Rating: 4 Stars.
Louis and Frances are internet friends who meet on a support group website. Louis is struggling with feeling at fault for an accident that lost his sister her legs. Frances is coming to terms with the fact that her mother has been living in a mental institution for the past five years and has recently died. Through their close friends and a road trip across the country, they find solace in the things they lose, find and had all along.
This book impressed me a lot more than Leno’s previous book “The Half-Life of Molly Pierce”, which I didn’t enjoy nearly as much.
I loved the element of the “Lost” items that Leno incorporated. Initially I didn’t understand why it had become so prevalent, but halfway through the book, things make a little more sense, and the suspension of understanding was worth the wait.
The characterization was excellent, however, I was far more drawn to Arrow and Willa, than I was to Louis and Frances. They seemed to possess more depth and humour, and I would have loved to learn more about their own backgrounds and read their stories. Louis and Frances felt a little flatter.
I would have loved to see so much more interaction between Louis and Frances. There were allusions to messages sent, and the time they spent together, but there was considerable less character action shown between these characters than I had anticipated. This to me is where the book could have really made me feel more for these two individuals, digging deper into their quirks and showing more depth to their friendship. The interactions we did see were adorable, real, and left me wanting so much more.
That being said, the relationships between Willa and Louis and subsequently, Frances and Arrow, were beautiful. They loyalty, the connection, the conflict, the support, the acceptance is everything you want to see in a friendship road trip novel.
Recommendations: A great realistic fiction novel addressing mental illness, racial diversity, and physical disability. There is a bit of suspension of reality for part of this piece, but take it for what it is, and enjoy. 12+.