ARC review: We Are Lost and Found by Helene Dunbar

We Are Lost and Found by Helene Dunbar
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Source: ARC via Netgalley

A poignant, heartbreaking, and uplifting, story in the tradition of The Perks of Being a Wallflower about three friends coming-of-age in the early 1980s as they struggle to forge their own paths in the face of fear of the unknown.

Michael is content to live in the shadow of his best friends, James, an enigmatic teen performance artist who everyone wants and no one can have and Becky, who calls things as she sees them, while doing all she can to protect those she loves. His brother, Connor, has already been kicked out of the house for being gay and laying low seems to be his only chance to avoid the same fate. 

To pass the time before graduation, Michael hangs out at The Echo where he can dance and forget about his father’s angry words, the pressures of school, and the looming threat of AIDS, a disease that everyone is talking about, but no one understands.

Then he meets Gabriel, a boy who actually sees him. A boy who, unlike seemingly everyone else in New York City, is interested in him and not James. And Michael has to decide what he’s willing to risk to be himself.

I’ll be honest and admit the the only reason I really requested an ARC of We Are Lost and Found was its cover. I was also pretty intrigued by the setting (New York City in the early 1980s) and the fact that this basically sounded like a YA version of Rent. Well, after reading it, I can say that it definitely isn’t YA Rent, although it was an interesting and well-written book.

So… we’ll start with the good. I loved Becky and James. They felt like they could really be my friends. I liked Michael’s complicated relationship with his brother. I pretty much love anything set in the 80s, so that was a definite plus for me too. I also thought that the book was really well-written.

Things I liked less were the lack of quotation marks throughout the book — it made it very difficult to determine who was talking, if anyone, and really pulled me out of the story — and what felt like a lack of plot. I mean, sure, it’s about a gay boy in 1980s NYC amid the AIDS crisis, but nothing huge happens.

The synopsis of this book compares it to The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which, for once, is a pretty accurate comparison. I had the same problem with that book, so it might just be an issue of me not really connecting with this type of story.


Have you read We Are Lost and Found? Can you recommend any good books on this topic? Let’s talk in the comments!

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11 thoughts on “ARC review: We Are Lost and Found by Helene Dunbar

  1. Susan says:

    I had just gotten out of an AWFUL– and I mean stole money from me to buy hard drugs when he said he needed to keep his electric on AWFUL relationship– like almost 8 or 9 years ago– and another friend of mine for some bizarre reason said hey you should watch perks of being a wallflower… its perfect for you right now. HELL NO IT WASN’T. Point being I’m really glad you wrote this review because I ALMOST requested the ARC for some stupid reason bu thankfully thought the better of it but it stayed on my mind. And now that I read there review oh hell no. I’m in no mental state to handle more of that… Thank you for saving me from myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sohinee Dey says:

    The cover definitely looks good but the actual content does not seem to do any justice to that. I really do love to read people’s honest reviews and hopefully you will come across another good read! 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  3. abookwormundercover says:

    I would have read this book just because of the cover as well. It’s a shame you didn’t enjoy the book as much; the synopsis made it sound so promising. I found I had a similar issue with Perks. I didn’t love it like most people seem to; I thought it lacked a plot and nothing really happened, which was disappointing. I think this is one book I’m going to stay away from.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. rosihollinbeck says:

    I can’t for the life of me understand why any editor would put a book out that doesn’t use quotation marks. It is such an annoying fashion that I hope soon goes out of style. Yes, it distracts from the writing. Why would anyone want to distract a reader from the writing? This sounds like a book that doesn’t have enough going for it to overcome that annoyance. Thanks for the warning.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. dinipandareads says:

    That lack of quotation marks is very Sally Rooney-esque (I don’t know if you’ve read any of her books yet). It definitely takes getting used to… Too bad that this one didn’t live up to your expectations of it — though if you find a book that’s YA RENT please share right away coz that’d be insanely amazing! Lol I haven’t read Perks of Being A Wallflower so I don’t know if this one’ll be for me or not, but good to keep that in mind if I ever pick it up! Great honest review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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