The Other Side of Lost, by Jessi Kirby
Goodreads ¦ Amazon¦ Barnes & Noble
Release Date: August 7, 2018
Length: 306 pages
Times Read: Once
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.
What I Liked: You guys, my review copy of this got stuck in the mail and didn’t arrive until a couple days before it came out, and I canceled all life to read it in one sitting because it was so so so so good.
♥ Mari’s character growth was stunning. From faking her way through an Insta-perfect life to hiking the JMT, we got to first watch a day in her Instagram life. It was super interesting to see all of the photos she had to take, all the edits that had to be made, all the work that went into finding just the right quotes and captions and hashtags, and how it took up her entire day. Her life was made up of comments and likes and content.
When Mari comes to the realization one night that this isn’t the life she wants to be living, the video she posts ensures that she can’t come back from it. And so she sets off to follow through on the birthday plan to hike the JMT that she had made with her cousin Bri, before Bri died a few months ago. Mari is so unsure of herself, so regretful, so sad, so sure that she’s unworthy of any praise for her accomplishments on the trail. But she grows stronger every day, and when she meets a group of strangers that become her hiking family, it’s awesome to see how different Mari becomes.
♥ Bri. Even though she passed away before the book opens, she’s a full, clear character. Her light shines through every chapter, every journal entry, every memory that we hear from Mari or anyone who met her out on the trail.
♥ Josh & Vanessa. The whole hiking family is awesome, but we really get to know these two well. From Vanessa, there’s no girl hate, no competition, no jealousy, just support and love and a beautiful friendship. And Josh, Josh, Josh…what a great guy. There’s a hint of a romance, but this book isn’t about that, so it’s small and doesn’t overtake the plot. But Josh is there, both as a friend and more, and he’s lovely. “I already knew about all of that.” *Sigh*.
♥ The trail/hiking descriptions. As you all know, in general I’m what you might call an indoor girl, but I truly adore reading about hiking, camping, outdoorsing. This book was excellent couch adventuring, all without the pugs and I ever having to leave the air conditioning and get dirty.
The husband, founder of Mack the Adventure Pug and frequently featured on other camping/hiking/outdoors-y Instagram accounts, is personally offended by my favorite shirt.
What I Didn’t: So very little. Mostly I disliked that my copy got stuck in the mail because I did an ARC trade with a girl who lived in Alaska and it took like a month to get to me.
⊗ Like I said, it wasn’t about the romance, but I could have done with a little more romance.
⊗ The ending was a bit rushed. The last few days were sort of crammed together and I would have liked to see more at the end when the gang was all together.
Troop Beverly Hills, 13/10–agree or disagree
Favorite Quotes: “We’re all in this thing together, and everybody needs a break sometimes.”