Let's Get Lost

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Sarra Manning
Hodder Children's Books
Feb 2006
"The way I see it, school is like on of those documentaries about big cats on the Discover Channel. It's maul or be mauled. It's not fair. It's not right. It just is what it is. I spent two years of middle school having my lunch money stolen and my clothes, hair and teen, tiny, almost unnoticeable lisp mocked by a bunch of girls who were bigger and uglier than me. So when I got to senior school, it was beyond time to reinvent myself."

In Isabel Sarra Manning has created what surely must be one of the most caustic and insular characters in teenage literature. Her torrent of acerbic and intimidating remarks towards the beginning of the novel make it difficult to identify or empathise with her. What becomes apparent is that Isabel is not only highly intelligent, but that she is also sensitive, however, much her endeavours might attempt to shroud that. It is these facts that pull her apart from partners in crime, Nancy, Ella and Dot.

A case of mistaken identity forms the basis for a relationship between Isabel and Atticus � Smith to his friends! It is through being close with Smith, that Isabel finds herself able to confide more honestly elements of her feelings and eventually of her past, but this rests on the premise of a single lie � that Isabel is 18. Inevitably, in true soap-opera-style Smith learns of this lie (courtesy of Isabel�s ever �amiable� friends) the relationship unsurprisingly deteriorates with Smith unsure of which parts of Isabel�s character he can believe or find truth in

The plot of this novel does � at points � make one feel that one has fallen asleep in front of the television and awoken in front of an averagely scripted episode of Hollyoaks, but then this is the audience the novel is aimed towards. Where �Let�s get lost� excels is in the plausibility of her teenage protagonists, their fears, anxieties, loves and laughter are detailed with extraordinary perception, as too are the politics of the school-yard. Parts of the novel are quite �adult�, but given the content of teenage magazines again this is in context with the novel�s audience. Sarra Manning has crafted that rare thing, a novel that is insightful and observant, whilst remaining a truly compelling read. Bravo!

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This page contains a single entry by Jacob published on January 31, 2006 8:43 AM.

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