All the Lost Things

In All the Lost Things, Michelle Sacks tells the story of seven-year-old Dolly, who is excited to go on her first real adventure. She and her often-absent father hit the road one day out of the blue, and Dolly is thrilled to have him all to herself. She brings her favorite toy and her imaginary friend, Clemesta, along for the ride. But what starts as a rose-colored trip through rust-belt America becomes a descent into eerie Southern locales and paranoid fears. Dolly grows increasingly tired of their transient lifestyle and wary of her father's mood swings. Meanwhile, Clemesta is urging her to remember something important, something that might unlock the answer to this mysterious adventure and the question of where her mother really is.

As in her debut novel You Were Made for This, Sacks proves herself a master of slow-burn suspense. In All the Lost Things, she trades the quietly sinister voices of two female friends for the high-energy buoyancy of a child in denial. Dolly's perspective seamlessly folds her moment-to-moment observations into her sporadic memories, building a full picture of the life she and her parents led before her father swooped her off the front porch and into his car. The tension in this emotionally nuanced novel comes not from the question of what Dolly's father actually did, which the reader suspects early on, but from where this physical journey and mental unfolding may take them, and what might be lost along the way. --Alice Martin, freelance writer and editor

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