The Geography of Lost Things by Jessica Brody

Title: The Geography of Lost Things
Author: Jessica Brody
Pages: 458 pages
Release Date: October 2nd, 2018
Source: Hardcover from Simon Teen
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
After Ali’s father passes away, he leaves his one and only prized possession—a 1968 Firebird convertible—to his daughter. But Ali doesn’t plan on keeping it. Not when it reminds her too much of all her father’s unfulfilled promises. So when she finds a buyer three hundred miles up the Pacific coast willing to pay enough money for the car to save her childhood home, Ali can’t wait to get going. Except Ali has no idea how to drive a stick shift. But guess who does?

Ali’s ex-boyfriend, Nico. And Nico has other plans.

He persuades Ali that instead of selling the car, they should “trade up” the items they collect on their trip to eventually reach the monetary amount Ali needs. Agreeing with Nico’s crazy plan, Ali sets off on a unique adventure that is unlike anything she ever could have expected.

And it’s through Ali’s travels, through the strangers she meets and the things that they value—and why they value them—that Ali eventually comes to understand her father and how his life may not have been as easy and carefree as she previously thought. Because just like the seemingly insignificant objects Ali collects, not everything is exactly as it appears.

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**I received an unsolicited copy of this book from the publisher. This has not affected my opinion of the book.**

Road trip contemporary stories are my kryptonite. This book tickled my desire to read a cute contemporary story about a road trip but also delivered in other aspects. I despise how I initially thought this was going to be yet another "road trip romance book", fitting the mold of all the road trip contemporaries I had read in the past. Beyond the surface, it is so much more. In fact, this book is one of the strongest contemporaries I've ever read.

I love contemporaries that are good at being cute and romantic, but I also appreciate when they succeed in teaching me valuable life lessons. I mean, going on a road trip with your ex-boyfriend? Straight from the start, I knew this book was going to be juicy! However, I did not think I was going to tear up, much less feel any emotional attachment to the characters in this story.

The relationships in this book are fragile and complex. In fact, there were so many relationships that could have each had their own books written about them! Ali and her father, Ali and her mother, Ali and Nico, Nico and his mother... Too many to name! I cared for these characters' well-being and carried their emotional burdens with me as I read on. I found the ex-boyfriend, Nico, to be especially interesting because from the start of the story he's introduced as this mystery.

There are some really small details in this book that I appreciated and GOD, THEY MADE ME LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH MORE. The story is so well thought out and the author pays so much attention to details like the information she puts in at the beginning of each chapter. You're going to have to read the book to find out what I mean. As you can see, I'm trying really hard right now to keep the spoilers out of this review!

There are so many beautiful things about this book, but mostly the true beauty lies in the lessons and message the book imparts. Messages about forgiveness and finding value in things and in relationships. This book isn't your typical road trip YA. It will tug your emotional heartstrings and possibly make you see the world in a new way. Although this book is nearly 500 pages long, it didn't feel that long. It was fast-paced and it almost felt like I was embarking on the road trip with these characters.

I was really nitpicky with my rating, which is perhaps the only reason I didn't end up giving it a 5-star rating. The book alternates from present to past with flashbacks, but I often felt it quite confusing determining whether we were in the present or the past. But overall, this book exceeded my expectations and I couldn't recommend it more. Brody's writing is reminiscent of a Morgan Matson book, which is probably why I flew through this one. For you die-hard contemporary readers, you will devour this book. For those who haven't read much contemporary, this one would also be perfect to start out with.

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