One summer, a teenaged girl (known in the world of TV Troupes as the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, or MPDG) goes on a long-way-around road trip to see the Northern Lights in Alaska. On the way, she runs into four emotionally stunted teens and the MPDG helps them open up, experience antics, and truly experience life! Road trips, teenage epiphanies, and romance. Yup. Let’s Get Lost is definitely not my cuppa.
It was time to let go of the mad desire to remember. It was time to start living whatever life would come. In the present, not the past. It was time to go home.
I really don’t know what I was expecting from Let’s Get Lost, but I know I didn’t get it. I’m not a huge fan of teen romance novels, and I wasn’t expecting to run into romance. I was expecting road trips, adventures, and character/relationship development. Let’s Get Lost is a collection of five short stories, each from the perspective of another character. The thread that ties them all together is Leila (MPDG) and her fantastically red car. We learn little, if anything, of Leila during the first four stories. The climax, however, is a story focused entirely on Leila and her personal development and resolution. In a way, the final story almost pulls her out of the troupe. Almost.
First, we meet Hudson. He is about to graduate high school, loves his hometown of Vicksburg, MS and is a mechanic at his Dad’s auto shop. Leila pulls into the shop and Hudson knows immediately what is wrong with the car. He obviously falls instalove with Leila, and the two of them have a romantic day/night around the town. Hudson’s life seems great, and both his personality and life issues seem non-existent. Yet, for some reason, we’re supposed to believe Leila and Hudson have amazing chemistry. I dunno. I didn’t get it. Leila drove on.
Well done, Hudson thought to himself. Keep talking about murderers; that’s the perfect way to make a good impression.
Next, Bree hitchhikes into Leila’s life somewhere in Kansas. After losing both her parents, Bree and her sister just couldn’t handle all their emotions in one home. Being the kind of girl who acts out in big dramatic ways, Bree has been coping with her family issues by skirting the rule of the law across the country. After being picked up by Leila, they have some believable friend-chemistry and experience law-breaking antics. After getting busted out of jail and reuniting the separated sisters, Leila’s job was done and she drove on.
Seize the Tuesday.
Elliot is found in Minneapolis, MN. We meet him when Leila almost runs him over when he decided to walk into oncoming traffic, on prom night, because his well-thought out 80’s-movie style confession of love to his childhood best friend was unrequited. Rediculous adventures ensue where Leila pushes Elliot to do all sorts of stereotypical 80’s rom-com movie acts to win the girl of his dreams. Suspending reality, this is by far the most fun section of the book, even though I wanted Elliot to respect that no means no, and the ending to this story to be different. Leila drives on.
Funny, how it took a little bit of pain to remember that certain parts of you were alive.
Finally, Sonia falls weeping on Leila’s car in the middle of the night in British Columbia. With an eerily similar backstory to Bree (only her boyfriend died, and her family doesn’t seem to care about her existence), Sonia is grieving the death of her boyfriend and coping with how to move on with a possible new love (who is obviously a part of her previous boyfriend’s family. Obviously). Antics ensue when Sonia’s passport disappears and she is stuck in Tacoma, WA with wedding rings for a wedding to be held in British Columbia in 12 hours. Luckily, Leila is here to save the day! The formula is getting a bit old, but I think this would have been a wonderful stand alone novel.
I don’t know where the hell you came from, but I’m glad you did. I’d have been lost without you.
When Leila makes it to Fairbanks, AK, we finally get to learn more about Leila’s backstory and why she so desperately wants to see the Northern Lights. While I had been craving to learn more about Leila and why she was letting herself get involved with these crazies, I feel like this story was too little too late. I loved the experiences Leila had in Alaska, but her personal story just didn’t inspire me.
No sky Leila had seen before could compare to the beauty she was seeing above her. It didn’t feel like some accident of nature, but rather something that was purposefully unleashed on the world.
There are many things about Let’s Get Lost I enjoyed, though. I think that Alsaid has great bones here, but the execution isn’t quite right. I love his turns of phrase, but I kept getting distracted by the corny stereotypes and predictable turns of plot. The flat characters bored me and I found myself skimming pages at a time to find something interesting. If you’re just looking for a quick summer book, this might be for you. Otherwise, well, I wouldn’t strongly recommend it.