Jessa Whitworth knew she didn’t belong in her ex-boyfriend Caleb’s room. But she couldn’t deny that she was everywhere – in his photos, his neatly folded T-shirts, even the dragonfly necklace in his jeans pocket, the one she gave him for safe keeping on that day.
His mother asked her to pack up his things even though she blames Jessa for his accident. How could she say no? And maybe, just maybe, it will help her work through the guilt she feels about their final moments together.
But as Jessa begins to box up the pieces of Caleb’s life, they trigger memories that make Jessa realize their past relationship may not be exactly as she remembered. And she starts to question whether she really knew Caleb at all.
Each fragment of his life reveals a new clue that propels Jessa to search for the truth about Caleb’s accident. What really happened on the night he died?
Format – prose
Edition – ARC (paperback)
Date of Publication – 5th April 2018 (UK)
Number of Pages – 369
Genre – YA Mystery
So it has taken a few days for me to compile all my thoughts on this book, and what I’ve realised in those few days is how my impression of the book improves the more I think about it.
Fragments of the Lost has a slow beginning. The main character Jessa (short for Jessamyn) is tidying out the room of her ex-boyfriend Caleb and constantly stops to reminisce whenever she slaps eyes on something like a photograph or keyring – the little objects you think have no importance until you connect the dots and relate it to a specific moment. I initially found this to be annoying but on reflection, it is in these little snippets of memory where you start to find the puzzle pieces and realise that the entire situation is messed up as a result of secrecy and lies. For me, it’s like a mash up of Rebecca and Pretty Little Liars. You don’t know what to believe, you don’t know how to act and once you realise the truth, everything spirals out of control.
What I think Megan Miranda does well is use the characters of Jessa, Max (the best friend), Eve, Sean and Mia (Caleb’s mother, step-father and younger sister) to drive the plot and build on the mystery. I’ll admit to finding myself a bit bored with the mystery in parts and skimming and speed-reading, but the actions and reactions of all the characters kept me on my toes. Out of all of them, Mia and Eve were the most interesting, never inherently forthcoming about everything to do with Caleb. Eve was certainly cagey, always lingering in the background and the tense interactions between her and Jessa kept the mystery going. Next to that, we’ve also got Jessa and Max figuring out how to move forward without Caleb because he was clearly the lynchpin of the group. They both start relying on each other a) for trusted support and b) to understand where they each stood with Caleb. It was an interesting dynamic and I have to say I was not surprised by their ending. I knew it was coming and I was actually okay with it.
On the subject of relationship dynamics, I have to say that the sibling dynamic between Jessa and her brother Julian was brilliant! It was friendly, loving, trust-worthy and everything I love in good sibling relationships. There wasn’t a lot of interaction between them, but what was there was done to a high standard and one I hold particularly important in every book I read, not just YA.
All in all, this book is surprising and I’m glad I gave it a chance. I didn’t find it jaw-droppingly fantastic but it was a solid read and I’m tempted to pick up a finished copy for my shelves. I think down the line, I do see it as a book I could re-read and possibly like even more a second-time round. I also can’t believe I’m about to say this but I can already imagine this book being adapted into a film. I think it would work really well.
Now for the rating;
Rating – 3 out of 5
Quotes I liked:
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a guy who cares for his much younger sibling somehow has unprecedented appeal.”
Hmm. I think someone loves a bit of Pride and Prejudice!
“But if I’ve learned nothing else, it’s that nobody was who I thought. Everyone had secrets. Trust is a luxury for food. The more I discover, the less I trust my own memories, even.”
That’s it for my first ARC review!
I’m now really glad I picked this up at the YA Lit Fest because I don’t think I would have ever read it otherwise.
What are your thoughts?
Thanks for reading and have a brazzle dazzle day!