The Lost Girl is the kind of book you’d want to write but thought you wouldn’t do well enough. Luckily, we have Anne Ursu who skilfully spins us a thoughtful, emotion-provoking yet engaging tale. The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu is a weirdly beautiful Magical Realism novel about Iris and Lark Maguire, twins who are identical but not alike, with completely different personalities, sort of like relatable alter egos. Lark is the dreamy, imaginable, shy character and Iris, the solid, sensible one. Both of them have been inseparable and thought they would always be, until the day they walk home to find themselves in different classrooms. At first, it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but as you delve deeper into the book, you seem to understand their past, (which was excellently blended into the plotline), and how difficult it was for them to cope with their change.
The twins seemed to be separated more that year, with Lark taking art classes and Iris joining Camp Awesome, an all-girl after school activity group which Iris has some trouble fitting into, which I can totally sympathise with.
Then there is the "magical" part of the story which is Treasure Hunters, an all-around mysterious antique shop, with its mysterious signs, and its owner Mr. George Green, who holds much more than what meets the eye.
Although I personally love the build-up of the story, I feel some backstory chapters may require some careful reading, as this book is like a puzzle, where you have to place everything correctly to get the picture, which, here is the marvellous, insightful world of Iris and Lark Maguire. That being said, I constantly admire the author’s ability to maintain just the right balance between the past and the present, and the smooth changing of scenes, which kept myself itching to just skip to the end of the book.
However, the thing which I find most interesting and something which isn’t found in most books is the fact that flipping to the end, just to find out what happens next doesn’t work out. Every single word on every single page seemed to have a role, either towards the character growth, or towards the future, even to the next page.
I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone, simply because it has something appealing to all kinds of people. Its connection with traditional fairy tales, relatable scenes, and some incredibly thoughtful statements like "Don’t let your sister get so stuck inside her head that she can’t get out" which Iris’s mother tells her make this book something you can’t take your hands off of the second you start reading it!
The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu. Walden Pond Press, 2020. Buy the book here and support Stone Soup in the process!