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Lost and Found - Book Review

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by Jennifer Muirhead (subscribe)
I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma. ~ Eartha Kitt jennifermuirhead.wordpress.com/
Published August 16th 2019
Who wants to know where all the spiders are?
Lost and Found, fantasy, YA novel, YA fantasy, Orson Scott Card

"His talent for finding things, his obsessive hunger to return things to their owners, had owned him before he had language. Mother told him stories about how he returned to her anything she dropped, even when he was still crawling or toddling with a sagging diaper. It was as if he had been born with this mission in life: to see that all lost things were returned. But when he lost Mother, he coludn't find her. He couldn't return to himself the most precious thing he owned" ~ from Lost and Found.

The other kids at school won't talk to Ezekiel Blast because everyone thinks he's a thief. Everyone except his father, who knows that unlikely as it seems, Ezekiel really did just find all the many lost items he returned to their owners. Ezekiel just has a knack for finding things, more of a curse than a power, since it's never done him any good. Then one day, a girl named Beth decides to join Ezekiel in his "shunning bubble". Beth is a proportional dwarf, who at fourteen years old looks about six. She has problems and secrets of her own, but she wants to be Ezekiel's best and only friend.

When the police for Ezekiel's help to find a missing girl, initially he refuses because he hasn't had great experiences with the police and he has only ever been able to find things, not people. Beth encourages him to test the limits of his power and do what he can to help.

Lost and Found is a quirky young adult urban fantasy novel by Orson Scott Card (the award-winning author of Ender's Game and The Tales of Alvin Maker series, among other things). It had been a long time since I read anything by Orson Scott Card. Although I was a fan of his earlier work it took a bit of effort to put some of my recent bad associations with the author and his politics out of my head to enjoy this book, but I signed up to read and review it, so here I go.

I liked the premise, which reminded me of Emma Bull's 1994 novel, Finder, which is about a boy called Orient who has the power to find lost objects (part of the Bordertown series which I am obsessed with and completely incapable of being objective about, so it is possible that I enjoyed Card's book more than I otherwise would have done just because of that association). In fact, the writing style reminds me of the fantasy novels of the late 80s and early 90s as well, but maybe I'm just thinking of the Alvin Maker books.

Ezekiel is only one of many characters in the story to possess "micropowers"- mysterious abilities that aren't impressive enough to be called superpowers. For example, one of the characters can always tell without looking whether someone's navel is an 'innie' or an 'outie. The idea of trying to work out the limits of, and find practical uses for, abilities like that is a lot of fun. It's one of the things I enjoyed about the comic series Chew, and the TV show Misfits.

I spotted an Easter egg for Orson Scott Card fans- Bliss, which is Ezekiel's legal name, though he prefers to be called "Blast" is a pseudonym card used when he was writing for a Mormon magazine in the '70s. So now you too can feel like your brain is a little too full of Orson Scott Card facts.

There is a lot of dialogue in this book, with pages and pages of verbal sparring between characters. That's fine if you like that sort of thing, just don't expect it to be action-packed, even though it does involve two separate kidnappings. It was refreshing to see the hero in a young adult story solving problems without resorting to violence, and showing understanding and tenderness towards a friend of the opposite sex without a love story being jammed in as well. The relationships between the characters are sweet, and the ending actually made me tear up a little. While this book is suitable for young adults, there are some heavy themes, including the death of parents, as well as child pornography, sex trafficking and murder (though these things are never described in any detail, only mentioned).

Lost and Found
is a quirky story that will probably appeal to people who like stories about weird superpowers (or micropowers), or warm and fuzzy young adult stories about misfits and weirdos.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blackstone Publishing, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Published:
September 10, 2019
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