The Other Side of Lost
By Jessi Kirby
Synopsis: Mari Turner’s life is perfect. That is, at least to her thousands of followers who have helped her become an internet starlet. But when she breaks down and posts a video confessing she’s been living a lie—that she isn’t the happy, in-love, inspirational online personality she’s been trying so hard to portray—it goes viral and she receives major backlash. To get away from it all, she makes an impulsive decision: to hike the entire John Muir trail. Mari and her late cousin, Bri, were supposed to do it together, to celebrate their shared eighteenth birthday. But that was before Mari got so wrapped up in her online world that she shut anyone out who questioned its worth—like Bri.
With Bri’s boots and trail diary, a heart full of regret, and a group of strangers that she meets along the way, Mari tries to navigate the difficult terrain of the hike. But the true challenge lies within, as she searches for the way back to the girl she fears may be too lost to find: herself.
I really enjoyed this, plus I am now desperate to go on a decent hike somewhere gorgeous.
It is a lighthearted and easy read, even while touching on grief and feelings of inadequacy. Mari is not always 100% likable, but she is trying which I liked. And I like that we see her doubts about her life before, and see her grow through the book in an effort to change how she thinks and reprioritize. I was a little let down at the end as we don’t really get to see that change take effect, but I liked the journey.
I really loved the progression of the story and the way in which Mari learned to carry her grief and figure out whom she really was, what kind of person she wanted to be, and what she wanted to contribute to society. She also meets some really fun trail friends along the way who are immediately accepting of her and in the end help her work out her issues. Everyone has something different they’re going through, but together, they are one giant support group learning to face their problems and push through them effectively.
But with this story, in particular, there were so many little anecdotes and life lessons almost that stuck with me and I think will stick with me for a long time. The aspect of loss and grief with Bri’s death and Mari (who I have decided to pronounce Mar-E vs. Mary) honoring her legacy really drew me in and made me shed more than a few tears. I also liked the aspect of being a social media influencer, as I work in media and know a bit about that side of things. For one, it seems absolutely exhausting, having to live every moment of your life thinking about what the next picture or video or caption is going to be.
I can’t think of any aspect of the book that I didn’t enjoy, as I stayed up late into the night reading until forcing myself to set it down and finish the next day. I definitely don’t think it’s a question whether or not I’ll be rereading it. It’s more of a matter or not if but when, as well as if I can stop myself from rereading it in less than a week from finishing it the first time.
A big Thank You to Harper360UK for sending me a copy.