Cover image for Lost Girl / Anne Ursu ; drawings by Erin McGuire.
Lost Girl / Anne Ursu ; drawings by Erin McGuire.
First edition
Publication Information:
New York : bHarperCollins, 2019.

Physical Description:
355 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Audience/Reading Level:
Interest age level: 8-12.
Added Author:


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
URS Book Junior Collection

On Order



Anne Ursu, author of the National Book Award nominee The Real Boy, returns with a story of the power of fantasy, the limits of love, and the struggles inherent in growing up.

When you're an identical twin, your story always starts with someone else. For Iris, that means her story starts with Lark.

Iris has always been the grounded, capable, and rational one; Lark has been inventive, dreamy, and brilliant--and from their first moments in the world together, they've never left each other's side. Everyone around them realized early on what the two sisters already knew: they had better outcomes when they were together.

When fifth grade arrives, however, it's decided that Iris and Lark should be split into different classrooms, and something breaks in them both.

Iris is no longer so confident; Lark retreats into herself as she deals with challenges at school. And at the same time, something strange is happening in the city around them, things both great and small going missing without a trace.

As Iris begins to understand that anything can be lost in the blink of an eye, she decides it's up to her to find a way to keep her sister safe.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Twin sisters Iris and Lark are "identical, but not the same." Iris is down-to-earth; Lark has her head in the clouds. The girls have always looked after each other, and when they are placed in different classrooms and after-school activities (art camp for Lark, a library girls' group for Iris) during fifth grade, they are devastated. Nothing feels right to Iris, whose dismay is exacerbated by a series of unsettling events: meeting the peculiar owner of an antique shop who claims he's doing magic, noticing objects gone missing from the twins' home, and being followed by a giant crow. The occurrences connect to a dark secret that proves dangerous to Iris and could separate the twins forever. As intriguing as it is eerie, this imaginative tale by Ursu (The Real Boy) is told from the point of view of the crow, who observes Iris's actions and emotions as she faces life and peril, for the first time without her sister. This suspenseful mystery offers a story of empowerment, showing how one girl with the help of others can triumph. Ages 8-12. Agent: Tina Wexler, ICM. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

Eleven-year-old twins Iris and Lark are identical, but not the same. Lark is empathic, creative, imaginative; Iris is assertive, practical, organizedand fiercely protective of Lark. They orbit around each other like binary stars; they have better outcomes when they [are] together. When they are assigned to separate fifth-grade classrooms (and afterschool programs), things fall apart. Both girls are miserableIris the more so because she cant protect the vulnerable Lark. Feeling helpless, Iris retreats into herself, especially at her girl-empowering afterschool program, Camp Awesome. Meanwhile, objects, large and small, begin disappearing all over town after a strange antique store appears, run by a man obsessed with finding his lost sister. Early in the novel Ursu lays out a roadmap for the book: This is a story of a sign and a storeOf magic. Of bad decisions made from good intentions. Of bad guys with bad intentionsBut most of all, this is a story of the two sisters, and what they did when the monsters really came. That map is necessary since readers may lose track of the larger story once they have become immersed in Ursus extraordinarily deep, minutely observed portrayal of the twinsespecially Iris. Because Iris doesnt see the danger coming, neither do readers. The ending feels abrupt (the storys climax, reveals of the identities of both the storys villain and mysterious offstage narrator, and denouement all happen in the course of a few pages) and, for such an interior story, a bit jarring (the twins and their new allies the Awesome girls vanquish the villain in a frighteningly violent, fight-to-the-death battle). But the book is packed with rich and thought-provoking material as it explores such themes as girls power and agency (both individual and collective), obsession, healthy versus unhealthy relationships, and, yes, the cost of magic. martha v. Parravano March/April 2019 p 92(c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

New York Review of Books Review

A shape-shifting fox, a sentient island, an eerily perfect town and twins who use magic to stay together. Beloved by young readers, speculative fiction often gets a very different reception from grown-ups, some of whom lament that such books lack the depth of literary fiction, especially if - horrors! - they are popular ones in a series. It took a tsunami of media attention to get such adults to capitulate to J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter books and, once they did, they raved about the series as an exception, seemingly unaware of its distinguished lineage. Fortunately, others feel differently, aware that some of the most inventive, enthralling, provocative and (yes) literary writing for children comes in this form. Setting their stories in invented places, a magical version of the real world or far across the universe, these authors explore weighty themes in highly original ways. For established fans, new readers and open-minded skeptics, four new titles offer distinctive and rich reading experiences. would life be better if we could forget the past? That's the question Corey Ann Haydu ("Rules for Stealing Stars") poses in her engrossing EVENTOWN (Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins, 336 pp., $16.99; ages 8 to 12). It certainly seems that way for almost-12-year-old Elodee, her identical twin, Naomi, and their parents, whose lives have become unbearably sad because of something none of them can stand to think about. Needing a fresh start, they move to Eventown, where they are delighted at first with the charming environment, the kind people, the overriding sense of well-being. While the quiet Naomi settles in comfortably, the more outgoing Elodee does not. An inventive cook, she is pleased with the scrumptious results she gets from a recipe box in their new home, but when she tries to tinker with them or recreate her own, the results are disastrous. After a couple of times watching her gymnast sister perform every routine with nary a grunt or drop of sweat, always getting a perfect score along with the other Eventown girls, Elodee stops attending the meets. Then there is the rosebush their father brought from their old home, blooming wildly and differently from the gorgeous ones around it, never fitting in any more than Elodee does. For it seems that an "even" lifestyle comes with costs. While Eventown has its dystopian aspects, there are no sinister villains â la President Snow of "The Hunger Games," just well-intentioned people who have understandable reasons for keeping the town as it is. With its embedded question about the consequences of erasing all your problems, "Eventown" will doubtless hit many a middle grade reader's sweet spot, reminding them that memories, good and bad, make life worth living. identical twins are also at the center of Anne Ursu's THE LOST GIRL (Walden Pond/ HarperCollins, 368 pp., $16.99; ages 8 to 12). They're physically alike, but Lark is dreamy and creative while Iris is outgoing and fact-oriented. They have always looked out for each other - but in fifth grade, for the first time, they are put into separate classes. Devastated, the girls struggle with this new reality, Lark withdrawing into a world of her own while Iris frets and worries about her. With every difficult situation, Iris becomes more alarmed. How is she to take care of Lark if they are in different classes? Distraught, Iris gravitates to a strange new antique shop in town run by the eccentric Mr. Green, while elsewhere things big and small start to go missing. Told by a mysterious narrator, the story gets darker and darker as the foolhardy and desperately unhappy Iris stumbles in her attempts to help her sister. Yet the book's somber moments are balanced by lighter ones, especially those featuring Iris's classmates and the energetic girls of her after-school Awesome Club, all of whom she has discounted in her self-absorption, but who turn out to be supportive, and critical at the end. While the bulk of "The Lost Girl" is set in a realistic world, the final section is suffused with magic. Capturing with piercing accuracy Iris's evolving anguish, Ursu ("The Real Boy") ends this passionate and complex story with a celebration of sibling autonomy, youthful agency and the power of friends. Eleven-year-old Fionne, the hero of Catherine Doyle's debut middle-grade novel, THE STORM KEEPER'S ISLAND (Bloomsbury, 304 pp., $16.99; ages 8 to 12), is also miserable. Having never known his father, who died shortly before he was born, he is close to his mother - but she has sent him and his sister to their grandfather's island while she recovers from depression. The whispering wind and magical landscape that greet Fionne make it immediately clear that this island is not ordinary. Nor is their grandfather, the Storm Keeper, who has long kept dark forces at bay with the handcrafted candles that fill his cottage. Now, having grown forgetful, the old man is ready to cede his place. While the siblings bicker constantly, Fionne is still hurt when his sister abandons him to search for the legendary Sea Cave with her new crush, who wants to use the place's single wish to become the next Storm Keeper, bypassing the tradition of the sentient island making the selection. Wanting the wish to somehow get his father back and then to help his mother, Fionne tries to find the cave before them, discovering along the way more clarity about his own past as well as a growing awareness of the evil lurking deep below in the island. Doyle's writing glows, with the pitchperfect barbs the young people sling at each other, the atmospheric weather events, her masterfully delineated characters - including the island itself - and a page-turning plot. Heart-wrenching and heart-stopping, this is one gorgeous novel. With the arrival of a stranger to a dilapidated home on J ingu, one of the many planets that make up the Thousand Worlds, Yoon Ha Lee hits the ground running in DRAGON PEARL (Rick Riordan/Hyperion, 310 pp., $16.99; ages 8 to 12). Our 13-year-old protagonist, Min, hears the stranger say that her beloved older Space Cadet brother is believed to have deserted in order to seek the coveted and long-lost object known as the Dragon Pearl. Furious and disbelieving, she knocks the man out and then races off to find Jun. In this world of humans and supernatural beings, Min is a shape-shifting fox who, like all of her kind, stays disguised as a human to avoid the prejudice she would otherwise encounter. Using her wits and a magical ability called Charm that she has been forbidden to use, but does under these urgent conditions, Min manages to get on her brother's ship by disguising herself as a recently slain male cadet whose ghost she encounters. With two delightful friends - a female dragon and a genderneutral goblin with a magic snack-producing spork - Min participates in lessons, learns about the ship's workings and has thrilling adventures galore. Part of the new line of multicultural fan-tasy novels overseen by Rick Riordan - he of the popular Percy Jackson series - "Dragon Pearl" is a clever mash-up of Korean mythology and science fiction tropes. With crisp dialogue, a winning protagonist and a propulsive plot, the tale is enormously entertaining. And a heads-up to speculative-averse adults: If you decided Harry Potter was O.K., this is another one that might surprise you. Monica edinger, a fourth-grade teacher in New York City, is the author of "Africa Is My Home: A Child of the Amistad." She blogs at Educating Alice.