** Publication Date 7 May 2019 **
The Lovely and the Lost is a story about teenagers, family, and dogs. What drew me to reading it was the dog part of the story, but I had no idea that it would be a story with so much heart. Meeting Kira, Free, Jude and Cady honestly felt like meeting them. I always have a soft spot for YA fiction, and this one tops my list.
Kira is a teenager who was raised by first her foster, but then adoptive, mother Cady. Jude is her brother, Cady’s biological son of unknown origin. Free is the neighbor’s daughter, but for all intents and purposes, could be Cady’s third child. The three teenagers, better known as the Miscreants, are inseparable. Cady is a search and rescue dog handler and trainer. She has raised each of these teens to handle dogs. All three excel in search and rescue games, but when a real search for a little girl comes knocking at their door, will they be able to perform? And will Kira, who once was that missing little girl, be able to put her own demons to rest?
There are books that capture my attention and my heart. This book was one of them. Barnes has written a can’t put down story with a soul. Each of these characters was real, well rounded, and believable. The connection between the teens and their dogs was heartwarming, but also real. Search and rescue dogs are not only beloved pets, but working dogs that have a task to perform. This isn’t a sugar coated, alls well that ends well story. Yet it also isn’t dark and foreboding. It is the perfect blend of suspense and joy. I simply loved every minute of it.