Friday, October 12, 2018

Review: The Other Side of Lost

The Other Side of Lost
Jessi Kirby
Published August 7, 2018
Girl Online meets Wild in this emotionally charged story of girl who takes to the wilderness to rediscover herself and escape the superficial persona she created on social media.

Mari Turner’s life is perfect. That is, at least to her thousands of followers who have helped her become an internet starlet. But when she breaks down and posts a video confessing she’s been living a lie—that she isn’t the happy, in-love, inspirational online personality she’s been trying so hard to portray—it goes viral and she receives major backlash. To get away from it all, she makes an impulsive decision: to hike the entire John Muir trail. Mari and her late cousin, Bri, were supposed to do it together, to celebrate their shared eighteenth birthday. But that was before Mari got so wrapped up in her online world that she shut anyone out who questioned its worth—like Bri.

With Bri’s boots and trail diary, a heart full of regret, and a group of strangers that she meets along the way, Mari tries to navigate the difficult terrain of the hike. But the true challenge lies within, as she searches for the way back to the girl she fears may be too lost to find: herself. - from Goodreads
Mari Turner is a social media influencer; she's beloved by thousands of followers, but in reality, she's all alone.  She and her cousin Bri were very close as kids; they grew apart over the years and Bri has recently passed away.  Bri had planned to hike the John Muir Trail on her 18th birthday, but after quitting social media in spectacular fashion, Mari decides to take her place, in an effort to help her rediscover herself.

Right from the beginning, I felt so sad for Mari, as she created meals just for the photos and bought a birthday gift for herself and pretended to her followers that it was from her boyfriend.  Her life is consumed by how many likes and followers she can get.  When Bri's box of hiking supplies shows up on Mari's doorstep, she takes a wild leap and heads to the trail.  I was surprised Mari even lasted a day; she had no experience, no training, she didn't even know how to use most of the equipment.  Sounds like a recipe for disaster!

But fortunately for Mari, she meets people along the trail that help her out, eventually joining a group of friends as they make their way down the trail.  I understood why Mari kept some secrets from them, but I wish she had told them earlier about Bri and who Mari really was; they were so friendly and understanding, I know it wouldn't have mattered to them.

Mari's growth was one of the best parts of the book.  She gained confidence along the trail and learned to live beyond her phone screen.  She also worked through her grief over losing Bri.  Speaking of Bri, she sounded amazing and I could see why everyone loved her.  She was so courageous and full of life in her journal entries.  I could feel her presence during Mari's trip.

Kirby did a really great job setting the scene.  The descriptions of the trail really made me feel like I was there, and Kirby's writing is just so warm and enveloping that I got swept away in the book.

I did have a couple issues with the book.  The ending felt really rushed and although I knew Mari had changed, I kind of wanted an epilogue or something to see where Mari goes next.  There were also hints of a romance that I thought were unnecessary. 

4 stars

24 comments:

  1. I loved this book, but let's be honest, I always want an epilogue. I agree, it was obvious that this was a really life changing adventure for Mari, but I would have liked to have seen how it translated off the trail as well. Didn't impact my rating though, because the emotional impact of this book was HUGE for me.

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    1. It impacted my rating a bit, because if the ending is disappointing to me, it kind of affects my feelings for the book as a whole!

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  2. I'm glad that you liked this book overall. It has been on my TBR list for quite sometime. I usually enjoy Kirby's novels, so I should definitely make time for this one. Great review!

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    1. This was the first one I read by her, so I'll have to check some other ones out!

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  3. Oh this is on my TBR. So glad you enjoyed it!

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  4. This sounds pretty good! I'm glad you were able to enjoy it even with a few complaints. I hate it when the ending comes out of nowhere. Great review!

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    1. Thanks, Tracy! Yeah, a rushed ending is one of my pet peeves.

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  5. Rushed endings really disappoint me and definitely make me rate a book less. Clearly I really dislike them but this book seems to be pretty relevant to the times we live in so that's actually great.

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    1. Yes, despite the ending, it had a lot of great messages!

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  6. Oooh! This sounds like a great read. I'm sure the hit of romance would feel off to me as well, but the rest sounds lovely.

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    1. It was! The romance thing was such a small part, I just didn't think it needed to be there.

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  7. I always dislike it when there's just a hint of romance. For me, I would rather have a romance all in or none at all. Besides that, this book sounds wonderful. Adding it to goodreads. :) Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Awesome, I hope you enjoy it! I don't mind romance, I just felt like it didn't fit here!

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  8. It's a shamed about the rushed ending but the rest of this sounds really good. Mari's journey and her growth really appeal to me.

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    1. Yeah, I was really impressed with those parts of the book, really good character development.

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  9. Aww this sounds sad at first but eventually gets better! I'm glad you enjoyed Mari's story and growng despite the rushed ending.

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  10. I've heard the main character takes unnecessary risks, and that her choices were occasionally unrealistic or unbelievable. I'm happy to see you're on the more positive side of the fence, since this is one I've been looking forward to. It's always a bummer when the romance feels forced, or like it shouldn't be there. Sometimes a story needs to focus on the main character and not potential love interests.

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?

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    1. Exactly, I didn't think romance needed to be in here at all. I just wanted it to be about Mari.

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  11. I'm always fascinated by books about how we use social media, so that aspect of this story really appeals to me. This sounds like a fun read :)

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  12. Wonderful review! I've been wanting to read this book for a little while now, I love every story dealing with social media so much and that one sounds so good! I'm sorry to hear you weren't quite satisfied with the ending though :/ Thank you for sharing!! :)

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I'm so glad you stopped by, and I would love to hear your thoughts! Comments are always greatly appreciated!