Review: Lost by Nadia Simonenko

Title: Lost
Series: Lost & Found #1
Author: Nadia Simonenko
Published: March 25th 2012
Genre: New Adult Romance
Rating: 4.5/5

Sometimes you need someone else to help you find your way.

Maria's life was torn apart when she was fifteen, and for seven years she's kept her terrible secret hidden from the world. Now, in her final semester of college, she still struggles against paralyzing fear just trying to speak up in class, and the terror and helplessness linger on in her nightmares.

Across campus, Owen sees his scars in the mirror every morning while he gets ready for class. They remind him of the broken home he left behind, the father he hates and fears, and the little sister he couldn't protect. Now, in his final semester of college, he's scared that he may have to return to the hell he called home after staying away for almost five years.

When Owen becomes a teaching assistant for one of Maria's classes, they find themselves irresistibly drawn to each other. As the two learn each other's secrets and grow closer, they realize that although they may be lost, they're not alone anymore.

This new adult contemporary romance is recommended for ages 17+ due to heavy subject matter.

***Some Spoilers***
(This book contains adult content & therefore so does my review)

"I don't care if your messed up. I am too. It doesn't matter how lost we were, because we found each other anyway" - Owen


The story:
Wow, the first scene in this book really shook me, just a warning that it does graphically depict domestic violence - but not in a glorifying way - it really does give an insight into how damaging it can be to someone mentally not just physically.

Both Maria & Owen have survived traumatic pasts, and have very few people to rely on for support. They don't trust other people - especially Maria, who often has flashbacks to her assault when other people (men in particular) get too close. Her best friend Tina is the only person who knows what happened to her & Tina tries to help her push past her fear of people & trust again. 

Owen also suffers from flashbacks to his traumatic past & avoids crowds & social situations too. And the book follows both their stories of overcoming their fears, with the help of each other. ***spoiler*** I absolutely loved that at the climax of this story, it actually ends up being Maria that rescues Owen, not the other way around, it was refreshing to see the heroine take charge of a situation & realise her own strength ***end spoiler***

The characters:
Owen & Maria are very similar characters, not just because of the issues in their past, but also the way they have dealt with it, withdrawing into themselves & focussing on their studies. However, despite their similarities, you can still easily differentiate their voices in the alternating POV (something that many authors seem to struggle with).

I really liked Maria, I connected with her straight away & could feel that she really wanted to move forward with her life, but was scared & doubted her own strength. I loved how she was proud of herself as she made progress & stepped outside her comfort zone - she could see how far she had come. Owen was sweet, he could see that Maria had gone through something & wanted to help her and be stronger himself. 

The romance:
The romance between these two was so beautiful. It was very realistic - awkward at times with each of them having very little experience it relationships. But that's what made it so believable.

It was a sweet and tender romance, not the usual angst filled relationship. Their romance began as a tentative friendship and slowly built into a romance as they began to understand each other. It was beautiful to watch Maria & Owen grow throughout the story with the mutual understanding & support from each other.

The Writing:
Nadia's writing was really beautiful, she doesn't shy away from the difficult issue & doesn't sugar coat anything. The story felt very real & I became emotionally invested in the story. I especially love the way she handled the romance. They both have trust issues for obvious reasons, and as a result some of the interactions between them were a little embarrassing but so realistic. As neither of them have been intimate with anyone before their love scenes were also written with a genuine 'first time' feeling - I couldn't help but giggle when Owen is describing Maria about to have her first orgasm:

"Maria is suddenly very still, almost rigid, and her mouth opens wide as if she is silently screaming. Her eyes close tightly, and she starts to shake like nothing I've ever seen before. Just as I'm about to pull my hand away in fear, I suddenly realise what's happening. I've never seen a girl have an orgasm before, and Maria's on the brink of one." -Owen

Looking at the dates/timeline that this story is told along, the progress that they make in their relationship etc may have been a little fast. However in saying that, I didn't notice that as I was reading (and besides, everybody handles trauma differently, so it wasn't really a big issue for me)

Also for some I think the graphic descriptions of abuse may be a bit too much, but for me they only added to the realistic nature of the story.

This was a confronting look into domestic violence & sexual assault, and how it can effect people for the rest of their lives. I loved the fact that this has a proper ending to the book while still leaving their story open for a sequel - can not wait to read it!

Sexuality: medium-strong / sex scenes & sexual assault
Violence: very strong / graphic descriptions of domestic violence ***spoiler***description of Owen's sister pushed down the stairs & killed by their father ***end spoiler***
Language: medium / regular use of sh*t, f**k
Drugs & alcohol: mild-medium / main characters drink in nightclub etc
Other: Maria does have a brief moment of suicidal thoughts


  1. Sounds like a really good book. Its very hard to write books like this. To keep it good and in the lines and not sugar coat anything. I'm really happy that this book seemed to do that.
    Great review!


    1. That's so true. There are a lot of books out there at the moment that tackle the same issues as in this book, but I think Nadia has written one of the better stories!

  2. Hi Amy,
    sounds like a great read! what catches my attention is the domestic violence highlighted in this book. A cool review! Thanks for sharing.

    Read My Latest Review:
    Golden Boy

    1. Yes, this is quite a confronting storyline with the domestic violence, but personally felt it was handled very effectively!

  3. Wow! I'll have to check out this book. Sounds like a difficult read, but a really good one!

    1. Yeah, there were a few confronting scenes, but it was definitely one powerful story!

  4. I really enjoyed this book. It was definitely emotionally exhausting, but I think Nadia did a great job conveying what she wanted to. Great review chica! :D

    Jessica@Lovin' Los Libros

    1. Thanks Jess!! It was quite an intense story, but I agree Nadia did an amazing job at handling such a heavy subject :)

  5. This sounds emotionally crazy (in the best way). It's so rare to find a book that portrays something as serious as abuse realistically and doesn't try too hard to be overly graphic or disturbing just for the hell of it

    1. Yeah, Nadia did well not to sensationalise the abuse story lines, which I felt was really impressive and made the story all the more powerful.


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