Let's Get Lost
Harlequin Teen, 2014 338 pgs
Four teenagers with their own separate stories are linked by Leila, a road-tripping teen on a quest to see the northern lights. We first travel to small town Mississippi and meet Hudson. Hudson is a very serious young man. He works fixing cars at his father's shop, but has dreams of becoming a doctor. The day before his big interview he meets Leila and the two have a reckless adventure, falling in love as he shows her his town. After the crazy night Hudson misses his interview and his life comes crashing down around his ears. Next Leila picks up hitchhiker Bree. Leila's adventure with Bree involves shop lifting and grand auto theft, landing the girls in prison. Through this experience Leila works to reunite Bree with her only family member: a long-lost and misunderstood sister. Leila now finds herself in Minneapolis, where she runs over tuxedo-clad Elliot with her car. Elliot finally confessed his love to long-time crush Maribel, only to have her turn him down. Teenage-hood should be just like the 80's movies Elliot is obsessed with, so it comes as a surprise when he doesn't get the girl on prom nigh. Enter Leila and the two go on a quest to remedy the situation. Finally we head up to the western Canadian boarder and meet Sonia. Sonia is about to be a bridesmaid in her deceased boyfriend's sister's wedding, only she has found herself falling in love with the groom's brother. Confusion and guilt are tearing her apart. She runs off with Leila only to find that she has lost her passport on the wrong side of the boarder and she is wearing a jacket holding the wedding rings. The last story is Leila's herself. She makes it to the northern lights and the reader finally discovers exactly what has motivated her quest and we experience the awesome sight of the northern lights with her, along with its aftermath.
First time author, Alsaid, presents a highly-readable novel, that feels like five episodes of Touched by an Angel. All five stories are narrated by a different teenager who is at a crossroads. Leila enters their lives and helps them to get on the right path. I really thought she was an angel, until her own story when we see that she has her own troubles and her back story is revealed. Alsaid helps us to turn pages in order to find out what is Leila's motivation and past. He finally divulges and offers the reader closure and a satisfying ending. Because of underage drinking, recreational drug use, and poor decision making I would clearly make this book not appropriate for middle school. Even though there are five distinct narrators and many characters, the book never becomes confusing. The plot moves along like the open road and never lags. There were a few parts that I would actually call nail-biters that truly made me nervous while reading. Teenagers will love this book and even though it is published by Harlequin and is romantically driven, it can be enjoyed by both boys and girls. "Teenagers at a crossroads" is what motivates novels for young people and Alsaid offers us not just one but five. He has a new book out this year Somewhere over the Sun and I am interested in checking it out.