THE LIBRARY OF LOST THINGS by Laura Taylor Namey is a heartfelt contemporary that discusses the idea of family, mental health, and all things literary. I thankfully obtained this ARC from HarperCollins Publishers who kindly sent it to me via NetGalley for an honest review. Here is the summary and shortened review.
Spoilers will start after the short summary during the extended review:
From the moment she first learned to read, literary genius Darcy Wells has spent most of her time living in the worlds of her books. There, she can avoid the crushing reality of her mother’s hoarding and pretend her life is simply ordinary. But when a new property manager becomes more active in the upkeep of their apartment complex, the only home Darcy has ever known outside of her books suddenly hangs in the balance.
While Darcy is struggling to survive beneath the weight of her mother’s compulsive shopping, Asher Fleet, a former teen pilot with an unexpectedly shattered future, walks into the bookstore where she works…and straight into her heart. For the first time in her life, Darcy can’t seem to find the right words. Fairy tales are one thing, but real love makes her want to hide inside her carefully constructed ink-and-paper bomb shelter.
Still, after spending her whole life keeping people out, something about Asher makes Darcy want to open up. But securing her own happily-ever-after will mean she’ll need to stop hiding and start living her own truth—even if it’s messy.
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Why I was interested: I don’t read contemporary often, but when HarperCollins Publishers reached out to me, I was too intrigued to say “no.” And how could I? LIBRARY talks about mental health while also discussing books. It seemed like a great combo to pour over.
Judge a book by it’s cover: Blue is my favorite color and I adore all of the books that cover this book.
What to expect: It’s a fairly quick read but it contains a lot of heart. Discussions of family and mental health are central to this story but it also has a sweet romance and a cast of great, unique characters.
Why you should pick this book up: This contemporary is going to become a classic — I know it. This debut is one your should pick up if you love contemporary stories. And if you don’t read them that often, like myself, you should still pick it up as it really does focus on the idea of living books.
ATTENTION: IF YOU HAVE YET TO READ THE LIBRARY OF LOST THINGS do not continue reading. The following contains spoilers for the book.
Darcy is a girl who absolutely loves books. They’re her console, her go-to when she needs to figure out how to talk to boys or approach a situation. She has stacks of them in her room and constantly has them with her. But near the end of the story Darcy and her readers realize, she too, just like her mother, is a hoarder.
Darcy holds on to words and books so closely that she can define any word by the drop of a hat and spout sections of books by memory alone. They are her comfort — like her new-old edition of Peter Pan we learn is her mother’s — and she will even take them to parties with her. But Darcy also realizes that she is not only a hoarder of words and books, she also constantly lives in a way in stories so her life can be controllable in her own way.
Words have meaning to Darcy as seen with the couple of times she’ll pause when people say words that are a reflection of her life. She’s afraid people know about her mother’s physical hoard of “junk” when for so long she has kept it hidden with the exception of her bestie Marisol and Marisol’s older brother who helps fix the apartment.
This all gets challenged when Asher walks into her life and understands disappointment and grief more so than most around her. Darcy tries to keep him and a possible relationship with him a fairytale because she’s afraid of what he may think about her and her mom’s hoarding. But when she starts to understand her mother’s hoarding and that she does it as well, Darcy realizes she can no longer live in a book and must voice to Marisol that she likes Asher and that her absent birth father wants to meet with her. Telling her best friend these topics make them real in her mind, a part of her real life and her real, valid feelings.
Darcy must ultimately learn how to take a step away from the stories she holds dear to her heart and create her own by letting Asher into her life, reconciling with her mom and grandmother, and open a conversation with her biological father. Darcy understands she must hold on to what’s most important when she has been holding on to fear and rejection for so long which ultimately makes this contemporary a great story.
What did you think of Laura Tarlor Namey’s THE LIBRARY OF LOST THINGS ? I really enjoyed it and look forward to what Namey will write next. I’d love to hear your comments below!
Oh! One last thing: I’m glad to announce that I have purchased the rights to the MediaGalReads.com website! My past work and new work will be transitioning over to that new site soon, so get ready for a fun-filled book-loving site dedicated to all things YA!
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