Six Degrees of Lost by Linda Benson
ebook (available in paperback), 292 pages
Available now by Musa Publishing
Description from Goodreads:
Olive’s mother is headed to jail and her brother to join the Army, so thirteen-year-old Olive is uprooted from sunny California and dumped in Washington State like a stray. That's exactly what she feels like surrounded by her aunt’s collection of homeless dogs, cats, and horses.
Fourteen-year-old David’s future is already carved in stone. From a military family with two brothers serving overseas, he’s been pointed towards the Air Force Academy his entire life - but a rafting trip gone awry might ruin his chances.
When a runaway dog is almost hit by a car, the search for its owner leads Olive and David, two teens from entirely different backgrounds, to an unlikely bond. Will their growing attraction to each other be enough to keep Olive from a foolhardy journey to find her mother? Will David risk his family’s plans to save her?
While this alternates between Olive and David, I really felt like it was more Olives story than Davids. But I really enjoyed that it alternated and in a way we get two stories in one. Olive has been sent to live with her aunt in Washington while her mom is sent to jail and her brother is off to join the Army. She feels a bit like a stray in her aunts house with all her stray animals that she rescues. She feels a bit lost and sad and misses her family and life.
David is dealing with an overbearing father who is determined he is going to go into the Air Force and pushes David to excel at everything he does and to do more, and be better. But David doesn't know that's what he wants, and he just want the option to make his own decisions.
David and Olive find each other and their mutual love of animals kind of helps bind them a bit. Things are back and forth between them as they are just on the cusp of their teen years and are discovering new feelings and stronger emotions. They both feel a little afraid of doing something stupid, but Olive is particularly sensitive as she's already dealing with so much. She's afraid of pushing things too much, or of being made fun of, or perhaps, even a little afraid of getting too close to David when she has every intention of leaving.
This was a quiet and slower paced book. It's a contemporary that's realistic and is one that so many younger teens can relate to. Quiet and boring summer days, overbearing parents, feeling neglected and alone... everything these two kids go through are thing that happen to teens every day.
I particularly enjoyed that animals were so important to the story. There's a strong message of how important it is to remember that if you get an animal, it's your responsibility. That you need to care for it and love it and not just tie it up and neglect it. There are plenty of examples for people to see and hopefully kids will get this message and remember that when they want a dog or cat of their own.
This was an enjoyable read that sits firmly between middle grade and young adult. The characters are 13 and 14 and they act like it. It's a hard age, an in-between time, I would say. It's also a clean read, so you don't have to hesitate about handing it off to a younger reader.
Find Linda Benson:
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Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.
This review is by Candace:
Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.