The Lovely and the Lost centers on the disappearance of a young girl, and Kira’s foster mother, Cady, has brought along the kids and their dogs to help track the girl. This is what they’ve been training for, after all. But this task is bringing up the past for Kira, a past her trauma has helped her to keep buried. We watch as Kira struggles against authority, makes some new friends, and helps uncover some long-buried secrets.
In what could be a traumatizing book, with a traumatized teenager who just wants to spend her time with her brother, best friend, and the dogs, Barnes has added the right amount of lightness in Jude, who is really the star of the show. His funny quips and quick thinking bring light comedic relief to the story. I was also drawn to Gabriel’s story, and while I feel there was some light resolution involving an issue he was having trouble with, it was relegated to one sentence. That sentence wasn’t a guaranteed fix to the problem he was having with someone in his life. So that was a bit disappointing, but it’s nice for the reader to hope. Overall, this is a good mix of serious and light-hearted, and the fact it centers around amazing dogs adds a nice element for the readers.
About the Book:
Kira Bennett’s earliest memories are of living alone and wild in the woods. She has no idea how long she was on her own or what she had to do to survive, but she remembers the moment that Cady Bennett and one of her search-and-rescue dogs found her. Adopted into the Bennett family, Kira still struggles with human interaction years later, but she excels at the family business: search and rescue. Together with Cady’s son, Jude, and their neighbor, Free, Kira works alongside Cady to train the world’s most elite search-and-rescue dogs. Someday, all three teenagers hope to put their skills to use, finding the lost and bringing them home.
When Cady’s estranged father, the enigmatic Bales Bennett, tracks his daughter down and asks for her help in locating a missing child — one of several visitors who has disappeared in the Sierra Glades National Park in the past twelve months — the teens find themselves on the front lines sooner than they could have ever expected. As the search through seven hundred and fifty thousand acres of unbridled wilderness intensifies, Kira becomes obsessed with finding the missing child. She knows all too well what it’s like to be lost in the wilderness, fighting for survival, alone.
But this case isn’t simple. There is more afoot than a single missing girl, and Kira’s memories threaten to overwhelm her at every turn. As the danger mounts and long-held family secrets come to light, Kira is forced to question everything she thought she knew about her adopted family, her true nature, and her past.