Book Review: The Light That Gets Lost 

Title: The Light That Gets Lost

Author: Natasha Carthew

Genre: YA

Pages: 320

Rating: ★★★☆☆

A small boy hiding in a cupboard witnesses something no child should ever see. He tries not to look but he still hears it. And when he comes out, there’s no mistaking. His mum and dad have been killed. And though he’s only small, he swears that he’ll get revenge one day.

Years later, Trey enters a strange camp that is meant to save troubled teenagers. It’s packed with crazies, god-botherers, devoted felons and broken kids. Trey’s been in and out of trouble ever since the day the bad thing happened, but he’s he not here for saving: this is where he’ll find the man who did it. But revenge and healing, salvation and hell are a boiling, dangerous mix, and Trey finds himself drawn to a girl, a dream and the offer of friendship in the dark .

The Light That Gets Lost is an intense and powerful story about friendship, loss, and fear. Trey arrives at Camp Kernow with a plan to kill the man who murdered his parents and maimed his brother. But when he settles in he realises that doing so will not be as easy as he originally thought, particularly when friendships start to get in the way.

I will admit that this book was a little hard to get into at first. The first chapter is intriguing but after that things really quieten down for awhile. For most of the first few chapters we are stuck in Trey’s mind until he starts opening up to some of the other characters. For awhile there I didn’t care much about what happened to Trey, but things got SO MUCH BETTER. My interest was finally piqued at around the 50-page mark – this was when we started getting to know the other characters more, got more background on Trey and the camp that he was stuck in. I ended up being drawn into the story and was super glad I kept reading despite the fact that the writing style sometimes bogged me down a little.

The writing style is very lyrical and highly expressive. It is quite abstract at times, like when eight-year-old Trey refers to blood as ‘the sticky’. There were some parts where the language confused me a little, particularly with the run-on sentences, some of the descriptions, and the dialogue (I hate the word ‘int‘ being used instead of ‘isn’t it‘). After I started getting more into the story, though, I found that it was easier to understand the writing. It was the kind of style where you just need a little time to get used to it. Some of the prose was stunning and highly poetic, and although it took a bit of work to get into it and start appreciating it, the writing style worked well and led to some startling and beautiful moments between the three main characters.

I really enjoyed the characters in The Light That Gets Lost. Trey was very interesting because of his dark past, his plans for revenge, and the lessons he learned about life and friendship when he started opening up to Lamby and Kay. Lamby was a lot of fun – he was always stirring trouble, winding people up, and biting off more than he could chew. Kay was mysterious and tough, and I wish we could have gotten to know her a little more personally. Trey, Lamby, and Kay join forces to stand up for themselves against Wilder, a boy desperate for power and a sense of belonging.

The plot took some interesting turns and was quite different to what I was expecting. Without giving too much away, all I can really say is that Camp Kernow is not the place of salvation that it is advertised as – there is a lot of secrecy and trouble brewing just below the surface. Things go from bad to worse for Trey and his friends and they end up having to choose whether or not to stick up for themselves and to stay together, or to just give in and follow the crowd. Some of the messages within this story were quite thought-provoking and important. This book made me reflect about the way I live my life and the way that I think about myself and others.

Overall, The Light That Gets Lost is a powerful story written in an eccentric and expressive way. I really enjoyed the story and the characters, and only wish that things had moved a little faster at the beginning and that some aspects of the plot and the characters had been further-developed. All in all this was an interesting read and I would recommend that you give it a go if you’re feeling up to some poetics.

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