The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Genres: Young Adult
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Girl Online meets Wild in this emotionally charged story of girl who takes to the wilderness to rediscover herself and escape the superficial persona she created on social media.
Mari Turner’s life is perfect. That is, at least to her thousands of followers who have helped her become an internet starlet. But when she breaks down and posts a video confessing she’s been living a lie—that she isn’t the happy, in-love, inspirational online personality she’s been trying so hard to portray—it goes viral and she receives major backlash. To get away from it all, she makes an impulsive decision: to hike the entire John Muir trail. Mari and her late cousin, Bri, were supposed to do it together, to celebrate their shared eighteenth birthday. But that was before Mari got so wrapped up in her online world that she shut anyone out who questioned its worth—like Bri.
With Bri’s boots and trail diary, a heart full of regret, and a group of strangers that she meets along the way, Mari tries to navigate the difficult terrain of the hike. But the true challenge lies within, as she searches for the way back to the girl she fears may be too lost to find: herself.
I got this book for review ages ago and Jessi Kirby is good enough that I got the book for the sole reason that she wrote it. I didn’t have to read the blurb or read other reviews on the book, I just wanted to read it because Jessi Kirby has not let me down yet and her streak is still alive because this book was good.
The Other Side of Lost follows our protagonist, Mari Turner, as she goes from being a popular internet influencer to finding out and learning all about who she wants to be, in an effort to honor the death of her cousin Bri.
When we first meet Mari, her life was plastic and completely fake. She knows all of the tricks to taking the perfect picture to showcase a life that is picture perfect, even if it’s completely false. She’s even got a fake boyfriend who is in love when the camera is on but once it’s off, so is he. Mari is trying to keep up with the demands of being perfect, even if it’s only for her fans and when she turns 18, it hits her really hard because it’s the first birthday that she will be celebrating without her cousin Bri in the world.
Mari and Bri were the best of friends. They were born on the same day and they grew up together. They did everything together but as they got older, they started growing apart, mostly on Mari’s part because she was much more interested in building her audience and Bri was all about the adventure. She lived her life to the fullest and was still planning on the big adventure her and Mari were supposed to do together when they turned 18. When an accident kills Bri before she could go on their epic hike, leaving Mari behind to deal with loads of regret and a huge heaping of guilt that she didn’t make things right before Bri died.
Mari’s journey starts when she gives up her IG account, her sponsors and all of the perks that come from being an internet personality for Bri’s hiking pack and goes on their epic hike on her own. She learns a great deal about herself, becomes reacquainted with Bri through her travel journal and really comes into her own while completing the biggest hike she ever did.
This book made me laugh, made me cry, and it put me back together again and though Mari frustrated me continuously throughout the book, I still really enjoyed the adventure we were able to go on with Mari. Jessi Kirby does a fantastic job of making us (the readers) a part of Mari’s journey and not simply a bystander. I was right in the thick of things with Mari and I felt my feet hurt when hers did and I was giddy right along with her as she was getting to know Josh and I felt her exhaustion at the end of each day. So even though I thought it was pretty unbelievable that with absolutely NO training, she finished hiking the John Muir trail, I still really enjoyed this book. If you’re looking for a satisfying personal journey of a story, this will definitely fit the bill. Kudos to Jessi Kirby on another fabulously written book.
Grade: 4.25 out of 5