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Literature / Lets Get Lost

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Let's Get Lost is a Young Adult novel by Sarra Manning.

Some girls are born to be bad...Isabel Clark is one of them. Her friends are terrified of her, her teachers can't get through to her...her family doesn't understand her. And that's just the way she likes it. See, when no one can get near you, no one will know what keeps you awake at night, what you're afraid of, what has broken your heart...But then Isabel meets the enigmatic Smith, who can see right through her act. Bit by bit he chips away at her armour, and though she fights hard to keep hold of her cool, and her secrets, Isabel's falling for him, and coming apart at the seams when she does...

The book provides examples of:

  • Academic Alpha Bitch: Isabel is not only the meanest girl at her school, she's also the cleverest, which she says isn't because she's a natural genius or anything, she just put in a lot of work to be top of the pecking order.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Isabel gets her name shortened to "Is" by Dot, though usually when Dot wants to ingratiate herself to Isabel. Smith starts calling her that later as well.
    • Her mother used to call her "Belle". At the end of the book after they've reconciled, her dad calls her that too.
  • Age-Gap Romance: Isabel's dad was a lecturer at university when he met her mother, who was a student at the time, though they got together after she'd graduated.
  • The Alcoholic: A downplayed example but Isabel's father is distant from his children (Isabel in particular) and seems to spend a lot of his time either at work or shut up in his office with a bottle of wine. He proves to be rather touchy about the subject when Isabel pointedly brings this up.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Felix rarely misses an opportunity to make fun of Isabel or try randomly attacking her. Isabel usually retaliates by giving him a Dope Slap or in one instance, a wedgie when he answers a phonecall from Smith before she can get to it.
  • Backstabbing the Alpha Bitch: A rare example in which the alpha bitch is actually the protagonist, though by the time Isabel's friends do backstab her, it's when she's already undergone a lot of Character Development and realised she doesn't want to be the cruel, mean girl she was being...which is Dot's cue to become the new Queen Bee and leave Isabel's reputation in tatters.
  • Broken Bird: Despite Isabel putting up an uncaring front, she spends the entire novel trying to cope with her mother's death and believes she's unworthy of being loved because of it and her bullying ways. It's not until she meets Smith that she starts to overcome this and at the end of the book it's made clear she'll never stop missing her mum.
  • Brainy Brunette: Isabel comes off a lot more well-read and observant than her peers and puts up a fairly convincing charade of being eighteen for Smith's benefit for a while, explaining she hasn't started university yet because she's taking a gap year. She gets it from her Dad, even if she's loathe to admit that.
  • Continuity Nod: Let's Get Lost is clearly set in the same universe as Sarra Manning's first teen novel, Guitar Girl, as both Molly and Jane appear as Smith's housemates and make oblique references to the plot of Guitar Girl.
  • Darkest Hour: In a short frame of time, Isabel's father discovers she's been lying to him and has been seeing boy for months behind his back (and slept with him several times), lied to him about staying at her friend's house and grounds her, taking away all her freedom and most of her possessions. It turns out that Isabel's lackies decided to backstab Isabel when her guard was down and told him all about it - and they told Smith Isabel was lying about her real age, to which Smith gives Isabel a brutal "The Reason You Suck" Speech and dump her. Isabel is left without her friends, reputation, boyfriend and is isolated in her own house. It's when she discovers her father is planning to ship her off to boarding school that she finally snaps.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Eventually, after Isabel becomes defrosted by Smith, Dot seizes the chance to dethrone Isabel and become the new Alpha Bitch, calling Isabel out on how she always mocked and insulted her friends whenever they were interested in boys but turned into a pathetic, gushing idiot the second Smith entered the picture and that Isabel had always underestimated her.
  • Gentleman Snarker: Isabel's father is incredibly snarky but he has more class about it than his daughter and tends to become crisper and more arch the angrier he is. Smith is terrified of him when they finally do meet.
  • Hopeless with Tech: Isabel comments her father threatens to take her TV out of her room numerous times but never actually follows through because he doesn't actually know how and won't admit it. He also tries to go through her phone to find evidence of her wrongdoing but doesn't get very far with that either.
  • Maybe Ever After: The novel ends with Smith having forgiven Isabel for lying to him and Isabel still very much in love with him, but Smith says that while he does care greatly about Isabel, they moved way too fast the first time around and he still isn't over his one-sided crush on Molly. Isabel remains hopeful that with time Smith will love her back as much as she does him and it seems like they will rekindle things, but with complete honesty this time around.
  • Oh, Crap!: Isabel's reaction when she comes home to find a policewoman waiting for her to ask why her coat was found in the back of a totalled car that was reported stolen earlier that evening.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: Isabel's mother begs her to stay by her side after they get into a serious car accident, with Isabel's mum taking the brunt of the impact. Isabel tries her best to do so, but eventually it's clear that her mother's injuries are too severe and she isn't going to make it.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Had Isabel been more upfront about what exactly happened when her mother died, there wouldn't be as much tension between her and her father at the beginning of the story. She also doesn't admit until the end that thought her father despised her for persuading him to sign the DNR form and wished Isabel had died instead. He's horrified to learn that Isabel not only believe this of him, but that she walked around for nearly a year afterwards still believing it.
  • Really Gets Around: Isabel overhears some girls at a bar Smith takes her to talking about how good he is in bed and comment that fucking him was almost like a rite of passage - she also overhears them insulting her. Smith does admit he slept with a lot of people in his first semester, but stopped after he fell for Molly.
  • Shout-Out: Isabel's name is from a Henry Archer novel, The Portrait of a Lady.
    • Smith's first name is Atticus, which Isabel wastes no time in mocking.
  • Shrinking Violet: When Smith point-blank asks Isabel why she's so rude, Isabel decides to be honest with him (for once) and admits she's shy, so she often doesn't know what to say to people and makes her come across antisocial and rude, so she just started being rude because that's what people assumed of her anyway.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: When Isabel meets Smith's housemates, she gets along with Molly just fine, but she and Jane are pretty much at each other's throats from the word go and any scene they have to share is full of Snark-to-Snark Combat.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Between Isabel and Smith, so very much.
  • Slut-Shaming: Happens quite a lot in the book. In fact, Isabel's Establishing Character Moment is persuading her Beta Bitch friend Nancy to follow a girl who was talking about them behind their backs into the toilets, take a picture of her giving a guy a blowjob and then send the picture to everyone's phone. Isabel then claims she never outright told Nancy to take the picture but knew she'd rise to the bait anyway.
    • Isabel gets slutshamed by her friends after she falls for Smith.
  • Supreme Chef: Isabel is a very good cook, which she attributes to having to cook for her and her brother when her Dad was held up at his job and their mother was terrible at it.
  • Those Two Guys: Ella and Nancy, two of Isabel's Beta Bitch followers, are rarely seen without each other and don't get much character development outside of being mean and not as smart as Isabel. Dot gets more focus since she's the only one who knew Isabel before her rise to power as the queen bee.
  • Tsundere: Isabel is a very harsh Type-A, being bitchy and snide with virtually everyone and mostly becoming dere-dere around Smith, though she does show a few soft spots towards Dot and Felix. Deconstructed in that Isabel's Tsundere personality happened because she was bullied so much that she developed her incredibly abrasive outer shell to protect herself and is terrified of being nice to anyone. It's only by hanging out with Smith and his university friends who are above the social darwinism of Isabel's school that allows her to start letting her guard down. Smith even calls her out on how she "blew hot and cold" all the time.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Isabel gushes about the colour of Smith's eyes several times, commenting it was the only reason she let him kiss her when they first met, even though he thought she was someone else at the time.
  • Wild Teen Party: A few crop up in the book, with Isabel and her friends mostly preferring to try getting into places where students will be. The book opens with them attending one such house party where Isabel meets Smith.