wouldn't have told someone, and I find it offensive that Cady and Jude were not immediately informed of the dog's passing. When do they get to say goodbye? The way that was handled didn't feel authentic.

End spoilers.

The other problem that I had with the ending is that in the last few dozen pages several things happened in rapid succession that completed the arc of the plot line, but didn't feel fully fleshed out. It felt like there were a bunch of different threads all going in their own directions and pieces of information keep falling on the reader. It felt like literary whiplash; it was hard to determine where to focus my energy as a reader.

Overall, I would probably recommend this title. The writing was done well and the characters were fun and engaging. ( )
  SWONroyal | Oct 17, 2019 |
Lovely and the Lost is a engaging tale of Kira, Jude and Free. 3 teenagers who couldn’t be more different, but who share an unbreakable bond. The 3 of them share a unique background training specialized search and rescue dogs. Free and Jude both act as supporting characters acting in concert to aid Kira, an adopted teen with a strange, traumatic past. Kira was found in the woods when she was very young, injured, and barely socialized. The bond Kira, Jude, Free, the intuitive rescue dogs share act in concert to help Kira heal and repair herself.

The search and rescue team gets their first challenge when they are called in to investigate the disappearance of a 9 year old girl inside a vast and expansive park. The team each gets a different set of challenges on the road to finding the missing child.

This story’s strengths lie in the bonds between Kira and her special dogs. Anyone who has ever had a special animal in their life can relate to this story. This is a really quick read and worthwhile as a weekend read. Novel supplied by Netgalley. ( )
  hana321 | Jun 23, 2019 |
This review can also be found on my blog.
disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for review consideration. All of the opinions presented below are my own.

I blew through this book, which I requested from NetGalley on a whim. It follows a girl named Kira who trains search and rescue dogs with her adoptive family. Kira herself has a mysterious past that slowly comes further to light as the story progresses. While there were a couple of moments that seemed a little overdramatic and pulled me out of the story, I found this to be wildly compelling otherwise. The characters were all distinct in their own ways and I loved seeing their relationships play out on the page. The plot kept me interested, and I didn’t predict the twist at the end. Overall a really good read, and I’ll definitely be checking out more of Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ work. ( )
  samesfoley | Apr 24, 2019 |
THE LOVELY AND THE LOST was an amazing and engaging story. Kira is the main character. She was lost in the woods for weeks until she was found by Cady Bennett and her search dog. Kira doesn't remember her time before the woods. After being adopted by Cady, she spent years learning how to be around humans, recognizing facial expressions, hating to be touched. It is only her relationship with her brother Jude, their friend Free, and the companionship of the dogs being trained for search and rescue that connect her to humans.

When Cady's estranged father Bales find them and begs for Cady's help in locating a young girl lost in the woods, Cady, Kira, Jude and Free along with their dogs go to help. The search is one thing but none of them expected to be surrounded by family secrets and town secrets too.

They meet Gabriel who is a teen living with Bales and who has secrets of his own. They also meet Mac who was a childhood friend of Cady's but who hasn't seen her for years. The kids learn that Cady, Mac, and Ash had had a close friendship like theirs but Ash was lost while they were on a mission in South America to rescue a kidnapped girl. Ash's disappearance still haunts all who knew him.

I loved Kira, Jude and Free. Each was a quirky, distinctly drawn character. The story is mostly told from Kira's point of view but Jude and Free still shine. I loved that they all had their problems and that they all found different ways to deal with them.

I couldn't put this one down and the characters will haunt my thoughts for quite a while. ( )
  kmartin802 | Mar 29, 2019 |
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