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Lost and Found: A Novel Paperback – Bargain Price, July 3, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Luckily, this novel about a reality-TV show is a satire, if an often muted one. Addressing the comedy and tragedy of missed connections, bestseller Parkhurst (The Dogs of Babel) uses the forum of Lost and Found, an Amazing Race–type competition, for a mostly somber (but occasionally very funny) set of character studies. As two-person teams journey from Egypt to Japan to Scandinavia, the carefully constructed, TV-ready personae of the competitors slowly unravel. Employing a constantly shifting perspective, Parkhurst admirably juggles a large cast of characters, with a number of competitors emerging as standouts: squabbling mother and daughter Laura and Cassie, tormented by a secret neither of them wants to publicly acknowledge; Justin and Abby, an "ex-gay" married couple wrestling with unruly desire; and Juliet, a former child star desperately angling for a return to the limelight. Parkhurst treats the game show as an opportunity for the contestants to decide, as the producer asks of them, "What have you found?" The answer for readers: heart and wit to spare. (June 13)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–Heres a fast-paced novel featuring a reality TV show that is like The Amazing Race and Treasure Hunt combined. Contestants have personal secrets and have been chosen specifically because producers hope that they will spill their guts for ratings. The action focuses on four characters. Justin and Abby are a married couple, a lesbian and a gay man who have renounced their lifestyles and proudly carry the banner of their newfound faith while they both struggle to remain straight. Although described as young, these two seem much older than their years in their pursuit of a traditional marriage. Meanwhile, the mother-daughter team of Laura and Cassie deals with the fact that the girl gave birth without anyone even noticing that she was pregnant. When she is given the chance to choose a different teammate–and does–emotions and rivalry ratchet up exponentially. Teens may well relate to Cassie, who feels alienated from her mother and unable to communicate about the most basic parts of her personality (most notably, that she is attracted to women). Lauras reaction is that of love and guilt. Despite being rejected, she keeps trying to find a way to connect to her daughter. An over-the-top, dramatic ending leaves some loose ends, but there is satisfaction in the resolution for a couple of the characters. Older teens may find that this book presses just the right buttons.–Charlotte Bradshaw, San Mateo County Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; 1st edition (July 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316066397
  • ASIN: B001G60G0Q
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,123,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Terri Rowan on June 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
It's a worldwide treasure hunt, and there are seven teams in the game. Lugging everything from aviator caps to parrots to fake sushi, the players are after a million-dollar prize.

The teams are as dynamic as the game, each with their own secrets. There's the mother and daughter with the strained relationship, the brothers who share all the jokes, the former child stars, the former high school sweethearts, a Christian couple, the millionaire buddies, and the flight attendants.

In true reality show fashion, nothing is as it seems, and secrets have a way of exploding in their keepers' faces. The question each player must answer is whether the prize is worth the journey.

Each chapter is told first person by a different character. This technique is effective from the standpoint that the reader gets hints into the key players' lives. It's reminiscent of the reality show trend of privately interviewing the players during the game, only more intimate. While rounding out the complete picture, it also helps the reader keep track of the game's progress.

Lost and Found is a fast pace take on American culture and how signing up for a reality show can ruin or mend lives. In truth, it becomes a parable for "what you want isn't always what you need."

Parkhurst delivers a clever, sometimes funny, sometimes heart-wrenching tale sure to leave its mark. This read is most definitely worth your time.

Reviewed by Christina Wantz Fixemer

5/22/2006
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Brett Benner VINE VOICE on June 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First off, Carolyn Parkhurst should get an award for most ingenious idea for a novel. Capitalizing on the craze and glut of reality shows on the air and taking a cue from most notably, 'The Amazing Race' she has created a clever and ultimately heart warming novel about a group of contestants on a world hopping reality entry called, 'Lost and Found'. What evolves is a kid gloved satire that pokes at among other things, the pursuit of elusive fame, the ex-gay movement, and the opportunity to be a millionaire at whatever cost.The novel's strengths and weaknesses are on par with the genre she's depicting. Some characters are severely underdeveloped to give more "air time" to the central characters and story lines that shape the backbone of the book. Additionally, towards the end the events have a literary manipulation to them, much like the producers of the shows are thought of to do to craft a neat and satisfying ending. I would've been even happier to read a longer novel that spent more time with some of the other characters who were quickly eliminated with a few choice words.The idea could span literally hundreds of contestant ideas. (Someone should adapt this into a tv show of it's own! ) It's a rather enjoyable and unique book, and for people who especially enjoy 'The Amazing Race' there is plenty here to identify with.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By B. Merritt VINE VOICE on July 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The basis for a book retelling the events surrounding a TV reality show could seem like overkill with all of the prime-time ones already airing (and those still scheduled ...like the loathsome "I Want To Be A Superhero" on the SciFi Channel). And we all know the type of people that get on these shows. They're the messed up folks, the ones who need large dosages of prescription medication or they lose it. That's what producers of reality TV drool over. And those behind the fictitious LOST AND FOUND series are no different. So characters and how the producers run the show come off as no surprise to the reader of Carolyn Parkhurst's newest literary offering.

But where Mrs. Parkhurst succeeds is by getting us behind the eyeballs of everyone involved, most notably the contestants themselves. This is something we as TV viewers NEVER see. And why not? Because it would take us away from our fantasy-filled nights, those that allow us to make up our own internal stories about the people we're watching ("I don't like him. He creeps me out." or "She's such a nice lady. Why does she stay married to that idiot?") Here, in LOST AND FOUND, we get intimate with several prime characters and learn what makes them tick.

LOST AND FOUND, simply put, is a great race across the globe, finding clues and picking up oddities to carry from country to country. The last team to arrive and solve various puzzles are ousted from the contest and sent packing, losing out on the cash prize.

We're first introduced to the mother-daughter team of Laura and Cassie. Abrasive Cassie struggles with a hidden teen pregnancy and eventual adoption while battling her own sexual identity.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Susan Tunis TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I don't watch reality television--ever. Oddly enough, this is the third novel I've read featuring reality television, and Lost and Found is unquestionably the best of the three. As noted above, it isn't the most original concept. What makes the novel such a pleasure to read is Parkhurst's excellent execution.

The novel opens in the middle of the eponymous reality show, Lost and Found. It's very much like the Amazing Race with a few twists here and there. Teams of two travel the world decifering clues on a globe-trotting scavenger hunt. The twosomes include brothers, reunited high-school sweethearts, formerly gay born-again Christians, grown-up child stars looking for a comeback, etc. As the game moves from destination to destination, the point of view switches from player to player and even to the host occasionally.

And this is where Parkhurst shines. These characters could easily have been cardboard cutouts. Instead, she imbues a real depth and richness into each of the players. Getting inside the heads of each one just made the unfolding dramas so interesting.

Plus, it was a fun, fast-paced story. All in all, Parkhurst's superior writing makes this a superior and very entertaining summer read. I kept wondering how she would end the novel. When the end finally came, I found myself completely satisfied with the story told. What more could you ask?
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