Monday, March 14, 2016

In Search of Lost Girls By Alan McCluskey

In Search of Lost Girls 

By Alan McCluskey

My 100th book review by Ginger Dawn Harman

In Search of Lost Girls is more than a LGBT young adult novel that explores life, love, and the struggles of a transgender teen named Peter and his friends. It is more than a book that examines the injustice of child abuse for girls in an orphange and neglect as a young boy confronts his perpetrator at a funeral. This novel will grasp at your heart strings and offer a different perspective to what is the core of the human soul. I have often commented that author Alan McCluskey is ahead of his time with his works. Yet, In Search of Lost Girls tackles the strong emotional topics that are often displayed in today’s media, courts, and whispered behind closed doors. 

As Kate says of the nun to the other girls: “She’s a lost girl like us.” Even adults can feel like lost children.

The main theme of In Search of Lost Girls is acceptance. McCluskey examines not only the cultural norms of gender but, how we interact and treat others that may be a bit different than us. Furthermore, In Search of Lost Girls captures the voice of a group of abused young girls in an orphanage and at the same time offers hope to a young boy as he explores his own beliefs and autonomy. With resilience, compassion, and the assistance of strangers each character has a unique story that will connect with young adult and older readers.
The novel begins with Arthur Yong pacing as he has a memory of a young girl who snubbed him. The young girl is the same age as a character in his book. As he contemplates, a nun interrupts him and the reader is immediately placed in an orphanage of neglected girls. Meanwhile in a school corridor, Peter is introduced to a new boy by the name of Andrew who has suffered an abusive home situation and is removed to later live with Dr. Grant. Andrew and Peter are forced into gender roles as girls where life changing decisions are eventually made. As one confronts his abusive past the other struggles with his gender and autonomy. With a plot of twists and turns full of emotion and action, the reader will not be able to put the novel down. 

I completely connected with the characters and appreciated the care and respect that the author used while writing such sensitive material. Moreover, as the author conveys the struggles of the teens, he also displays the adult’s problem solving skills as well. This not only serves as a role model for the teens but displays that we all have unique stories and all of us are changing. However, I was completely devastated with a death of a favorite character. The ending is especially emotional. 

My favorite line was, May those that are excluded because they are different find a home such as this in which they are accepted and appreciated as they really are." 

For Peter, dressing as a girl was a very private activity. When circumstances forced him to disguise in a dress and tights, being seen as a girl was not necessarily the pleasure he might have imagined.


I also like, “Despair is an ugly thing when it refuses hope.”  

Alan McCluskey weaves emotional detail and perspective seamlessly into the story. McCluskey creates a vivid setting, believable characters both good and despicable, and a clear portrayal of the moral and social challenges facing youth and adults today. Not only can this sequel stand alone, for many readers it will be one of the most empowering novels they have read. I hope book three will be written soon. I give my highest recommendation to In Search of Lost Girls written by Alan McCluskey.

Alan McCluskey lives amid the vineyards in a small Swiss village between three lakes and a range of mountains Nearby, several thousands of years earlier, lakeside villages housed a thriving Celtic community. The ever-present heart-beat of that world continues to fuel his long-standing fascination for magic and fantasy.

Whether his novels be about Sally, Brent and Keira in The Storyteller’s Quest or Peter, Kaitling and Fi in Boy & Girl or in In Search of Lost Girls, all Alan McCluskey’s novels tell the story of young people who, despite the immense difficulties that abound, discover and develop their own astounding talents and manage to do the exceptional.
Alan McCluskey has published two YA novels in The Storyteller’s Quest series: The Reaches and The Keeper’s Daughter. A third book, The Starless Square, is awaiting publication. He has also published Boy & Girl and its sequel In Search of Lost Girls.
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