Staff Pick: One Was Lost by Natalie Richards

One Was Lost by Natalie Richards

FPLD Staff Rating:  4/5 rainbow


Be prepared to be scared. Natalie Richards pens a stunning, thought-provoking narrative inspired by one of everyone’s favorite low-budget horror films, The Blair Witch Project. One Was Lost offers relatable characters, realistic problems, and a glimpse into the human soul—quite a feat for a YA horror novel! Richards sets the stage with a small group of teens as they reluctantly trek through the woods on a senior class trip, accompanied by two of their teachers. After being separated from the rest of their group, four of the teens wake up drugged with words written on their arms and their supplies and electronics destroyed. With one teacher nearly comatose, the rest of their party presumed dead, and their navigation cut off, the teens become the prey of whomever is targeting them. As the threats become increasingly more personal, secrets are aired and fingers are pointed. There’s someone in the woods who’s after them. Can anyone be trusted? Is the threat even closer than they imagined?

I don’t usually pick up books that could be classified as thrillers or suspense, but can you blame a girl for wanting to support a local publisher (Sourcebooks in Naperville)? I took a chance on this one and I was pleasantly surprised. Even when the action let up, the threat of more was always lingering just under the surface. All of the (perfectly three-dimensional) main characters underwent such significant growth that I’ve started to wonder how Richards made it all seem so effortless. She even managed a love story, complete with misunderstandings, strife, and sacrifice. Her writing was captivating and succinct. Not a single word was superfluous and the flow was flawless. I was so impressed by this book, especially because many other YA books fall short of being remarkable in character development, plot, and writing simultaneously. This book is a testament to the fact that a YA novel can be more than just puppy love and clichéd coming-of-age blunders. This is a captivating thriller that brings out the true nature of the characters involved, breeding intimacy and personal growth. Just don’t read it in the dark or at night…. (ages 14+)

Jessica, West End