Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Anne Ursu
Illustrator: Erin McGuire
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Iris and Lark are twins who do everything together—until one day, their parents put them in separate classes and after-school activities. As Iris attends her classes and the after-school program "Camp Awesome," she finds herself constantly worrying about Lark, and eventually realizes that trying to protect her more sensitive, whimsical twin was a big part of how she defined herself. Iris begins to feel lost and distanced from Lark, and finds herself spending more and more time with the strange proprietor of the antique shop across the street from Camp Awesome, Mr. Green. Mr. Green confirms Iris's worst fears for Lark by telling her about his own sister, Alice, who disappeared because she was too sensitive to handle the real world. However, Iris soon finds out that Mr. Green isn't all that he seems, and that he may even be dangerous. It's up to Lark and Iris's fellow campers—and unexpected new friends—from Camp Awesome to come to her rescue.
The Lost Girl is a fun read with powerful messages for readers of all ages. Iris and Lark's struggle to adjust to big life changes such as their father moving to London for work and the girls' being separated at school is very relatable, and their subsequent personal growth and triumphs offer a ray of hope for readers facing challenges of their own. The book also emphasizes the difference between codependence and cooperation. At the beginning of the story, Iris and Lark were very codependent and feel that, in order to be successful, they need to do everything together. However, throughout the course of the book, the girls come to understand that they shouldn’t allow their perceived strengths and weaknesses define the nature of their relationship with each other or determine who they have the power to become as individuals.
*Contains moderate violence.