- Age Range: 12 - 18 years
- Grade Level: 7 - 9
- Lexile Measure: 800 (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (September 18, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780374306069
- ISBN-13: 978-0374306069
- ASIN: 0374306060
- Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.3 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 23 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Unclaimed Baggage Hardcover – September 18, 2018
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*A New York Times Staff Pick*
*A Bustle.com Best YA Book of September 2018*
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*A Cosmo Best New Book of 2018*
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"Jen Doll's big-hearted YA debut . . . Doll breezily alternates among the voices of her likable characters as they move toward new discoveries, new romance and unexpected adventure." ―The New York Times Book Review
"A magnificent gem of a story . . . a dense, rich, and powerfully beautiful story. A quintessential Southern Novel for Teens, bordering on Gothic, but still managing to leave the reader with a sense of wonder and optimism." ―NPR
"In her YA debut, Doll skillfully integrates three alternating voices―especially Doris, with her gift for finding things―in a story threaded through with relationships and identities lost and found. Over the course of the summer, junk and treasures, both sentimental and real, pass through the shop; family history is reclaimed; and things, stories, and people find new places to belong." ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Doll deftly navigates difficult topics like alcoholism, sexual assault, and racism with a compassion for her characters and her audience, making for a deeply engaging read that beautifully balances life's more profound moments with ones of levity and frivolity." ―Nylon
"An infectious story about friendship, politics, and falling in (and out) of love." ―Entertainment Weekly
"And when it comes to reaching young readers, there’s much to celebrate about Doll’s willingness to not only get political, but really present how politics affects us all." ―EW.com
"Jen Doll's debut YA novel Unclaimed Baggage is told in each of their three perspectives as they literally unpack lost baggage while unpacking their respective emotional baggage, and it's a testament to the power of friendship." ―Bustle
"If your Netflix queue runneth over with YA rom-coms, this is the book for you. This story of three unlikely friends who meet while working a summer job selling people’s lost luggage is your next binge-read." ―Cosmopolitan
"Perfectly heartwarming and quirky." ―HelloGiggles
“Plenty of emotional baggage is unpacked in alternating narrative style in this deceptively weighty novel, particularly between Doris and Grant, who have a history together that rings true to the way peer dynamics often play out in small, insular communities . . . Teens who favor realistic fiction will find much to like here.” ―Kirkus Reviews
"Nestled into this breezy book about friendship and love sits conversations on racism, religion, sexual assault, alcoholism, and life choices. The friendship among Nell, Doris, and Grant creates a safe place where the three of them can come to terms with issues and not be judged. The quirky store where they work sets the tone for the novel. VERDICT A great choice for fans of Morgan Matson’s Since You’ve Been Gone." ―School Library Journal
"This was a great book, and I highly recommend it for anyone of any age to read." ―The Decatur Daily
"Unclaimed Baggage, delivers a page-turning story of three unlikely friends navigating an abundance of current social issues confronting present-day teenagers. It's Doll's unflinching gaze at such complex and sometimes controversial themes that should appeal to any young person who has ever been underestimated for not being savvy enough to take on the challenges of the world around them." ―The Chronogram
“A testament to the restorative power of friendship, with an intriguing premise and setting that will inspire readers to come to terms with their own ‘unclaimed baggage’.” ―Leila Sales, author of This Song Will Save Your Life
“Set against the lively landscape of modern day Alabama, three unlikely friends are thrown together for an unusual summer that is part adventure, part romance, part backyard treasure hunt. Sharply conceived and deeply felt, Jen Doll spins a story that details the intricate and surprising relationships of maverick Doris, free-spirited Nell, and troubled golden-boy Grant who wear their hearts―and will steal yours―on every page of this warm, funny, and wryly-observed novel.” ―Adele Griffin, author of the National Book Award Finalists Sons of Liberty and Where I Want to Be
“The small-town Alabama teens I met in Jen Doll’s stellar book have populated my mind and heart. This story will stay with you.” ―Melissa Walker, author of Unbreak My Heart and Small Town Sinners
"UNCLAIMED BAGGAGE is equal parts tender, funny, and affirming. This tale of three small town teens and the quirky workplace that draws them together reminds readers that the universe has a way of bringing us the people we need most in our lives. I absolutely adored this book." ―Jennifer Mathieu, author of Moxie
"Jen Doll’s writing is as full of surprise and treasure as the titular Unclaimed Baggage. I fell hard for Doris, Nell, and Grant, and their story that celebrates the discovery of true friendship." ―Ava Dellaira, author of Love Letters to the Dead and In Search of Us
"Jen Doll's luminous, deeply felt debut novel Unclaimed Baggage will claim your heart as immediately as it claimed mine. Anyone who has felt out of step in her hometown, anyone who has felt like she was living in a constant state of culture shock despite never having left home, anyone carrying heavy bags, be they literal or emotional, will spark to this story of friendship, selfhood, and discovery of abandoned treasures." - Katherine Howe, New York Times bestselling author of Conversion
About the Author
Jen Doll is the author of the debut young adult novel, Unclaimed Baggage and the memoir Save the Date: The Occasional Mortifications of a Serial Wedding Guest. She's written for The Atlantic, Elle, Esquire, Glamour, GQ, New York Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, Vice, The Village Voice, The Week, and many other publications. She grew up in Alabama and lives in Brooklyn.
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I am going to start by saying, that I love the concept behind this book. Three teens, who are trying to find how they fit in this world are brought together, and a wonderful and unlikely friendship forms. I was totally onboard with the underlying concept of this book.
I wanted to run for president of the Doris fan club from chapter 1. I loved her voice and her quest to be a connector. It was very beautiful and altruistic, and I thought it was wonderful, that she wouldn't let setbacks keep her from being true to herself and doing the right thing.
I was a fan of the friendship, which developed quickly between Nell and Doris. Being the lone liberal in a conservative town cannot be easy, and it was great that the universe brought a "yankee" into Doris' world.
Shortly thereafter, Grant joined the group. Doris had a past with Grant, and it was not a good one. However, because Doris' goal was to be a "connector", she showed him grace and welcomed Grant into her small circle. Thank goodness she did, because Grant's life was in turmoil. I really appreciated the way Doll handled Grant's addiction. We saw how it affected him and those around him, and I liked that she did not shy away from the ugliness of it.
Though Doris was struggling with past pain and losses, it was Grant's situation, which really broke my heart. His confusion, denial, and guilt made me want to give him a hug. I was so proud of any progress he made, and utterly downtrodden when he failed, but I never stopped rooting for him.
The store was such a source of fascination for me. I looked forward to getting in new shipments, and sorting through people's lost things. The process was fun, and there was even a little mystery suitcase. This suitcase had a few highlights, which I thought were fairly brilliant in the way they tied into our characters' struggles. But what really, really delighted me, was the backstory of the bag, and it's connection to Doris. I love when authors do that sort of thing.
Yes, I liked many, many things about this book, but I did feel like the author was a bit heavy handed at times. I understood that Doris was the lonely liberal, and I did appreciate that Doll tried to point out that not all southerns or christians are bad, but she turned what was initially a really light hearted and amusing story into something much more dramatic. There was also one liberal darling that seemed forced into the story, when it was initially introduced, whereas many of the others worked more organically with the story.
I will commend Doll on deftly combining the three POVs, and delivering an entertaining story, which had a lot of depth and was packed with some fantastic characters.