Book Review: Lost Girls by Ann Kelley

lost girls cover

View from the window seat:
When I read the back cover, it sounded like Lord of the Flies but with girls, so I was immediately intrigued. Bonnie MacDonald and her fellow soldiers’ daughters get marooned on an island off the coast of Thailand, where their families are living during the Vietnam War. I enjoyed it while I was reading it; it’s a quick, easy read. However, the more I think about it, the more dissatisfied I feel. The thing about Lord of the Flies, and its brilliance, lies not just in the heartbreaking tale of the boys’ struggle to survive but also in its commentary on society at large. It’s inevitable that this book will be compared to the other, and so now I sit here thinking about it, and wanting it to have been more. Sure, terrible things happen to the girls; they act selfishly, and they make mistakes. The ending leaves me feeling as if their time on the island didn’t matter at all, though. It seems more like an episode, a brief little blip in these girls’ lives that they’ll recover from soon and then get on with their lives. Then again, maybe the author’s intent was to end the story with a bit of hope in a way that Lord of the Flies didn’t.

It did  get me thinking about the difference between boys and girls, though. While the boys of Lord of the Flies quickly fall into savagery, these girls merely fall into angst and whining. Lost Girls was much tamer in that aspect, even with a deus-ex-machina thrown in to help Bonnie. I wonder if the book was tamer because it featured girls and because the audience would most likely be girls.

Overall impression:
Lost Girls is a quick, entertaining read, but lacks the depth that I was expecting.

Rating:
5

Note: I received this ARC from the publisher at the 2012 ALA Annual Conference.

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