The Geography of Lost Things – Jessica Brody – Simon Pulse – Published 2 October 2018




After Ali’s father passes away, he leaves his one and only prized possession—a 1968 Firebird convertible—to his daughter. But Ali doesn’t plan on keeping it. Not when it reminds her too much of all her father’s unfulfilled promises. So when she finds a buyer three hundred miles up the Pacific coast willing to pay enough money for the car to save her childhood home, Ali can’t wait to get going. Except Ali has no idea how to drive a stick shift. But guess who does?

Ali’s ex-boyfriend, Nico. And Nico has other plans.

He persuades Ali that instead of selling the car, they should “trade up” the items they collect on their trip to eventually reach the monetary amount Ali needs. Agreeing with Nico’s crazy plan, Ali sets off on a unique adventure that is unlike anything she ever could have expected.

And it’s through Ali’s travels, through the strangers she meets and the things that they value—and why they value them—that Ali eventually comes to understand her father and how his life may not have been as easy and carefree as she previously thought. Because just like the seemingly insignificant objects Ali collects, not everything is exactly as it appears.

My thoughts

The Geography of Lost Things is a fun road trip novel about learning to forgive and starting over. Jessica Brody weaves together a compelling story of second-chance romance and father-daughter relationships, family financial difficulties and learning to see again the value in little things.

Ali has just days until the bank will reclaim her family home and she and her mother must find somewhere else to live. Years of paying the debts of her flaky father, of learning that his promises can’t be trusted and knowing he will never come home have made Ali angry for everything she has lost. So, when a knock on the door reveals her father has left her his most prized possession – a 1968 Firebird convertible – Ali is quick to list it for sale, hoping the money can save her home. The only problem is the buyer is miles away and she can’t drive stick. Her ex-boyfriend Nico can, though, and when he wiggles his way into her road trip Ali is sure it’s going to be a disaster. What will a car, miles of road, too many secrets, lies and broken dreams to count and a possibility of a redo bring?

The Geography of Lost Things is a lighthearted, fun-to-read novel with some compelling themes about relationships, abandonment, and debt. Flashbacks are used throughout the book, both to reflect back on childhood memories of time Ali spent with her father and to moments in Ali’s relationship with Nico. Sweet, happy, sad, these memories build up a clear picture of why Ali responds to mentions of her father and relationship triggers as she does. Why she is so quick to sell her father’s car and why she has so much anger and distrust for her father are all made clear through memories of forgotten birthdays and broken promises.

There is some mystery about why Nico and Ali broke up. While the flashbacks describe the time and place of the breakup and little hints are given – glove boxes, rain and comets- the final pieces of the puzzle don’t fall into place until much later in the story. This mystery becomes tied up with Ali’s relationship with and feelings towards her father. As Nico and Ali travel they begin to see each other in a fresh light. They also have the opportunity to reflect on their past relationship, the good times and the mistakes they made. The road trip allows Ali to explore her relationship with Nico and her father. It brings her into contact with people she never could have imagined and it gives her a chance to re-evaluate and start over.

The Geography of Lost Things is a fresh and fun exploration of love, family and relationships.

The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

More information

Category: Young adult fiction.

Genre: Contemporary.

Themes: Road trip, family, father-daughter relationship, romance, lies, secrets, relationship breakdown, cars, abandonment, debt, music.

Reading age guide: Ages 12 and up.

Advisory: References to alcohol consumption and drunkenness . Occasional coarse language, pi** (2).

Published:  2 October 2018 by Simon Pulse.

Format: Hardcover, ebook. 320 pages.

ISBN: 9781481499217

Find it on Goodreads