LET’S GET LOST is a personal, affecting story about a young girl named Leila, whose road trip across the country to see the Northern Lights touches the lives of four teenagers, each of whom is experiencing a personal crisis, which Leila addresses either directly or indirectly, depending on their circumstances.
Adi Alsaid’s debut is magnificently framed; Leila begins the novel as an enigma, as we’re introduced to her through the eyes of Hudson, a small town mechanic who seems destined for supposed ‘greater’ things, despite being contended with his lot in life. He’s immediately infatuated with this girl, who laughs at his jokes, understands his sentiments even when he can’t eloquently enunciate them. But with Leila determined to see the Northern Lights, it seems their meeting is fated to be a fleeting moment in time – because soon she’s on the road again, driving past Bree, who’s standing by the side of the road in the baking sun, thumb pointing at the sky. Bree is a runaway with a wild side; determined to do whatever she wants, whenever she wants, under the guise of ‘seizing the day.’ Of course, living in such a manner has consequences on those around her…
Then Leila is off again, on a collision course – literally – with Elliott, who has just blurted out his love for his best friend at prom, who promptly swatted him into the ‘friend zone.’ Leila’s determined to enable a second chance for the young man, and the two plot contingencies, with simultaneously hilarious and heart-breaking consequences. But before long, Leila’s is off again, this time meeting Sonia, whose soul mate passed away months ago, and is now struggling to come to terms with the feelings she has for another man; is love really that transitory? Or were her feelings never truly that strong?
Leila’s impression on each of these lives is startling, demonstrating the impact the smallest act of friendship or mere cordiality can have on those around us. LET’S GET LOST is essentially a feel-good novel punctuated by moments of anguish; Leila’s story is a heat-breaking one, making her determination to enrich the lives of those around her even more astonishing. The final section of the book finally reveals Leila’s backstory, and ties the overarching threads of the novel together seamlessly; I was left smiling, a warm, fuzzy feeling radiating from my soul, desperate to demonstrate a random act of kindness to the person closest to me, and hopeful someone like Leila might be in my midst.
LET’S GET LOST is a phenomenal debut; a novel I’ll treasure for a long time to come.