Book Reviews of How to Be Lost

How to Be Lost
How to Be Lost
Author: Amanda Eyre Ward
ISBN-13: 9780345483171
ISBN-10: 0345483170
Publication Date: 8/30/2005
Pages: 320
Rating:
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 550

3.7 stars, based on 550 ratings
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

120 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed How to Be Lost on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 16
Very engrossing story about three sisters, one of whom disappears when she is 5 years old, just as the 3 were to run away together. The novel takes place 15 years later when the mother sees a picture of a young woman in a magazine who she believes to be the missing sister and sends her daughter Caroline to find her. The story shows how losing one family member can cause a whole family to be lost and asks when and how do we let go so we can find ourselves.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 384 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 15
this small but unusual book will either grab you or confuse you.the author uses different fonts for different charachters.
it is a story of a dysfunctional family that has their youngest child disappear.the story goes back and forth in time,giving the history of the family.the mother never lets go of the thought that her child is still alive.if i say more i'd give too much away
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 113 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 14
This was a great book, easy to read, and a story you want to stick with. Would recommend to anyone who wants a good summer read.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 80 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
This book was sad and compelling. You could feel the hearbreak of the characters, who seemed as real as anyone I have met. I could not put this book down, and I would reccomend it to everyone!
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 112 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Fifteen years after her 5 year old sister disappeared, Caroline Winters sees a picture in a magazine and, convinced it is her long lost sister, sets out to find her and bring her home.
A touchingly funny story of love, loss and family.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 52 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I found this book to be lacking in subtstance. However, it is a quick and easy read so I kept reading thinking that it would eventualy get good. Even though I didn't particularly enjoy the story I was looking forward to the end. Not just because the book would be over, but I did want to know what would happen. The ending left me fealing robbed. What I looked forward to just wasn't there.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Excellent - easily devoured in an afternoon! A book that I could not put down; well written and emotional. Get this book! :)
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
It's not that this book was bad. It had a good plot idea and it was a fast read (I read it in 2 days). However, it left a lot of questions unanswered and the dialogue in it wasn't all that great. Conversations between characters were cut short. The sentences were broken or seperated by commas or periods and confused me while I was trying to read, interrupting the flow of the story. In short, it was choppy. I felt like the author could have done a much better job than she did. I kept thinking, as I was reading it, that a high schooler could have written a better story. It was like I was reading an outline rather than an actual novel.

I want to know how Agnes Fowler got to where she was (and I'm not talking about what she's been doing but how she got to be with her dad). There's a huge gap between her being 5 and then 21. What happened in between those two ages? She alludes to the fact that her dad was overprotective but never goes into details. I also found her character extremely annoying. I wanted to skip over the chapters when it said "From the desk of Agnes Fowler" but didn't because I knew they had something important in them. She was more like a high schooler than she was an adult. I really can't express how much I disliked her. And who talks to people the way she does in her letters without meeting them first? Especially when she answered the question about her perfect first date. I almost gave up on the book after reading that part.

What happened between Ron and Caroline? It never states why they don't like each other, just that they never got along. And I really wanted to know what happened to Isabelle (not the mother).

The ending was terrible, in my opinion....unless there's a sequal explaining what happened to all the characters. I honestly wouldn't want to read a sequal to this book, though. The author had too much going on in this first one that I think a sequal would annoy me even more. It was so poorly written and the different plots so scatterbrained that I couldn't wait to finish it so I could move on to another book. A friend of mine said that she didn't care for this novel either but really loves Amanda Eyre Ward's other novels so I will give her one more shot.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Characters that you love, a suspenseful story line. Not something you normally find in a 200 page book but this one I loved. For me, this story reflects hope & healing.
reviewed How to Be Lost on
Helpful Score: 3
awesome book!!! i have passed it on to my sister who i'm sure will pass it on to my other sister! amanda ward has a wonderful way of putting you in each of the characters heads and making you see their very different viewpoints. i am looking for any other books readers may have of hers.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Excellent book! It took me awhile to get used to the writing style, but I absolutely loved it. I couldn't put it down.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 46 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
A good book. Kind of an abrupt ending...
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 31 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Just finished reading and passed onto my 20 something daughter who loves contemporary novels. After this I am now in that mode as well. It takes a really good book to bring me out of historical fiction mode. Wonderful, I raced through it although I did not want it to end. Absorbing through and through. Loved it.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Poetically, pensively written. I enjoyed it.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 224 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This was an excellent book, well-written and gripping. The two parallel stories kept me wondering if I'd read to fast and missed something early in the book, but it all comes together in a pretty masterful way. It is definitely one I wanted to keep reading until I found out what happened in the end. I highly recommend this.
reviewed How to Be Lost on
Helpful Score: 2
I ordered this book from pbs on a whim and was pleasantly surprised. I had just read a "women's fiction" book that I despised because it was poorly written and so cliched that I knew everything that was going to happen chapters ahead of when it did and this was the perfect antedote: well written and with characters I found believable and likable. I read it over a weekend away and that's what it was perfect for.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 41 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A good book to read. How a family deals with the loss of one of their own. The youngest girl in this family is missing and no one knows what has happened to her. The main character wants to get on with her life. Her mother thinks she is still living and finds a picture in a magazine/paper that looks exactly like she thinks she would look now. It leads the main character to go check this out and see if indeed she is her lost sister. Will they all find one another? Or is it a while goose chase.
reviewed How to Be Lost on
Helpful Score: 1
There was a lot I liked about this book, but I feel that there was also a lot left on the table. Maybe for a sequel? I just feel that the build up all lead to one point and then the reader was never given what the spent to whole book waiting for. I enjoyed Ward's writing and I will certainly read more of her books. The characters were very relateable and real, one of the many reasons that I feel so let down that I didn't get all of the answers that I was hoping for. If you are someone who grows very attached to characters and needs a nice wrapped up ending, I would not suggest this book as it will simply leave you wanting more.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Seemed totally different than the paragraph on the back. Thought I was reading a different book. I liked it. But it made me wonder if the person who wrote that read the book.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
The ending was very disappointing. Actually the whole book was. Don't bother.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Kept my interst, couldn't put it down!! Great story about the love and lives of sisters!
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 28 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a readable, interesting book about a family with 3 daughters. When 5-year-old Ellie goes missing, the family crumbles. Fifteen years later, Caroline, sees a photo in a magazine and is convinced that it is Ellie.

I enjoyed reading the book and enjoyed thinking about it afterwards.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 107 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Terrible writing. I recently heard Mavis Gallant say in an interview that she doesn't like reading her early writing because she used to be lazier about her language in a way that makes her cringe now. If Amanda Eyre Ward plans to continue her career as a novelist, she might want to start thinking about this sooner rather than later. Her prose is bland and artless. Sadly, so are her characters, each of which is a stereotype: the lonely mother who covers up her grief with overzealous cheer; the married, distanced, pregnant and domesticated sister; the sassy black girlfriend (really!). I skimmed most of it because I wanted to find out how it ended, but the character of the lost sister, as revealed through her letters to someone she met on Alaskanhunks.com, was so weak and annoying that I dreaded the disappointment she would be to her sisters if she ever were reunited with her family.

I was hoping for literature and got chicklit instead. This was a weak novel and I would not recommend it to discerning readers.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 330 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
"Not all the reviews are favorable, but I really enjoyed this mesmerizing book. Not all the questions are answered, but that's the way it should be; it opens up more possibilities.

15 years ago, on the day that the three Winter sisters decide to run away from their drunken father and their less than perfect mother, five year old Ellie disappears. After the discovery of a photo in a magazine, their mother is determined to find this person in hopes that it is Ellie. Unfortunately she doesn't get the chance and Caroline, the one who has run off to New Orleans in hopes of finding a life, takes up the challenge.

What Caroline finds instead is herself, the person who has been running and trying to be lost. Sometimes what you find isn't exactly what you were looking for.

A great cast of characters with storylines that twist upon themselves and in the end you are left with questions, wondering and hope.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Best book I have read in a long time. Takes a look at families when a child is missing and asks the question, "Who is really lost?". The characters are so fascinating that you hate to put it down, read in two afternoons, but could easily be read in 1 day. I will be adding Ms. Ward's other books onto my wish list.
reviewed How to Be Lost on
Helpful Score: 1
Amazing book, great story, Very fast read. It only took me a day. I haven't read a book that fast in a long time. I didn't want to put it down!
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 18 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I really enjoyed this book. Started it in the morning and had it finished before bed. It was an amazing story of 3 sisters and heartbreaking of what they had to go through during their childhood, yet while one goes missing they seem to all re-connect at the end. This was a page turner for me and I just loved it. Now I'm going to have to see what the author holds in store for me in her other books. :)
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 86 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I read this book in two nights. I really enjoyed it!
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 270 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I heard all the good reviews about this book and decided to get it...but was disappointed when I started reading it...VERY slow. I couldn't get past the first chapter. Very disappointing.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 307 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Cleverly written story of a missing sister and the impact on the family with emphasis on the worries, searching, and needing to come to terms with their loss. Surprisingly funny in parts. Very good.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 113 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book, wonderful writing, and easy to follow. A great story.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 4 more book reviews
I really enjoyed reading this book, quick read. However, I was disappointed with the ending, left a lot of questions answered. I hope the author continues this story with a follow-up book.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 2 more book reviews
This book was excellent. It was told in the voice of a 10 year old girl that rang true. The language and setting were done very well....I felt like I was there.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 167 more book reviews
I love Amanda Eyre Ward's style of writing. I loved Sleep Toward Heaven....How To Be Lost was equally as good. This story keeps your attention right up until the end. Highly recommended.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 42 more book reviews
This truely is a gripping novel centered around one girl's search for her missing sister.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 17 more book reviews
Loved this book, couldn't put it down from start to finish.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 30 more book reviews
Amanda Eyre Ward writes a very good book about three sisters. Her story is compelling. The avid reader will find it hard to set the book down. There are many emotional cinflicts and turns to this complexing story. It is good entertainment and will leave you with a sense of wonderment.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 18 more book reviews
It was a fun read. Light, but not without dept and humor.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 71 more book reviews
Absolutely wonderful. I read this book in one day. I just couldn't put it down! Ward conveys so much in such spare but beautiful prose ... I didn't want it to end, while at the same time I was racing to the end to see what would happen ... The characters are amazingly drawn and the story is slowly revealed in these different methods of storytelling - flashbacks, letters, first person ... I cannot say enough good things about How to Be Lost!
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 193 more book reviews
Amanda Eyre Ward is becoming my favorite new author. This is the second book I have read by her, and I loved it as much as the first. I'm anxiously awaiting her 3rd book. Her characters are so real.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 106 more book reviews
The writing style in this book is one of my favorites - being the reader and knowing more about the story and history than any of the individual characters. Voices in this book come from the present and the past and also from characters that seem to have no bearing on the story at all. It was a quick read and I couldn't read fast enough to get done and see how it all tied together.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 216 more book reviews
Wonderful story. Would love to read more from this author.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 89 more book reviews
HATED this book! I should've thrown it out the window but didnt want to litter. I skimmed the entire 2nd half just to finally get to the end to see what happened. Now I wished I hadn't even wasted that effort. I know this book has gotten great reviews but I personally thought it was one of the worst books ever. To sum it up, it's about deceit, alcholism and lack of self respect. Oh, I do remember there being something about a missing child...
Don't get me wrong, I too lost a brother and I currently work in the medical field so I should have gotten some sort of sentimental feelings from this book. Instead, it bored me to tears and made me angry with all the nonsense contained instead of focusing on the child.
Save your money and either swap it on here or just skip it altogether.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 112 more book reviews
Good, but not great, story of sisters in a dysfunctional family and what happens after the youngest one goes missing.
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From book cover: "Joseph and Isabelle Winters seem to have it all: a grand home in Holt, NY, a trio of radiant daughters, and a sense that they are safe in their affluent corner of America. But when 5 yr. old Ellie disappears, the fault lines within the family are exposed..." I loved it!
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 19 more book reviews
I enjoyed this book. I found it to be a quick read. I thought the author's method of using present day narration as well as glimpses into the past and letters was interesting. I did find the book to be a bit confusing in that way it was written and probably didn't truly figure out what was what until at least half way or 3/4 through the book. I didn't really like the ending as it left too much hanging for me. I wish the author would have added another chapter or two or an Epilogue. In my opinion, the book just ended and I would have liked more info/closure. All in all I did enjoy it though.
reviewed How to Be Lost on
Great story. The winds and turns keep you going and entertained.
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No sophomore slump for this author. This one is even better than "Sleep Toward Heaven". A very affecting novel about three sisters, one of who goes missing when she is five years old. Heartbreaking story about the lives of those "left behind". Very much looking forward to her next book. Highly recommend.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 174 more book reviews
What a wonderful book. No wonder it's on a lot of peoples' wish list. To the next person on the list, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 17 more book reviews
I could not put this down. I read through the night to finish this one. I was completely engrossed, and I fell for the main character, despite her snarky ways. This is the first I've read by the author, and I plan to give her other books a try to see if it's the writing style that grabbed me or this particular plot (for some reason, I am drawn to missing people novels, possibly because it's my biggest fear that something like that would happen to my own family). Besides liking the plot and the wonderful character development, I felt that the way the author tackled the storyline felt fresh and original. I enjoyed reading something that wasn't point A to point B predictable.
reviewed How to Be Lost on
A very good read--I will be suggesting it for our next book club selection. I was a little confused with the chapters that were set up as " letters " but it was all explained in the end which I enjoy in a book.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 30 more book reviews
This was a really good book, I found it fascinating how like a mystery novel it was but at the same time, it was like a fiction book as well. Very like Lovely Bones.
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I really enjoyed this one. It was a little too short - that's my only complaint! I like that the ending was left the way it was, but there could've been more to it.

Though some may complain the story was a little too neat, I like stories that way, so I really can't complain.

It was a fast, entertaining read and I would definitely recommend it and read her other work.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 40 more book reviews
The book was easy to read and as a result I finished it, but I found it hard to relate to the characters. At times it was awkward to read about their social quirks, that were due to their experiences, but still not comfortable. By the end I cruised through the book and found myself relaxing into the story. It was worth it to keep reading.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 5 more book reviews
Very good book until the end, kept me hanging.
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Very interesting with alternating points of view. Enjoyed this one quite a bit.
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I really enjoyed this book. Read it in one day.
reviewed How to Be Lost on
Great book! Quick read.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 5 more book reviews
This was a well written, compelling book - the kind of book you
can't wait to pick up and read to see what happens. I was not thrilled
with the ending. I wanted more, but still loved it!
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 104 more book reviews
The story of two sisters whose reactions to the loss of their baby sister almost tear them apart. She vanished from school seemingly into thin air, and Caroline's belief that she is still alive drives a wedge between herself and her remaining sister. I couldn't put it down....it is beautifully written and ended in a totally unexpected way. I was left wanting more!
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 5 more book reviews
This book was excellent from the first page. Couldn't put it down. Really felt like I was part of the family reading it. Was sorry to end the book. Looking forward to reading the author's other books.
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Great book!!
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 982 more book reviews
When 5 year old Ellie disappears, the Winters family falls apart.

Fifteen years later, Caroline, Ellie's sister, sees a photo of a woman in a magazine. Caroline is convinced it's Ellie and embarks on a search for her sister. She travels all through the west, determined to find her sister and salvage her broken family.
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 85 more book reviews
Elle went missing from her family when she was 5 years old. Caroline is the oldest sister who went looking for her years later after her parents died when an attorney wanted to declare her dead. This is a fast paced book that I could not put down. I recommend it to my fellow readers.
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This was an easy, enjoyable read but I was disappointed by the ending. I think it ended too quick and didn't resolve. It was really good, though, besides the ending.
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INCREDIBLE!
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Riveting had to stay up and read it all in one night
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 9 more book reviews
This book was terrific- very addicting read!
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Some strong language. Good story though. Keeps you reading.
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Great Read! Can't wait to get my hands on the rest of her books. Pay attention to the details they're important. You're going to love this book.
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This was a good book although not quite as good as it could've been in my opinion & the ending left a lot to be desired. It was a fast read though & enjoyable for the most part.
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A better than I expected read.
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Carolyn Winters is still haunted by the disappearance of her sister Ellie, fifteen years ago. When she sees a magazine photo of a young woman who she thinks might possibly be her sister, she throws off the broken remnants of her life to go in search of her. Perhaps in finding Ellie, Carolyn will find herself.

This suspenseful story quietly questions how we form our own identities and how family defines us.
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Quick, intriguing read.
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Disturbing, but a good, fairly easy read.
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Beautifully written, engrossing story that will sweep you right along. I was immersed from the beginning until the end.
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This is a good read - dysfunctional family - with one five-year-old gone missing many years before. Reads a bit like The Lovely Bones, altho the story line is very different. Couldn't put it down.
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Very fast read; gave a good look at the power of family ties.
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I LOVED this book. I just got it through a swap and devoured it. It is an eady and compelling read.
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Really enjoyed it, a quick read too.
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This was a good mystery and a loving book about family. I had to get to the end, then was sorry it was over.
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Great book!!!!! I could not put this book down. A novel about a woman searching for a missing sister.
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Very interesting book. Extremely readable.
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Beautiful story about love and loss! It was an easy, entertaining read. The end is very open leaving it up to the readers to determine the future of the characters. Slightly predictable, I still enjoyed the story and plan to read more of this author's books.
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Quick read
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I found the ending rather abrupt. However, I enjoyed the parallel storylines of the two women. The backstory seemed slightly tedious at times, but it was necessary to understand what'd happened; nothing revealed is gratuitous.
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An excellent story of family secrets, family tragedy, and how we all try to cope with the damage families inevitable inflict on one another.
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Very good read. The story was a bit transparant though. The ending left some to be desired. I would have liked to see just a little further.
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I was not pleased with this book as it did not meet my expectations at all.
It was too disjointed in relating the story and at times, i felt lost and re-reading pages to see if i had missed something.
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Great book, when out and got her other book right after reading this one
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Better than I expected. I went into the book w/the hopes that it wasn't like Sleep Toward Heaven and it wasn't. It was a much better written book and went to te heart of the matter. The only issue I had w/the book was the ending. It just ended and it needed at least an epilog
reviewed How to Be Lost on + 86 more book reviews
Great book! The characters stayed with me long after I had finished the book.
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Read this in one day! Loved it. Will be reading others by this author.
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great book but I wanted more at the end...too many unanswered questions
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Compelling read. I was a little disappointed by how abrupt the ending seemed. Added bonus that part of it took place very close to where I live. I enjoyed this book overall and would recommend it.
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This book was good, and a quick read, but I found the ending to be disappointing and abrupt.
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I really found this to be an interesting book. Three sisters plan to run away in their early youth, but only one disappears. Believed to be kidnapped or killed, but the family just can't commit to that. As an adult one of the sisters goes on a journey to find her sister because of a picture her mother found and saved the newspaper clipping.

I became a little confused with the letter writing in the book, but it finally all jelled at the end. Very good on the author's behalf.
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This was a terrific book.
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Fast Read, Great story thats hard to put down.
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Excellent! There is another subplot that keeps you wondering and doubting the entire time. However, I wished the author would not have ended the story when she did.
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Besides the hum-drum nature of the author's writing, this book was impossible to read due to the slapshot editing of the various storylines. A reader has to be committed to learning from or finding out what happens to the main character from the beginning in order to go through the torture of reading disconnected storylines. In this book, from page one, the main character is a whining loser with almost no personality, a trait from which she never recovers throughout the narrative. I'd classify her as a fool on a fool's mission.

Give this one a miss.
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This was a powerful story of what it means to be lost. The ending could have been stronger, however.
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Very good book, quick read. Ending seemed unfinished though.
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Oprah's book club....good
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Very good book.
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This book was incredible! A haunting novel of a sister's deisre to find a missing loved one. I read it in one day!
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I liked the basic storytelling but think it could have been developed a little more. Very quick read.
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Enjoyed the book until the ending.
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Read it in one night...had to know how it ends. Liked it.
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a child disappears, years later, her mother and sister swear that a picture they've seen in a magazine is her.
The sister goes off to locate her.
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Very sad- There is enough guilt to go around for everyone. Enjoyed it none the less-especially the resolution.
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I liked this book much better than I thought I would. It is a book about a series subject but the main character is written so well and with a sense of humor. It was enjoyable and leaves you wanting to know more about this family.
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Here is a nice and easy read, kept me wondering were story was going, super fast read.
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I read this cover to cover, in one day. It's that good. I couldn't put it down!
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I thought this book was very interesting. It gets a little slow in the middle, but by the end I was sucked right back in. Loved the ending, for sure worth the read.
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This book is about relationships between sisters,spouses and lovers, friends and parents.How a family deals with a very traumatic event. Great story and great ending
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Easy read. A bit predictable but still very enjoyable.
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Quick easy read... Keeps you interested from the beginning. Written in a neat format - probably easy to read quickly, might be more confusing if you read slow because it is telling a few different stories.
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This book was terrific. I could not put it down. I cannot understand why this is not a bestseller !!!
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The book was alright. I did find myself wanting to help out the characters. But I did think that the ending was not satisfying. It just kind of ended.