Book Title: Fragments Of The Lost
Author: Megan Miranda
REVIEWED BY: CHELSEA
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Suspense, Contemporary
Pub Date: 11/14/17
Jessa Whitworth knew she didn’t belong in her ex-boyfriend Caleb’s room. But she couldn’t deny that she was everywhere–in his photos, his neatly folded T-shirts, even the butterfly necklace in his jeans pocket . . . the one she gave him for safe keeping on that day.
His mother asked her to pack up his things–even though she blames Jessa for his accident. How could she say no? And maybe, just maybe, it will help her work through the guilt she feels about their final moments together.
But as Jessa begins to box up the pieces of Caleb’s life, they trigger memories that make Jessa realize their past relationship may not be exactly as she remembered. And she starts to question whether she really knew Caleb at all.
Each fragment of his life reveals a new clue that propels Jessa to search for the truth about Caleb’s accident. What really happened on the storm-swept bridge?
“The room is full of you, Jessa,”she explained, by which she means the pictures… I can’t even look directly at the photos, but his mother is right. I’m everywhere.
Megan Miranda is one of those super talented authors who can manipulate words to do her bidding, whether that is as part of an adult thriller or a YA mystery. I’m always blown away by her ability to draw me in and blow my mind, but she’s really outdone herself this time. While the story isn’t told in reverse chronological order as was done in All the Missing Girls, this one had the same taste as it’s adult fiction predecessor. Maybe it was the compulsive, addicting nature of the plot, or possibly it was the damaged characters who’s flaws are revealed slowly over time, but either way I couldn’t get enough of this story.
Now I want to ask him “What did you know, Caleb?” That a year later, you’d be gone and I’d be peeling all evidence of you and me off the wall? That your mother would hate me, and Max wouldn’t look me in the eye, and your baby sister wouldn’t say a word to me, no matter how many times I said hello?
I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first began reading this one. I thought to myself Is this supposed to be a YA contemporary? The first 40 pages are a slow, heavy narrative of Jessa working through her grief, and I began to worry that the entire book was going to be us walking alongside every random memory this girl had of her ex-boyfriend in the most depressing possible way, but I should have known better. Once the stage is set and we have everything in place, the book took off at breakneck speed and I read the entire 329 pages that were left in one sitting. We begin to find pieces of Caleb in each memory, which spurs on our protagonist in working with a friend to find clues in an attempt to figure out just what really happened to Caleb on the afternoon he was caught in the flood.
You have to be willing to be wrong,… to be the one out on the limb, who falls, who makes a scene. To lean forward and let someone else decide whether to drop you or not. To jump when you can’t see under the surface, when you don’t know what might be hidden underneath.
The true beauty of this story is that it isn’t completely wrapped up in what happened to Caleb. Yes, it’s the central plot focus and yes, we do receive full closure on all events, but the journey along the way with our other characters is just as fulfilling as solving the mystery. I truly loved how, while this clearly is YA fiction, Fragments of the Lost defied age barriers in being appealing to all walks of life. There’s no cheesy banter here, no author attempting to insert “cool, hip lingo” that is cringeworthy for teens to read; this is simply a story featuring young adults written in excellent form. Fragments of the Lost is the type of story that upon finishing I immediately wanted to chat about it with a friend; some of the twists really blew my mind and I felt the intricate, connecting details were very well done. Highly recommended to mystery lovers of all ages; if you enjoy a “whodunnit” of sorts you’ll really have a ball donning your detective cap for this caper.
*I received a review copy from the publisher. Many thanks Random House Children’s Dept!