cover image HOW TO BE LOST


Amanda Eyre Ward, . . MacAdam/Cage, $24 (300pp) ISBN 978-1-931561-72-3

Ward (Sleep Toward Heaven ) tracks a young woman's search for her missing sister—and herself—with economy and compassion in this believable and moving tale of hope's ability to best the most unforgiving of sorrows. As a teenager, Caroline enlists her younger sisters to run away to New Orleans from the suburbs of New York, far from their angry, alcoholic father and sad, tipsy mother. Striking in its innocence and urgency (the girls decide to steal the family's Oldsmobile; they buy sunscreen and trail mix), the attempt derails when Caroline's youngest sister, Ellie, disappears from school on the day the girls had planned to run away. The aftershocks of Ellie's disappearance are magnified by family secrets, which Ward deftly reveals in seemingly unrelated stories (not narrated by Caroline). Now a hard-drinking New Orleans cocktail waitress a long way from creating a family of her own, Caroline determines to bring together her mother and her sisters. Readers, knowing more than their narrator, will feel the tension rise as Caroline travels cross-country to find Ellie, dead or alive, once and for all. An emotional journey as much as a physical one, the quest helps Caroline grow up, and gives Ward a perfect vehicle to explore how belief can be as important as truth. Agent, Michelle Tessler at Carlisle & Company . (Oct.)