cover image The Geography of Lost Things

The Geography of Lost Things

Jessica Brody. Simon Pulse, $18.99 (464p) ISBN 978-1-4814-9921-7

After 18-year-old Ali’s absentee father dies, she and her mother learn that they are about to lose their house in Russellville, Calif., to foreclosure. Ali will do anything to keep their home, even after her mom has given up, so she decides to sell the 1968 Firebird convertible she’s just inherited from her dad to raise money. Because Ali can’t drive a stick shift, she leans on her ex-boyfriend, Nico, to drive her the five hours to Crescent City, to the dealer who will buy the car. Along the way, Ali and Nico place online ads seeking people who are willing to “trade up” one possession for something more valuable, and Ali has alternating flashbacks of her complicated father and her relationship with Nico. Brody (The Chaos of Standing Still) girds this novel with a lot of apparatus—lists begin each chapter, pop quiz questions pepper Ali’s thoughts, and song lyrics divide the sections. Readers may feel that they’ve been on similar YA road trips before, but things pick up in the second half, when the question zeroes in on whether Nico and Ali will earn enough money to keep Ali’s house. The scavenger hunt structure adds a spin to a familiar story about a teen moving through loss and into forgiveness. Ages 12–up. [em]Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Oct.) [/em]