by Anne Ursu
When you’re an identical twin, your story always starts with someone else: For Iris, that means her story starts with Lark. Iris has always been the grounded, capable, and rational one; Lark is inventive, dreamy, and brilliant–and from their first moments in the world together, they’ve never left each other’s side. Everyone around them realized early on what the two sister already knew: they had better outcomes when they were together.
When fifth grade arrives, however, it is decided that Iris and Lark should be split into different classrooms, and something breaks in them both. Iris is no longer so confident; Lark retreats into herself as she deals with challenges at school. And at the same time, something strange is happening in the city around them, things both great and small going missing without a trace. As Iris begins to understand that anything can be lost in the blink of an eye, she decides that it’s up to her to find a way to keep her sister safe.
The Lost Girl is an interesting blend of fantasy and contemporary. At first, it really felt like a contemporary novel with a few random fantasy pieces, but as the story progressed, it became clear that it is a retelling of sorts of Hansel and Gretel.
Because it is a retelling of Hansel and Gretel, it is a little darker of a story, especially as it nears the climax.
One part of the story that I just didn’t understand was how Camp Awesome, the program Iris does at the library, was necessary to the plot. While it does come into play a little bit with the plot, I think that it could have been done in a different way that maybe would have seemed more connected to the plot.
Cautions: mild violence; darkness