Lost by Ele Fountain
|Lost by Ele Fountain|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: Full of adventure, and heartwarming family loyalty, this is an exciting and moving story.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 256||Date: March 2020|
|Publisher: Pushkin Children's|
|External links: Author's website|
Lola lives in an Indian city with her father, and her brother, Amit. She lives with them in a nice apartment, and although they are not rich like some of the girls at school, they have enough money to be comfortable. Lola spends her time thinking about her school friends, and trying to fit in with them, until one day, suddenly, everything in her life changes. After taking a work trip away, Lola's father doesn't come home. They have nobody else to help, and as they wait day after day, Lola wonders what will become of them until, finally, they are evicted from their flat, and she and her brother find themselves forced to live on the streets.
Things get even worse for Lola, however, as no sooner are they on the street than do they find that first their bags are stolen, and then Lola loses her brother in a crowded street, and although she looks and looks, she can't find him anywhere. It's tense reading, and at times uncomfortable because of all the difficulties that Lola is facing.
The story is a captivating read of how life can change completely in just an instant. The constant mystery of where is Lola's father sits beneath the story, and you find yourself, like Lola, thinking that he must be dead, otherwise why has he not come to find his children? Then there is the mystery of where has Amit gone, and is he safe? I enjoyed the different threads to the story. Lola meets several different children on the street, and they are all very different, intriguing characters. I particularly liked Rafi, who is both sensitive and stand-offish, and described in a way that means you can almost see him as you read.
Seeing Lola learning new coping mechanisms of life on the street is interesting to read, and nerve-wracking at times. The short chapters somehow increase how intense the book feels. Whilst the descriptions of street life are a bit scary at times, they are told in such a way that it doesn't make for unbearable reading. There's some violence, but nothing too graphic. But it still all feels very real, and the idea of very small children sleeping rough in the streets comes to life in a truly abhorrent way, highlighting the tragedy of how many real children around the world are living their lives in this way.
Through the story, I really loved seeing Lola's loyalty to her family. She refuses to give up, going back to stand outside her old flat, day after day. She walks for miles to try to ask for help from her old 'friend' who she isn't even alowed to see, perhaps because Lola is now a 'street rat,' and one of the lower classes that her school friends have all teased and looked down upon in the past. And yet, in spite of everything, Lola refuses to believe that she won't be able to find Amit, and you find yourself hoping against hope that she will be successful in the end.
The book manages to be an adventure story, a mystery, a disaster story, a story about class divisions, and a beautiful tale of friendship and family. Lola is brave, and kind, and it's a page-turner right from the start through to the end.
Further reading: You might also enjoy a different sort of adventure story like The Pear Affair by Judith Eagle
You can read more book reviews or buy Lost by Ele Fountain at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Lost by Ele Fountain at Amazon.com.
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