Let me start this off by saying that I absolutely loved this novel! Contemporaries can sometimes be really redundant in my opinion but I think this one holds it’s own in the sea of stories available to the world. The writing is clever and sweet and even has some of the cliche themes of a teen fiction novel, but overall I think this is a unique piece of story telling which is why I liked it so much.
Leila is 18, and she’s setting off on her own on a road trip across the United States from Louisiana to Alaska. Her end goal is to see the Northern Lights, but she’s not afraid to stop and smell the roses in a few random places along the way. Leila’s journey becomes a scavenger hunt for small gems in a giant mine, and she runs (quite literally in one case) into four people along the way that change her life.
Obviously this review will contain spoilers so if you have yet to read Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid, kindly leave now, do so, and come back as soon as you finish…… Ready? Let’s get started.
Hudson is an all around good kid from the small town of Vicksburg, Mississippi. He’s always on time, he doesn’t do anything that might get him in trouble, and he is working his butt off to get into the college program of his dreams. He reminds me a bit of myself. Hudson meets Leila as she has just begun her lengthy road trip and she is looking to have her flashy red car (and it’s red EVERYWHERE) worked on to make sure everything is A-Okay so she doesn’t break down in the middle of nowhere. Immediately Hudson is attracted to Leila, but being an awkward teenage boy, there entails some awkward teenage flirting before things get going. Long story short Leila ends up at Hudson’s house for dinner, and later basically on a date with Hudson. Hudson, like I said earlier, doesn’t get into trouble, but on this night (before his big interview with aforementioned college of his dreams) he wildly decides to take a risk and take Leila to a place he loves. There’s some under-aged drinking happening though, and Hudson and Leila very nearly get caught by the cops. They hide away and accidentally fall asleep… all night, and Hudson completely misses his interview. By the end of their encounter, Hudson is so mad he just tells Leila to go and that it’s pretty much her fault that his life is ruined. Which sucks.
Bree is hitchhiking somewhere on a highway (maybe around Kansas City?) when a bright red car slows down to pick her up. Bree story is a bit of a sad one. Her parents have both died quite young of cancer and another disease that escapes me at this time, which was obviously devastating for her. After their death’s Bree had to live with her older sister and older sister’s fiancee, which did not end well. Bree left on bad terms and decided to hitchhike as far away as possible to escape her horrible life. When she meets Leila, they take the day to have some fun and, since Leila’s car has no AC, they hit up a country club valet to joyride a fancy car…. Which they get caught for and are arrested. Time in jail didn’t last too long for them though, because against Bree’s wishes, Leila decided their only choice to get help was to call Bree’s sister Alexis. When Alexis rescues her them, the two sister’s realize that they should put their past behind them and go back home to Reno together.
Elliot is having a horrible night. The has taken the girl of his dreams to prom. The girl of his dreams has rejected his proclamations of love. Therefore, he is having a very sucky night. Elliot is wandering the streets of Burnsville, Minnesota with a bottle of bourbon in hand when Leila literally hits him with her car! Only his hand though as he was staggering drunkenly off the sidewalk. She of course brings Elliot to the ER to get him help, he ends up puking in her car too from the bourbon. While at the ER, Elliot explains to Leila why he is so down, and she decides to help him get the girl. After building up his courage, Leila takes Elliot back to his pro where he puts on a great performance to try and win Maribel’s (girl-of-dreams’) heart. Then he finds out she had already left the dance and saw none of it. They go to a party to find Maribel and end up locked in a second story bedroom and have to leave via second story window. What an adventure! But sadly they find Maribel in a diner, kissing another guy. Rejected, Elliot returns home and he is extremely reluctant to go inside because he knows his parents will rip him apart over is injured hand and the involvement of alcohol in the night’s events. He then finds a note from Maribel in which she apologizes because she realizes she does love him. Sweet but also super crappy in a way because how cruel of her to reject him, kiss another guy and then basically say “Oh, I actually do love you. Forgive me for being a horrible human please?”
Sonia is struggling. and I think she may have the most touching story of all. Sonia’s boyfriend (ex now… I guess…) died a year ago of unexpected heart complications, and she is now attending Sam’s sister Liz’s wedding. Sonia’s problem is that she thinks she has found someone else that she really loves, and she is afraid to admit to Sam’s family that she has moved on. The thing here is that she has moved on, not in any way forgotten or disregarded Sam whom she had thought of as her soulmate. Jeremiah (new boyfriend) is soon to be Liz’s brother-in-law and is therefore the best man in the wedding. On the eve of the wedding Sonia is so distraught that she stops herself while she is with Jeremiah because she feels so bad about what she thinks she is doing wrong. She ends up leaving the hotel and heading home to Tacoma, Washington. In Jeremiah’s suit jacket. This is where she runs into Leila also. Leila was just making coffee stop and leaves the cafe to find a stranger leaning on her red car for support. Of course this stranger is Sonia, and Leila kindly offers to drive the distraught woman home, even if it is a few hours away. Once across the border, Sonya gets a distressed called from Jeremiah because he has realized that his rings are in the pocket of his jacket and Sonya unintentionally took them. They immediately try to turn around but border security refuses them entrance because it’s kind of shady that they left and then immediately tried to come back. They end up asking some stoner (there’s a story to it but it’s not a significant one) to help smuggle them across the border to Canada. He puts them in the trunk of Leila’s car and when they get to the border, border security does check the trunk but let’s it slide because thy were bribed with high quality donuts. They get back just in time for Sonia to get ready for the wedding and by the time she does, she has mustered up the courage to tell Sam’s family about her relationship with Jeremiah. The whole family is of course so accepting which is why I personally was screaming (figuratively, duh) the whole time to just freaking tell them because they would only be happy that she is happy! UGH. But yeah. Good ending for Sonia.
Leila is my favorite character by far, and not because of her story, or the fact that she is technically the main character, but because of how her story unfolds. She makes excuses all along the way that made me try to predict what her story would be when it was finally revealed, but I never would have guessed it. Leila was in a car accident about a year prior to the events in the novel. She lost her parents and her brother, who all died at the scene of the crash and she was the only survivor. My first thought upon finding this out way “Oh that’s quite similar to what happened in If I Stay,” which is kind of true but not. Leila’s story is much different because it wasn’t ABOUT the crash. It was about a girl trying to find herself, and you never would have guessed that she had no memories of the first 17 years of her life. All she remembered was one story that her father always told her about the Northern Lights. She thought that if she saw the lights, her memories would magically pop back into her head and she could have her old life back (of course her family is still gone but… details). I hate to say fortunately… But fortunately, her memories didn’t magically restore when she finally sees the lights. I say this because that would have been too easy, it would have been the perfect happy ending for Leila. But I’m glad that she has a realistic ending to her story. She realizes after her long journey that where she need to be is with her aunt and uncle who are caring and willing to help and care for her. That she should be grateful for what she still has.
I LOVED this book, as I have already stated over and over again. I would loved to know if you loved it too, or hated it, all opinions are welcome!
Until next time… Katie xoxo