A Story Of Grief & Finding Oneself: The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


by Jessi Kirby
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Adult
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: August 7th 2018
Source: ARC received for review
Star Quotient: ★★★★
Kiss Factor: ✷✷✷✷
Amazon - The Book Depository

Well friends, I think this book just about broke me. Jessi Kirby never fails to deliver on emotive stories about grief, growing up and love. The Other Side of Lost was another wonderful and heartwrenching story from her that absolutely moved me.

At the center of The Other Side of Lost is Mari, an Instagram-famous young woman who seems to have a perfect life. In reality, however, Mari's social media presence is well-curated and a complete facade. Underneath it all, she is deeply grieving the death of her cousin, Bri, especially with the way they left things off. On their shared birthday, in a moment of absolute sorrow, she uploads a video revealing to the Internet just how broken she is, only to have the video go viral and inciting hate comments. The same day, she receives a package from her aunt with Bri's boots and travel diary with her plans to hike the John Muir trail that she died training for. On a whim, Mari decides to complete Bri's hike.

My heart broke for Mari. Kirby made her every emotion pop off the pages. Her grief, her guilt, and her strength truly came to life in The Other Side of Lost. She was a young woman who had really lost herself because of her social media popularity and in this book, we begin to see her change into someone truly inspirational. As she faced obstacle after obstacle on the hike, Mari slowly matured and learned to love and forgive herself again. It was not easy for her, but I was proud of her and everything that she achieved. I will admit that you have to set reality aside for a little bit with The Other Side of Lost - it seems very unlikely that Mari could just complete the hike with very little hiking experience or training given that Bri died training hard for it - but that did not take away from my enjoyment of the book. I thought that despite this loophole, the lessons in the book will touch every reader.

I loved how much of Bri and her relationship with Mari we got to experience in The Other Side of Lost. She was an outgoing, adventurous and lovely young woman who made a mark on every person she encountered. I loved how Jessi Kirby showed the impact that Bri had on Mari and Bri's personality through her care packages to herself along the trail and the diary entries. Along the trail, Mari also befriends a wonderful group of teens who become important pillars to her. I love how they balanced out the sadness of the book with their humor. She also finds a sweet love interest in the form of Josh. The romance was not a huge part of the book, but what was there was enough to have me smiling like a dork. I also was absolutely fascinated by the John Muir trail along the Sierra Nevada - Jessi Kirby makes you feel like you were right along with Mari on this journey.

The Other Side of Lost made me feel all the emotions and I'm so happy I decided to read the book. I think this is one of those stories that will appeal to YA and adult readers alike.

What are some books you thought tackled grief really well?
Let me know in the comments below!

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