The Lost Boys
By Lilian Carmine
My Rating: 2 Stars
I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
A new job has brought Joey Gray and her mother to a new town. Joey is trying to be supportive despite the fact that she’s in her last year of high school. On her first day in town, Joey goes for a walk and meets her neighbor who asks for her assistance. This assistance leads Joey to a local graveyard where she asks a boy for directions. Tristan is awkward and quirky but Joey assumes that’s just his personality. She never expected there was more to Tristan than meets the eye. Joey starts spending as much time as she can with Tristan and then it’s time for her to go to boarding school. When she goes to meet Tristan on New Year’s Eve everything changes for Joey and Tristan. As they try to determine what happened on New Year’s Eve they move forward by both attending boarding school. They make friends and form a band and become closer than they have ever been with any other. When their happiness is threatened they must find a way to save each other from forces greater than themselves.
I wanted to love this book. And I didn’t absolutely hate it, but why was it over 500 pages? It could have been three hundred and still been the same story. I actually thought the plot was great. It was well developed and well thought out, but there was so much description of unnecessary parts in this book that it slowed the progress of the book. With some extensive editing and revision, I think that Lilian Carmine would have had an award winning book. Her biggest issue, was spending so much time on describing what everyone, and I mean all of the characters, were wearing, and how Joey feels about them. It was all very unnecessary. At first I thought that there was a reason behind the extensive descriptions, but as I finished the book, I found myself being annoyed because it was all for nothing. Joey never developed any feelings for any of the characters except maybe Harry. It would have been sufficient for Carmine to focus on Joey, Tristan, her mother and Harry. Everything else was a waste of time for both the reader and the writer. Much of the description would have been good as character development and planning for the author but didn’t need to make the final cut of the book. When I finished this book, I went on a search of the author and discovered that this is the first book in a three book series. I’m not sure that I could read the other two books if I have to read through so much extraneous unnecessary description. Some authors can get away with this level of description like Stephen King, unfortunately, Carmine isn’t one of them.
Besides the unnecessary extensive description the dialog was awkward and forced. Most of it flowed oddly, written in proper English rather than in vernacular. Dialog needs to sound normal when spoken aloud. It didn’t always in this book. I could see it for Tristan but for everyone else it was distracting and it drew me out of the story. Lastly, time seemed to flow strangely in the book. It would drag and then skip ahead really fast. It felt forced because Carmine had to get to the end of the year but she wrote herself into a corner because of all the unnecessary description that she was forced to skim large portions of time just to get to the end of the story. Again, this comes back to good editing, so that she can fill in those gaps.
That all said, this wasn’t a terrible story. I liked the uniqueness of the story. I think that Carmine had a good idea with this plot. Joey was fun and quirky. And Tristan was adorable, mysterious and distracting in the way you want all male characters to be. The twist in the ghost genre was great and the romance that is expected in YA literature today was there. I’m interested in seeing what happens next for Tristan and Joey but I’m not sure I will if the next book is as long as this one was. This was an ARC so I’m hoping that the final version has been cleaned up extensively. If not, I don’t think I can recommend this book to the typical YA reader. I gave it two stars for it’s unique plot, but unfortunately couldn’t give it anything more because of all the other issues.