Review: The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby

Review: The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby

The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby is an emotional story about grief and rediscovering yourself. Following an ex-social media star who takes her cousin’s place hiking the perilous John Muir trail, this is a thought-provoking story with a complex main character. In addition to Mari’s inspiring journey to re-discover herself, I loved the book’s emphasis on friendship. This is a powerful read that is sure to tug at your heartstrings.

Review: The Other Side of Lost by Jessi KirbyTitle: The Other Side of Lost
Author: Jessi Kirby
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genres: Contemporary
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Rating: four-half-stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

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Review: The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby

After social media influencer Mari breaks down and admits to living a lie, she decides it’s time to get away and escape the backlash. In order to unplug, she decides to take her cousin’s place on the daunting John Muir hike–the hike they were supposed to do together before Bri passed away. Armed with Bri’s diary and meticulous plans, Mari takes on the hike by herself and discovers her true self along the way.

❀ Well-Written Character Arc

I loved Mari’s character arc, and she is so well written that I could feel her emotions. At the beginning of the book, Mari is obsessed with social media, but behind her online persona is insecurity. When the thing she has dedicated her life to comes crashing down, she is forced to re-evaluate and confront the parts of herself she has buried beneath the surface. Throughout the book, Mari faces many challenges, both physically and mentally, but I enjoyed how she pushes herself to persevere, despite being a novice hiker who is grieving at the same time.

❀ Focus on Friendship

One of my favourite parts about the book, besides the gorgeous descriptions of nature, is its focus on friendship. The dynamics between Mari and Bri are complicated, and Mari’s social media obsession ended up tarnishing her friendship with her cousin. After Bri’s death, the regret Mari feels along the hike pierced my heart, but I loved how she is able to connect with Bri again through Bri’s journals. This one also contains some fantastic side characters, and I enjoyed getting to know the other hikers Mari meets. The group Mari finds herself hiking with is so supportive, and it is through friendship and genuine connection that she is able to truly blossom.

❀ A Powerful Story

The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby is a powerful story about grief and self-discovery. I loved following the main character as she hikes the John Muir trail, and Mari is such a complex main character. This one also highlights friendship, and I fell in love with the hikers Mari meets on the way. I would definitely recommend this to those looking for a thought-provoking and moving read.

About Jessi Kirby

Jessi Kirby

Jessi Kirby is a former English teacher and librarian. She lives in Orange County, CA with her husband and two kids, where she writes stories and runs the beach every day. Well, almost every day.

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