Review: The Light that Gets Lost

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A small boy hiding in a cupboard witnesses something no child should ever see. He tries not to look but he still hears it. And when he comes out, there’s no mistaking. His mum and dad have been killed. And though he’s only small, he swears that he’ll get revenge one day. Years later, Trey enters a strange camp that is meant to save troubled teenagers. It’s packed with crazies, god-botherers, devoted felons and broken kids. Trey’s been in and out of trouble ever since the day the bad thing happened, but he’s he not here for saving: this is where he’ll find the man who did it. Revenge and healing, salvation and hell are a boiling, dangerous mix, and Trey finds himself drawn to a girl, a dream and the offer of friendship in the dark.


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Okay. So. This was a little like We Were Liars: strange writing style, and you were either going to love it or hate it. I loved We Were Liars, but unfortunately, I can’t say the same about this. I wouldn’t go as far to say that I hated it, because I LOVED the writing style SO SO MUCH, but the characters and the plot just fell a little flat for me.

So, the main character, Trey, is left a broken, disturbed boy after watching a stranger kill is parents and destroy his brother’s life forever. Left furious and wanting answers, Trey sets his mind on revenge. And so, after conveniently discovering that his parents’ killer is harboured at a correction camp for disturbed teens, Trey makes it his priority to get into the camp and get his revenge. Obviously, it doesn’t take him very long to gain entry.

I guess that Trey was meant to be cold-hearted and left broken after witnessing his parents’ murder, but I think that tactic kinda backfired a bit. He was really weird. Not unique. Or eccentric. Just really weird bordering creepy (haha like I can judge people on their creepiness). He was cold and unfeeling. He was totally set on the murder of this parents’ murderer. He was totally set on revenge. He pushed away people who wanted to be his friends. The only way he managed to open his heart slightly was when he met a girl (of course). And so it was really hard to connect with him, and feel anything for him. He could have died and I would have been like “meh”.

Now onto the plot. Wait. What plot? This is one of those books I label a “flounder”. It just flounders around in sequences of events, but nothing actually happens, and it takes so so long to get anywhere. The book moves at a maddeningly miserable pace, with pages and pages of it taken up with Trey’s daily timetable. Welp, how exciting! Not.

And then, about the middle, it goes completely off track from revenge/murder and goes all Lord of the Flies. The ending was totally predictable, and a little lacklustre. And while we’re on the subject of other similarities with other books, the book had threads of Of Mice and Men running through it all the way, too. Which may or may not be a good thing.

I know I said I loved the writing, but maybe I should fix that a little bit. I loved the writing style. While the writing style was really beautiful, taking full advantage of imagery and metaphoric techniques, the actual technicality of the writing was not that good. Almost every single sentence in the book, and we’re talking just about 95% of the book’s sentences, started with a proper noun. Such as, most commonly, “Trey” or “He” or “They”. It stilted the writing style. Imagine if I wrote like this:

This book was okay. This book had a nice writing style. This book had creepy characters. This book had weird writing. This book had little plot. This book went off track from what was advertised. This book had a dodgy ending. This book was hard to get through. This book was slow.

It gets really frustrating and is like one of those little nit picky things that the metaphorical OCD-but-not-really-OCD part of my mind really goes crazy about.

So, all in all, I would actually still recommend this book if only for the writing style. While the plot, characters and writing technicalities fell short of what I expected, I still believe that this book is a book worth reading if only to take some pointers from the writing style.


Thank you to Bloomsbury for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review! (Sorry I didn’t like it 😢)


Rating: ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ 5/10


The Light that Gets Lost is out now. Buy at your local bookstore.


The Info:

  • Title: The Light that Gets Lost
  • Author: Natasha Carthew
  • Hardback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Children (November 5th, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN10: 140883586X
  • URL: Goodreads
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