(Review) The Lost Girls by Heather Young

Publisher and Publication Date: William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins. Paperback edition 2016.
Genre: Mystery.
Pages: 368.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: Very good.

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The Lost Girls is the story of two families living in two time periods. In 1935, a little girl disappeared. Her name was Emily. She was the youngest of three sisters. Their father was an odd person. He had at one time studied to become a minister. Now, he owns a business. His religious beliefs are a pieced together mesh of his own doctrine. The family owns a lake house where they reside every summer. The second family is Justine and her two daughters. Justine and her daughters live in our modern period. They had lived in California. Justine and her daughters escape while her boyfriend was at work. She just instinctively knew to run. She and the two girls live at the lake house.
The lake house is the setting for both time periods. It is located in rural Minnesota.

I loved this story. It's a book that I bought at Target. It was difficult to put it down.
Lucy begins the story with a notebook she found in a desk. All her immediate family members are deceased. She alone is left. The notebook holds the story of what happened in 1935. The mystery of what happened is revealed by the end of the book with a little help from Justine.   
The second chapter introduces Justine. She is in a permanent relationship with a guy named Patrick. He is not the father of her two daughters named Melanie and Angela. Their father ran off. Patrick waltzed into their life as if he is a knight-in-shining-armor. On one hand, Justine is relieved to have Patrick, on the other, he is smothering. She does not say this "aloud" in the story, but I sensed this from her. After a weird break-in at their apartment. She and the girls leave California and travel by car to Minnesota. The lake house is an inheritance, but it feels like a fresh start for them.

I did not care for Justine's sarcastic tone. I believe her sarcasm is a mask for bitterness about her life. A little bit of sarcasm goes a long way with me, and her steady stream of sarcasm got old.
She questions what she sees, hears, and feels. This is strong symptoms of a woman who has been abused. I felt sorry for her, because I have been in this kind of situation. As a result, while reading this story I felt panicky. I wanted to shout at her to just get the heck out and don't look back. I did not want to see Patrick show up again. I did not want her to even look at him. 
Justine is a believable character. She is a scarred and broken individual. She can see just enough to leave, but not enough to understand why.
Justine is restless and hates to be alone. I always wonder if people don't like to be alone because then they are left with a quiet mind that reflects on things they'd rather not think about? 
I felt an immediate red flag with her daughter Melanie. Melanie had problems in school. Justine tries to ignore it. The problem is not something "else" she wants to deal with.
The story from the past is heartbreaking. A family with horrible secrets. Secrets that drown and hide for decades. 
I loved the descriptive setting. This told the story all on its own. The writing is vivid and I easily pictured the scenes.




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