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The Geography of Lost Things

Review

The Geography of Lost Things

How well do you get along with your ex?

Ali’s father, Jackson, was never around. He didn’t help pay the bills, wasn’t there to see Ali grow up, enter high school, get her first job. Ali and her mother haven’t heard from Jackson for a while, and then the hospital calls. He’s dead. A few days later, a man shows up at the door, giving Ali what her father left in his will --- his 1968 Firebird 400 convertible. Ali does not want her father’s prized possession, a car he loved more than her family, tainted with the memories of what could have been. Even more of an incentive to sell the car is the car dealer a short distance away offering her a ton of money for it. Ali just has to bring the car to him. Then she’ll have enough money to help her mom save their house from foreclosure.

"THE GEOGRAPHY OF LOST THINGS is a fresh new take...Brody manages to weave multiple stories, multiple lessons together to create a masterpiece reminding us that there’s always more to the story..."

There’s only one small issue. The Firebird has a manual transmission, and Ali doesn’t know how to drive stick. Another issue? There’s only one person Ali knows that can, and that’s her ex-boyfriend Nico. It’ll just be a quick trip, and then they can go back to ignoring each other. But things never happen the way that people expect. Ali has to endure setback after setback, and the awkwardness of being stuck with her ex for an extended period of time. When Nico acquires an item from a stranger, he sets them on a journey they never expected to happen. He and Ali meet many interesting people on their trip who offer them important lessons on what it means to forgive and forget.

To start off, I live in California and have been up and down the coast, driving down the same roads and seeing the same massive redwoods that Jessica Brody describes in THE GEOGRAPHY OF LOST THINGS. I couldn’t imagine a better setting for this book to take place. California is a large state, with gorgeous scenery that really sets the tone for Ali and Nico’s adventure. I think the landscape fits their personalities and mirrors their inner emotions beautifully. But I’m not writing this review to show how much I love California, I’m here to tell you how much I loved this book.

Brody is one of those authors who makes you feel like you’re there with the characters. You read about their epiphanies in real time and suddenly all the small details revealed earlier in the story make sense. Brody also has the unique talent of being able to use flashbacks in ways that don’t confuse readers. She can go from the present day to 10 years ago and back seamlessly. Her characters are always witty and dynamic and easy to love. Ali and Nico were very easy to fall for and I was rooting for their happy endings. The way Brody writes feels fuzzy and warm and lighthearted, like a hug from an old friend, but I still felt like I was learning more about life with each page I read.

Ali and Nico met so many people over the course of the book. A few questions was all it took to discover something new about them, and to establish a relationship with someone who was a stranger just a few moments before. Everyone has a story to tell if someone is just willing to listen. Even the objects in this book had a story behind them, and it just goes to show how many new perspectives there are waiting to be revealed.

THE GEOGRAPHY OF LOST THINGS is a fresh new take on the typical “trapped with my ex” trope. Brody manages to weave multiple stories, multiple lessons together to create a masterpiece reminding us that there’s always more to the story than what we see at face value.

Reviewed by Becky N., Teen Board Member on October 16, 2018

The Geography of Lost Things
by Jessica Brody