Friday, July 13, 2012

Today I've got the lovely Mckenzie back to review Lost Girls for us.  She declared to her mother, the equally-lovely Michele at A Belle's Tales, that this book was "her absolute favorite read of the year".  I love this girl and I love that this book elicited such a strong reaction from her.  But I'll let her review speak for itself...

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Title:  Lost Girls
Author:  Ann Kelley
Series:  stand-alone
Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date:  July 10, 2012
Source:  ARC
Purchase:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

No parents. No rules. No way home.

Fourteen-year-old Bonnie MacDonald couldn't be more excited for a camping trip on an island off the coast of Thailand with her fellow Amelia Earhart Cadets-the daughters of the men and women stationed there during the Vietnam War. But when a strong current deposits the girls on what their boatman calls the "forbidden island," things take a turn for the worse: A powerful storm comes to destroy their campsite, the smallest of the junior cadets is found dead, and their boatman never returns. What once seemed like a vacation in paradise has become a battle against the elements.

Peppered with short, frantic entries from Bonnie's journal, Lost Girls is a page-turning, heart-pounding adventure story about a group of teen girls fighting for their lives.

Thank you so much, Ms. Jen, for having me at The Starry-Eyed Revue today, and an even bigger thank-you for sending me this fabulous ARC!

Lost Girls by Ann Kelley was a heart-pounding book that I was able to eagerly read within two days. Ms. Kelley wrote this story perfectly, which is difficult to do with an action or adventure story. She made the events of the story believable and didn’t go overboard with injuries or death. Lost Girls was an amazing book that I’ll be revisiting for sure!

The beauty of the book, in my opinion, is that it was set in May of 1974. I love a book set in the 70’s - or anything 70’s, really. This book was a total hit with me!

I was shocked - and intrigued - by the fact that the author didn’t wait a hot second before killing off a little girl in a gruesome way (vivid details were not given). I knew when that happened that, by reading this book, I was in for quite a ride. And boy did Ms. Kelley take me on one! She fills the pages of her book with entries from the main character Bonnie MacDonald’s journal. Bonnie is a fourteen-year-old girl currently living in Thailand with her mother - her father is a soldier, so they are stationed there for the time being. When Bonnie and her Amelia Earhart Cadet group go off for three days to survive on an island in the middle of the sea, things turn bad in the blink of an eye. Horrible storms and winds, a dangerous ocean in which no one can sail (yet another reason to lose hope of ever being saved), and a forest filled with wild boars, tigers, snakes, and more. Can Bonnie pull together a plan and get everyone off the island alive?

 The elements seem to be against Bonnie and her peers as they try to stay alive in the wilderness of a supposedly forbidden island. I found that it was easy to get lost in the story and feel as if I were one of the girls myself. This book was very emotional for me in some parts: when Bonnie met the monk, when Layla Campbell realized she needed to step up her game… when a beloved character died. 

--- Bonnie MacDonald - Bonnie was one of my favorite characters in this book because, though she was fourteen, she kept her focus and was able to keep everyone alive for weeks, with help from her friends, but hardly any from their leader.

--- Layla Campbell - Mrs. Campbell was an interesting character. Her bad definitely outweighed her good in some points. When things got bad, she turned to alcohol and drugs, and, unfortunately, encouraged two of the girls to join her, which, sadly, they did without hesitation. She even kept whiskey for herself when it could have saved another girl’s life. But when she almost drowned, she knew she had to change. Layla knew she was there for a reason, and stepped it up towards the end to become the leader she was supposed to be all along.

--- Jas - Jas was such a wonderful character. Also one of my favorites. She knew so much and it was her knowledge, education, and survival skills that helped the group stay alive, too. She was always telling people things about animals and plants they found on the island. I admired that greatly.

--- Hope - My favorite character, Hope, was the one I felt the worst for. Her father was unspeakably cruel to her. Hope was easy to love. She had a hard life, though, and it showed in her stutter and lack of courage and confidence in herself. I loved Hope's fight to overcome her stutter, her will to gain the other girls' respect, and her struggle to obtain bravery and confidence. Really someone to look up to.

I could go on all day long about Lost Girls, but I don’t want to give too much away. Lost Girls was an amazing book by a very talented author. I would absolutely love to see it made into a movie - I already know who I would want to play some of the characters. I will definitely be reading more of Ann Kelley’s work, as she sure knows how to pull a reader in! 

Lost Girls was a very intense book, and some scenes might upset younger readers, especially when the little girl dies in the very beginning. I was able to relate more to this story because the characters were older and more mature than some of the middle-grade books I’ve recently read. Also, there is a bit of mild language in this book. These features make the book more YA than middle-grade, which is why I recommend it to readers thirteen/fourteen and up. I believe this story would appeal to any reader of or over that age because it contains something for everybody.

Ms. Jen generously sent Lost Girls to me along with two other ARCs! I loved them all, but, I must say, Lost Girls was my favorite of the bunch. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Ms. Jen!! You’re too sweet! <3

Rating:  Photobucket -- but Mckenzie says, "I'd give it a billion if I could."  ♥ her!!!


Mckenzie, will you write all my reviews for me?  Pretty please?!?  :D

In all seriousness, I love having a real teen review books aimed at that age group.  And I love that this particular teen has enjoyed every one she's read at my request.  This girl is already quite the little I see a book blog in her future?  She is already dream-casting novels, after all.  :0)

Thank you, Mckenzie, for taking the time to read and review these books for us.  You are such a sweetheart!  I can't wait to see what you read next!

Be sure to check out Mckenzie's other reviews here on the blog:  A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle and The Storm Makers by Jennifer E. Smith.

And be sure to check back next week, as I'll be giving away an ARC of Lost Girls in the Vacation Reads Giveaway Hop!


  1. Awww, Jen - and we love YOU! Thank you so much for sending her the amazing books and for having her guest review them for your awesome blog! I can hardly wait to read Lost Girls myself :D

  2. Ohhh, WOW! I've never heard about this book before, but if it gets five full stars from you and a billion from Mckenzie, then I think that means I HAVE to read this! :) I can't believe that the author killed off the girl right away in a not-so-painless manor -- that's so horrible yet so awe-inspiring at the same time! Most authors would NEVER take that step, and I love Ann Kelley for it.

    Amazing review, Jen! It's really nice to meet you :) <3

  3. OMG this one sounds SO GOOD! I need it...NOW!!! arghhh, have to wait to go to a bookstore :( Great review :D

    Confessions of a Readaholic

  4. Mackenzie! It's good to see another review from you! I'm going to be reading Lost Girls very soon. I hope I enjoy it as much as you did. I bet my review isn't as good as yours. Keep up the great work!


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