Both of us are big fans of Jennifer Lynn Barnes and have had The Lovely and the Lost on our shelves for way too long! So we decided it was time to pick this one up for a buddyread. Today we want to talk about this book and tell you what we thought. Keep on reading to find out more!
Kira Bennett’s earliest memories are of living alone and wild in the woods. She has no idea how long she was on her own or what she had to do to survive, but she remembers the moment that Cady Bennett and one of her search-and-rescue dogs found her perfectly. Adopted into the Bennett family, Kira still struggles with human interaction years later, but she excels at the family business: search-and-rescue. Along with Cady’s son, Jude, and their neighbor, Free, Kira works alongside Cady to train the world’s most elite search-and-rescue dogs. Someday, all three teenagers hope to put their skills to use, finding the lost and bringing them home.
But when Cady’s estranged father, the enigmatic Bales Bennett, tracks his daughter down and asks for her help in locating a missing child—one of several visitors who has disappeared in the Sierra Glades National Park in the past twelve months—the teens find themselves on the frontlines sooner than they could have ever expected. As the search through 750,000 acres of unbridled wilderness intensifies, Kira becomes obsessed with finding the missing child. She knows all too well what it’s like to be lost in the wilderness, fighting for survival, alone.
But this case isn’t simple. There is more afoot than a single, missing girl, and Kira’s memories threaten to overwhelm her at every turn. As the danger mounts and long-held family secrets come to light, Kira is forced to question everything she thought she knew about her adopted family, her true nature, and her past.
“The things that haunt us, they make us human.”
Candyce I love the color of this cover and it definitely gives me a mysterious vibe. Also, the end pages have dog paw prints and looks really cute (even though this is in no way a cute and fluffy book).
Isabelle The colors on this cover are gorgeous! I love the vibe this one gives me, like Candyce says you can really feel the mystery. It isn’t my favorite cover ever but I do think it is quite beautiful.
“It’s not the things you can’t find that haunt you. It’s when you choose not to look.”
Candyce I really love search and rescue stories and have watched many reality shows based on that. So when I read The Lovely and the Lost involved search and rescue dogs and a mystery, I knew I had to pick this one up and it didn’t disappoint!
This story is the perfect mix of a mystery and learning more about the main character, Kira. She was found alone in the woods and no one knew how long she had been there. I can’t imagine experiencing that and I loved how this character developed in this story. With everything happening we slowly get pieces of Kira’s story and what happened. I’ve never read a story like this and don’t want to say too much, because it’s just one you need to read for yourself. I will say that the bond Kira has with her dogs is truly amazing and I loved how much it was portrayed in this book and how big of a part it played.
I will say though that Kira is such a strong person. I can’t imagine what it was like to be in her shoes. Going from living in the wild to inside of a house where there are a lot of rules. I think my favorite part of this story was learning about her and the bond she had with the dogs. That was such a special part of this story. Not only were the dogs trained for search and rescue, but they were very much loved!
When a girl goes missing, Kira and her family go to the scene to assist. This was more than just going to help with the search. There are a lot of family secrets and it’s clear things have happened between Kira’s mother Cady and her family. I loved this part of the story as well. I was curious to see how that would play out and also how the mystery would continue. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down!
I learned a lot while reading this book and would definitely love to read more stories like this. I have to say though that is a truly unique story that I won’t forget anytime soon. Besides the mystery and rescue aspects of this story, The Lovely and the Lost has an amazing set of characters. There’s family, friendships and for once romance doesn’t take over most of the story. It was a nice surprise and I will definitely come back to this one in the future!
“How do you go out there, again and again, knowing what you’re going to find?”
“I tell myself that I don’t find bodies,” Mac replied evenly. “I find answers. I find lost ones, and I bring them home.”
Isabelle I went into this book expecting it to be my least favorite Jennifer Lynn Barnes book. Jennifer is one of my favorite authors and I love her work so much. But somehow I had the wrong idea about this book and didn’t completely understand what this book was about. This is much more a mystery story than I thought it would be. And I loved it!
As soon as I finished the first chapter I knew this would be a great book. I immediately loved the characters Jennifer created and couldn’t stop reading. Both the characters and the plot were amazing and I flew through the book in 3 days. I loved going into the book unprepared and just going with the flow of the story. We get a really compelling mystery and I had no clue where it was going. I don’t think I truly knew what was going on until we got the reveal haha. There were a couple of twists and I really enjoyed them.
One of the coolest aspects of the story were the dogs. They play a really big part in the story and we get to learn a lot about search and rescue. I loved how the dogs and the bond between the characters and their dogs were portrayed. At a few points in the story I shed a tear or two because it was so emotional!
Kira is an amazing character and it was super interesting being in her head. She didn’t always make the most logical decisions for me, but I do think they fit her character and background really well. Jude and Free were great characters as well. I loved the dynamics between the three of them and it was very refreshing that there was hardly any romance. The friendships and family was much more important and that is one of my favorite things in books.
I don’t want to say much more about the plot. There is a mystery with a missing girl but everything else you have to experience for yourself. I was very pleasantly surprised and it was once again proven that Jennifer Lynn Barnes writes amazing books and deserves to be on my favorites list. She is so underrated and I hope more people pick up her newest book but also some of her backlist titles. I would highly recommend this story to mystery lovers and dog lovers ;).
This book was a pleasant surprise for both of us and just proves again why we love this author so much! Have you ever read anything by Jennifer Lynn Barnes? Let us know if you have in the comments! We’d love to hear from you.