The Beautiful Lost by Luanne Rice

Here are three things to know about Maia:

1. Ever since her mother left, Maia’s struggled with depression—which once got so bad, she had to go to an institution for a while. She doesn’t want to go back.

2. Maia’s sure that if she finds her mother, if the two of them can talk about whale songs and constellations, then everything will be okay again.

3. She’s in love with Billy, the handsome, brooding boy who lives in the group home in town. He doesn’t seem to know that Maia exists…until now.

When Maia sets off on a road trip in search of her mom, Billy unexpectedly comes along. They drive up the East Coast, stopping along the way for lobster rolls and lighthouses. Maia learns that Billy has dark secrets of his own—and wants to outrun his past, too. But what will the future hold if they reach their destination?
The Beautiful Lost is what got me out of my months long reading slump and for that I appreciate this book on a whole other level.

The Beautiful Lost starts out with Maia in her classroom thinking about her plans to escape her household and how she'll miss her crush, Billy. Now no need to worry too much. Maia isn't escaping her home for some awful reason but for one important one - she's going to find her mother. Her impulsivity, leads her to leave school early. This in turn alerts her much hated stepmother that she is home, ruining her plans to run away. No matter, Maia is determined to find away to her mom who left to go study whales. She, like her mother, feels stifled. Maia's depression doesn't define her, but it does control at times which you'll get to see in the story. After an incident last year, Maia believes her stepmother uses the knowledge of the event to control her. She will not be sent back to a mental facility like last time so she becomes desperate to run away from all her problems.

Maia has a bit of a stalker thing going on with Billy. Not really. I wouldn't have continued on if I was creeped out by it, but she does watch him with binoculars (I know, I know, but I promise it felt like a girl crushing on a guy and nothing else) when he's at his group home because his family members refuse to take care of him after his own incident. He's the brooding, mysterious boy without an overkill of brooding or angst. So he doesn't come off as a jerk. He comes off as independent and capable. A lot more capable than Maia. I am convinced she wouldn't have made it past her block without Billy to help her.

The beginning of the story captures Maia at a glance. She's impulsive, naive, determined, desperate, and an ordinary teenage girl with her own set of problems like everybody else.

The first quarter and the last quarter of the book is where The Beautiful Lost shined. I really enjoyed the introduction of these two characters. The writing overall is well done. I'm not surprised Rice is a bestselling author.

The last quarter captured my attention. The emotion from all the characters felt so real. I also enjoyed the addition of Maia's depression and whales. The way Maia described her depression and the time she spent at the mental facility was fascinating. I at first thought the depression aspect of the story would make me feel sad the whole time, however the way it was written in, I could see it from an outsider's perspective without it being totally overwhelming. The talk of whales had me so intrigued. The way the story was written helped a lot in my development of interest of whales. It created a very atmospheric feel to it that made me want to sit by the ocean.

Let's talk about that middle portion... Maia was not prepared. She wouldn't have made it anywhere without Billy. She was also too trusting for some unknown reason and tried to get Billy to trust people while they were on the run. I couldn't help shaking my head asking Maia, "Girl, what are you doing?" at a certain point in the story. Also, there were parts of the story that I think could have been written better or frankly cut out. There was a part where we were supposed to relate to Billy's life in a group home but it felt forced. There was also this ghost story part which wasn't necessary. Those were my main problems with the story. Luckily, it ended off well with such a surprise and a great conclusion.

In the end, I really appreciated Billy's maturity and I hope that Maia in the future can reach that level. I've got to give her props for going for what she wanted. The Beautiful Lost got me out of the biggest reading slump I've ever had so I'll always appreciate it for giving me books back.

Luanne Rice is one to watch. I hope to see the level of her writing progress as I read more of her books in the future.


  1. I have read a lot of Luanne Rice books- but not in a while. This sounds like a great read and I am glad it helped get you out of your slump. Thanks for sharing- I will have to check it out. :)

    1. She's new to me. This is my first time reading about her. I think she's written adult books before if I'm not mistaken. She has a new book coming out next year I might try as well.


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