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Review: The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke

The Lost and the Found by Cat ClarkeThe Lost and the Found
Cat Clarke
Crown Books
September 23, 2016 (Originally published April 23, 2015)

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

About The Lost and the Found
When six-year-old Laurel Logan was abducted, the only witness was her younger sister, Faith. Since then, Faith’s childhood has revolved around her sister’s disappearance—from her parents’ broken marriage and the constant media attention, to dealing with so-called friends who only ever want to talk about her missing sister.

Now, thirteen years later, a young woman is found in the front yard of the Logans’ old house, disoriented and clutching the teddy bear Laurel was last seen with. Can her sister finally be back? Faith always dreamed of her sister coming home; she just never believed it would happen. But soon a disturbing series of events leaves Faith increasingly isolated from her family and paranoid about her sister’s motives. Before long, Faith begins to wonder if it’s the abduction that’s changed her sister, or if it’s something else. . . .

My Review
I feel like it’s going to be difficult to talk about this book without spoilers because so many of the things that made it really fascinating were the twists I didn’t see coming. There’s a creepy element that has absolutely nothing to do with Laurel’s past, which I thought was not only really well-executed in terms of how eerie it was, but also how unexpected and yet it made sense.

It took me a couple of chapters to really decide I liked Faith. On the whole she’s the good girl who has been largely invisible to her family since her sister’s disappearance. Which in and of itself was an interesting paradox, right? I loved her relationship with her almost-step-dad Michel. He seemed to really get her and had the capacity to draw her out. In some ways it seemed like they were both outsiders watching people they loved caught up in the grief of losing a daughter.

Toward the end, Faith makes a difficult decision that I really struggled to accept. I felt like it was deeply unhealthy and didn’t agree at all with her methods of justifying it to herself. She wanted to believe she was ultimately doing a kinder thing, but I felt like she should realize what a lie it was based on her perceptions of the rest of her family members. I know that’s vague. I don’t want to give the story away. But that was kind of disappointing to me. I prefer to think that eventually she changed her mind and came forward with the truth.

I’ve read a couple of other “abducted child returns” stories before– The Tension of Opposites, The Deep End of the Ocean, Aftermath, and the duo Face on the Milk Carton and Whatever Happened to Janie?— and I think this one is the most unique in its exploration of what it’d be like to experience a long-lost sister return. If you like any of the books I listed above, you will want to check this one out as well.

You can also find my interview with author Cat Clarke here.

Recommended for Ages 16 up.

Cultural Elements
Faith and her family are white. Her dad is bisexual and after he and Faith’s mom divorced, he began a relationship with a Frenchman.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used with moderate frequency.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kisses between Faith and her boyfriend as well as some displays of affection between Faith’s dad and his boyfriend. Faith had sex with her boyfriend for the first time the night before the story begins. She reflects on it a couple of times during the story and has sex with him again in her room while her parents are out. It’s briefly described—largely because her mind is elsewhere, so it’s kind of this weird experience for her.

She comments early in the book that having sex with her boyfriend was “the right thing” because she loves him.

Though Laurel doesn’t graphically describe her experiences in captivity, it’s clear she was sexually abused. It’s mostly hinted at and not explicitly described, but especially sensitive readers may find even these references too much.

Spiritual Content

Violent Content
References to physical and sexual abuse.

Drug Content
Faith attends a birthday party where she and a friend sneak drinks of wine until fairly intoxicated.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


Author Interview and Giveaway with Cat Clarke

Author Cat Clarke is here today to talk about what inspired her novel The Lost and the Found, a story about a girl abducted as a child who returns home thirteen years later. Stick around for the interview and then enter the giveaway for a chance to win one of three copies of The Lost and the Found. To start us off, here’s some more about the story:

The Lost and the Found
Cat Clarke
Crown Books for Young Readers

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


When six-year-old Laurel Logan was abducted, the only witness was her younger sister. Faith’s childhood was dominated by Laurel’s disappearance – from her parents’ broken marriage and the constant media attention to dealing with so-called friends who only ever wanted to talk about her sister.


Thirteen years later, a young woman is found in the garden of the Logans’ old house, disorientated and clutching the teddy bear Laurel was last seen with. Laurel is home at last, safe and sound. Faith always dreamed of getting her sister back, without ever truly believing it would happen. But a disturbing series of events leaves Faith increasingly isolated and paranoid, and before long she begins to wonder if everything that’s lost can be found again…

Author Interview with Cat Clarke

Was there a particular case or event that inspired you to write The Lost and the Found?

The inspiration for The Lost and the Found actually came from a documentary. Unfortunately I can’t tell you the name of it as it would be a little spoiler-y! It was more of a jumping off point, really – the book isn’t based on the same case that was explored in the documentary. The subject of missing children is one that’s interested me for a long time, particularly in relation to the siblings who are left behind, and how it impacts on their childhood.

Totally understand. No spoilers allowed! Writing about the sibling perspective definitely intrigues me. Do you have a favorite character in the story? Were there things about him or her which couldn’t be included in The Lost and the Found?

I do! Michel is my absolute favourite. He is my main character’s confidante and (sort of) step-father. He’s a French veterinarian, who likes to bake and has a cat called Tonks. There’s so much more I would have liked to have included about Michel – I could probably write a whole novel about him! But I had to rein in my desire to write more about him, and just keep to what was relevant to Faith’s story.

He sounds like an incredibly fun character. Also, I have to say you have the best cat names ever, even in imaginary cats! That’s fantastic. Is there a scene or moment in your novel that really sticks with you? Can you tell us a little bit about it?

I tend to forget almost everything about my books as soon as I finish editing them. I actually have to refer back to them when I get asked even fairly basic questions! Still, there’s one section of The Lost and the Found that has stuck with me: the last couple of paragraphs. And that’s not just because of the huge (HUGE!) relief at reaching the end of the story… honestly. 🙂 It’s because I hadn’t exactly planned how the very end was going to play out, and while I was writing it, I was hit with this devastating idea that made me think differently about the whole story. So of course I went ahead and added it, and it felt like exactly the right ending for Faith’s story. It’s the kind of thing I could never plan – I just had to write my way slowly towards it, if that makes sense!

It does make sense, and it’s awesome. I think that’s my favorite part of the novel-process– all the things discovered in the writing of it. The Lost and the Found reminds me a little bit of Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride, in which a girl returns home after having been kidnapped, and her former best friend tries to reconnect with her. It also sounds like you’ve taken your novel in a different direction. Can you talk a little about what makes this story different than some of the others? (I’m thinking The Face on the Milk Carton or The Deep End of the Ocean, that sort of thing?)

This is tricky, because I haven’t read these books – but now I’m going to! When I had the idea for The Lost and the Found I deliberately avoided any fiction that might have any slight similarities. I immersed myself in non-fiction instead. I find it hard to read any type of fiction when I’m writing. Writers often worry when they realize there are other books out there on the same subject matter as theirs, but the truth is that there are no truly new ideas – just different ways of exploring them.

Ha! Sorry about that. It makes sense to avoid books with similar themes. I’ll be curious to read and compare for myself, too. What do you most hope that readers take away from The Lost and the Found?

My primary goal is always to tell a story, and to do justice to that story. If readers take something from it, that’s wonderful, but I try to steer clear of having some sort of message I want to get across. I’m always delighted to get emails from readers telling me their thoughts on my books. They are usually far more insightful than I am!
What is one question about your novel you are often asked by readers?
It’s a question about the ending of Undone, and I get asked A LOT. It’s basically ‘WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?!’ and I always feel guilty that I can’t provide a better answer than ‘I guess that’s up to you!’ It’s one of the things I love most about fiction – that characters can live on in your head long after you’ve turned the final page.

About Cat Clarke

Web Site | Twitter

Cat was born in Zambia and brought up in Edinburgh and Yorkshire, which has given her an accent that tends to confuse people.

Cat has written non-fiction books about exciting things like cowboys, sharks and pirates, and now writes YA novels. She lives in Edinburgh with a couple of cats, Jem and Scout, who spend their days plotting to spit up furballs at the most inconvenient times. She likes cheese A LOT, especially baked camembert.

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9/13: The Story Sanctuary – Q&A (you are here!)
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