I’ve been on a bit of a YA (Young Adult) kick lately. Being a little overwhelmed by the grief and worry that seems to be ever present in our society, I enjoy being able to get lost in some books that focus on youth trying to find their way through the world. One of the books I’ve recently read, Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid was especially touching in contrast to the current climate. Sometimes it’s just nice to read a story about someone who truly cares about their fellow human beings.
Let’s Get Lost is told from the perspective of four teenagers from across the United States. The thing that links the stories together is a girl named Leila that seems to enter each character’s life at precisely the moment they most need someone. In a world that often rebukes the “cliche,” in many ways this book is full of them. There’s a boy who’s so infatuated with some girl he just met that he seems to forget that anything else exists in the world. The classic story of a rebellious teen who thinks that life on the road is more exciting than the comforts of a stable household. There’s the tried and true boy-makes-grand-romantic-gestures-and-gets-the-girl-after-much-ado. And finally a girl who runs away with wedding rings belonging to someone else.
Many would say that this is a great novel in spite of the cliches it holds. However, I argue that it is a great novel BECAUSE of the cliches. The characters Alsaid creates are people who are familiar. (I can think of about a dozen people who I went to college with stepping into Elliot’s shoes.) By creating familiarity within the novel, I think Alsaid allows the reader to really understand what happens when Leila bursts on the scene. While each of these mini-stories has a catch, a climax, and a resolution – Leila the motivator (the cheerleader, the supporter, the giver of unconditional love) of the story is the true focus.
In each of her interactions she is fully present and supportive. She puts the needs of those she is interacting with above her own. It’s not much that she is the voice of reason in these four stories, but rather that she provides a safe space for each of the characters to uncover something they want or truly need. Alsaid gives us a small glimpse of the true power behind being kind. Let’s Get Lost proves all it takes is a little time and effort to help someone finish writing a chapter in their story. In a world filled with such hurt and fear, I can’t think of a better message for young adults to be receiving. (And perhaps, a message some older adults should take note of…)
Until Next Time World…