Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

Blog Tour: Lost by Nadia Simonenko {Review+Giveaway}

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Welcome to my stop on the Lost tour hosted by Itching For Books!
For the full tour schedule please click here.
Lost (Lost & Found #1)
   by: Nadia Simonenko

Publication Date: March 25, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Source: received a copy from Shane @IFB and the author in exchange for a fair and honest review
Page Count: 235 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 4/5 stars

Sometimes you need someone else to help you find your way.

Maria's life was torn apart when she was fifteen, and for seven years she's kept her terrible secret hidden from the world. Now, in her final semester of college, she still struggles against paralyzing fear just trying to speak up in class, and the terror and helplessness linger on in her nightmares.

Across campus, Owen sees his scars in the mirror every morning while he gets ready for class. They remind him of the broken home he left behind, the father he hates and fears, and the little sister he couldn't protect. Now, in his final semester of college, he's scared that he may have to return to the hell he called home after staying away for almost five years.

When Owen becomes a teaching assistant for one of Maria's classes, they find themselves irresistibly drawn to each other. As the two learn each other's secrets and grow closer, they realize that although they may be lost, they're not alone anymore.

This new adult contemporary romance is recommended for ages 17+ due to heavy subject matter.
                                              -goodreads.com description

My Review:

Nadia Simonenko brings us a very emotional, but beautiful read with the first book in the Lost and Found series. Told in dual POV, we are able to see the depth of just how broken and emotionally scarred these two main characters really are. From the very first page, we are hit with a cold reality that no child should ever in their life have to face and yet so many do on a daily basis. We meet Owen first, who has grown up with a very abusive, alcoholic father, a mother who refuses to step in, and an innocent younger sister that he would move heaven and earth for. However, after one fateful moment, one moment he considers himself a coward, Owen will live his life haunted by what ifs and what could have beens.

Maria, on the other hand, has grown up with a stable family, but after an incident when she was fifteen, her life has never been the same. Her relationship with her family has also become strained, due to her being unable to talk to them about what happened. That incident stole so much of her life from her and she now lives as a shell of a girl, too afraid to be in crowded areas, and go out like a normal college girl. She still lets that incident control her and is obsessive about recording every nightmare, every flashback.

"This book is where I write all the things I don't want to remember. I started doing it thinking that maybe my brain would let me forget them, knowing that they were all sitting safely in this horrible book in case I ever wanted to bring them back to life. It hasn't worked yet, but I'm still holding out hope." (pg. 42)

Because of what has happened to Owen and Maria, I personally don't believe they have reached the emotional maturity level that they should be at for their ages. Both have a childlike innocence that you really see when they later begin to have more interaction with one another. The smallest of gestures puts a smile on their faces and makes them so incredibly happy. Maria especially takes baby steps when it comes to Owen. She agrees to go out with him for sushi and comes home gushing to her best friend about how amazing it was that she was able to carry on a conversation with him and not have a panic attack. Seeing her take that small step out of her shell is so heart warming you can't help but feel so proud of her.

The two have a lot of obstacles to face throughout this book. Their pasts are a looming shadow over them and together they must learn how to not let it affect their present and place their trust in one another.

As broken as Maria is and as weak as she seems- she is actually a very strong character. She is protective of Owen and will not allow anyone to hurt him. She takes care of him when he can't take care of himself and offers reassurance, even when she doesn't feel it for herself. She does have moments where she relapses, yet Owen is there for her and protective of her also. He ends up sharing his past with Maria much sooner than she does with him, yet he never pressures her and when she does have a relapse, he is there to comfort her and bring her back from the edge of darkness.

Watching these two find strength and hope in one another is so heartbreakingly beautiful. It really shows you that two people, beaten down by my life and circumstance can still find happiness and move forward and live their lives.

Maria's best friend, Tina, is awesome. Tina is aware of what happened to Maria and is there to pull her back from the darkness and is just a great friend and support system for her. She wants to help Maria move forward and take chances, but yet she knows her limits and is respectful not to overly push her. I also liked Craig, Owen's roommate. He and Tina dated while they were freshmen, so they already knew each other and were really the catalysts for Maria and Owen spending time together. It's always good to have friends who know what direction to push you in and are able to see beyond what you do.

Overall, although this is a very emotional read, it all comes down to not letting the past dictate your present and your future and that no matter how bleak the circumstances, you should never give up hope. You never know when your saving grace will be there to pick you back up.

About the Author:

Nadia Simonenko is a scientist and author currently living in Indianapolis with her husband, two cats and a dog. When she isn’t writing, she develops new oncolytic compounds and dreams about someday getting to take a vacation.

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