Hello lovelies! I recently read We Are Lost and Found by Helene Dunbar and it became a new favourite! In fact, I’ve been in a major book hangover ever since. It’s taken me forever to get this review written. But I’ve finally managed to put something together, whatever quality it may be! Read on to find out what I loved about this story…
Michael is content to live in the shadow of his best friends, James, an enigmatic teen performance artist who everyone wants and no one can have and Becky, who calls things as she sees them, while doing all she can to protect those she loves. His brother, Connor, has already been kicked out of the house for being gay and laying low seems to be his only chance to avoid the same fate.
To pass the time before graduation, Michael hangs out at The Echo where he can dance and forget about his father’s angry words, the pressures of school, and the looming threat of AIDS, a disease that everyone is talking about, but no one understands.
Then he meets Gabriel, a boy who actually sees him. A boy who, unlike seemingly everyone else in New York City, is interested in him and not James. And Michael has to decide what he’s willing to risk to be himself.
This book, you guys. I was almost in tears just at the epigraph. I knew instantly that this story was going to worm its way into my heart and set up camp there permanently.
I want to talk first about the characters, because they are definitely what make the book. The trio gave me major The Perks of Being a Wallflower vibes and that was no bad thing because I adore that book. Michael is the softest cinnamon roll and I wanted to wrap him up and protect him. His best friends James and Becky were fabulous and there was a really great dynamic within their group.
The book also has one of the most awful villains I’ve come across in a book. I found it really painful to read how Michael’s father behaved towards him and his brother because of their sexuality. However, I did appreciate that the author took her story in that direction because I’m sure so many members of the LGBTQ+ community have that exact experience and it added a real level of believability to the book. It was raw and heart-wrenching.
I loved reading about a time in history that I wasn’t too familiar with. Obviously, I had some notions of how the AIDs epidemic started but this story really brought it home for me. It was exquisitely painful but it also made me want to read more about the topic; I’m always glad when an author can inspire me to go on and research more.
I have seen some reviewers complaining that this is not an #ownvoices novel and that it wasn’t Dunbar’s story to tell, but I feel that she handled the subject respectfully. And I very much appreciated the two afterwords which were #ownvoices.
It’s difficult to know what more to say on this one. It really is an oxymoron of a book; it is completely lovely but will shatter your heart at the same time. 100% recommend to anyone interested in the start of the AIDs crisis or just looking for a gorgeous story full of heart and friendship and learning to love yourself for who you are.
Have you read this one? Or any other books about the AIDs epidemic? I have a weird fascination with the subject and would love some recommendations (fiction or non-fiction)! x