Olive is lost. Not physically, mind you, but in just about every other way. Her mother is in jail, her brother in the military, and her dad in places unknown. When she shows up at her aunts house, she feels as if she has been dumped off on the only person left who hopefully cares about her. Olive struggles to find her way, and finds help in the unlikely friendship of the animals she meets and local boy, David, who is wading through his own troubles.
The two main characters of this book are Olive and David. Both are struggling to maneuver their lives, but both face very different problems. Olive can hardly find a family member who seems interested in her life. David struggles to keep his overbearing parents from planning out his entire life regardless of what he wants. The juxtaposition of these two characters provided a nice contrast.
The relationships that develop with the animals in this book, and the importance they play in the story is an interesting aspect. A runaway yellow lab brings David and Olive together. Their search for his owner gives them a common cause, and a reason to see each other. Olive also finds more purpose in her life when she begins helping care for the stray animals at her aunt's house and the animal shelter. The friendship Olive and David develop is very sweet.The addition of the animals was a lovely reminder of an animal's ability to lift spirits and provide comfort.
My main issue with the characters was that I didn't feel as though I was able to get inside their heads very much. There was more "telling" the reader what they thought and felt than "showing." Olive was a likable character who young readers will be able to relate to. I had a harder time with David because he whined frequently and despite the struggles he had, his life was not so terrible. He came off as rather spoiled at times. The characters are both fourteen, which would typically put this in the YA category, but their maturity level and the "all tell" style of the writing made it read more like a middle grade novel.
The pacing of the first half of the book was also a bit of an issue for me. I felt the opening chapters didn't initially grab me and it took a while before I felt the main conflict of the story really developed and the interest level increased. The last half of the book was much faster paced and kept me interested. The editing in this book could have been better. It was a little distracting for me, but not a deal breaker.
Would I recommend this book? This is one I wouldn't be able to recommend to everyone. It will have a select audience that the characters will appeal to.
Who would I recommend this book to? Mainly to tweens, or the 9-12 age group, will be able to identify with these characters more than older teens. I think adults will struggle with the pacing and depth of character development.
Six Degrees of Lost is available now from Amazon, B&N, and Musa Publishing.