Thursday, February 19, 2015

Review: Let's Get Lost & Author Interview

Title: Let's Get Lost
Author: Adi Alsaid
Pub date: July 29, 2014
Rating: 4 Cows

Goodreads Description: Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.

When I say I love stories about road trips, I mean, you’re talking to the only kid in her English 100 class her freshman year of college, who actually enjoyed being assigned John Steinbeck’s book Travels with Charley.  That being said, there’s just something about a good road trip book that I can never say no to.  It doesn’t matter what time of year it is; it could be snowing and -30 degrees outside or sunny and 80.  I will always enjoy any semblance of a story that involves the road and meeting new people.  So when I first heard of Adi Alsaid’s book Let’s Get Lost, I knew I had to give it a go.

One complaint I’ve been hearing quite often on the subject of road trips in literature, is that it is becoming one of those over-saturated topics that needs to be left alone for a while.  Though I agree some of the road trip stories I’ve picked up in the past few years or so have seemed quite redundant, I want to clarify that Let’s Get Lost is not one of them.  One of my favorite aspects of this book, was that it was told from numerous point of views.  Seeing a road trip through the eyes of a single person is one thing, but reading a story about a road trip that is told from the view point of numerous unique individuals, makes for such a great read.  I would never have thought incorporating this in order to tell the story of one girl’s road trip, would be possible prior to reading this book.  Adi writes this story in such a way, that you find yourself quickly becoming invested in all the characters and their lives.  Despite Leila being the main person on this road trip, her journey brings her into contact with many people.  It’s her encounters with these people, and the new friendships that she forms along the way that make this book so incredible.  I truly enjoyed the fact that Adi decided to write this book from numerous POVs, so that we could see what each person who meets Leila thinks of her, and how she made an impact on each of their lives.
Another one of my favorite parts about this book was Leila’s compassion towards others.  Even though she sets out on a trip in order to accomplish something, she never passes up the opportunity to help someone.  Whether it’s pulling over to the side of the road to give someone a ride, or just talking to people she’s met, Leila is one of those characters who just truly loves meeting other people.  Not only was this heartening to read, but it also inspired me to be a better person in my own life (I know, insert corny jokes here). But in all seriousness, it goes to show that as humans we impact the people we meet and interact with on a daily basis, more than we even know.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book.  It was fun, touching, and entertaining all at the same time.  Each person’s character was so different and unique that Leila met, that you won’t find yourself losing interest in this book at all.  I flew through this one and am already recommending it to all my friends!  Not only that, but it has me wishing for a road trip of my own in the near future!!

Let’s Get Lost is your YA debut novel.  When you first started writing it, did you know it was going to be YA?  How do you make that kind of decision when writing a book? 

I did. I specifically started writing YA because I’d been reading more and more of it in the few years leading up to LGL. Some books I absolutely loved, some had phenomenal concepts with execution that left me wanting more. So I wanted to see if I could do it.

One of my favorite aspects of Let’s Get Lost is that it is told from multiple points of view.  The common factor of these strangers is Leila, who meets them throughout her road trip.  What made you decide to write it this way, as opposed to just writing the story from Leila’s point of view? 

Thanks! I’ve always loved multiple POVs. To me, writing is a way to get into other people’s heads, because that’s pretty much what interests me the most. I was instantly drawn by the idea of a road trip story told through the eyes of people not on the road trip themselves, each going through their own thing when this mysterious character comes crashing into their lives.  

 Where did you get your inspiration for Let’s Get Lost?

Partially from my own road trip experiences, partially from my love of stories with multiple POVs. Since the book is split up into essentially five different stories, each story had its own little inspirations.

Are any of the events or characters in your books based off experiences or people in your own life?  I’m exceptionally curious about Stoner Timmy, who was one of my favorite characters from Let’s Get Lost.

God, I wish Stoner Timmy were inspired by a real person. That’d be awesome. There are definitely bits and pieces of non-fiction peppered into LGL, mostly just details as opposed to whole characters or events. Leila’s quirk of putting her bare feet on the windshield, for example, is something an ex-girlfriend used to do in my car. NEVER ALWAYS SOMETIMES has a bit more inspired by real life, although I always, always fictionalize anyone I draw inspiration from.

I read that you went to college for business before you decided to become a writer.  What made you change your mind?  

Well, to be honest, I only picked business because I had no real idea what I wanted to do with my life.  I loved writing, but wasn't sure I'd be doing it at a young age.  Fortunately, circumstances surrounding my graduation pretty much left me with no choice but to pursue my dream of writing.

What does your writing process look like?  Do you force yourself to sit down and write each day, or do you only write when you’re feeling inspired?   

I do it every day.  I've learned you can absolutely force inspiration.  Being disciplined and writing every single day is something I learned, curiously enough, when I was training for basketball in high school.

Your new book Never Always Sometimes is set to release this August.  This week you released the cover for it, for the first time.  Is there anything else you can share with your readers or that you want to say about this book?
 Sure! I’ll share the jacket copy that’s on the ARC and now on Goodreads. “Dave and Julia are best friends. On the brink of high school, they made a list of cliches they would never do. Now in their senior year, Dave and Julia decide to try every Never on the list. As they break out of their comfort zone and have many adventures- both together and apart- they learn a lot more about who they are and what their true feelings are for one another.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but Let’s Get Lost and Never Always Sometimes are stand alones. How do you feel about series, and would you consider writing one sometime?  

They are stand alones, and I’m pretty sure every book I ever write will be. One of the writing mantras I try to live by is “Tell almost the whole story” (Anne Sexton). I can see why lots of readers love series, and the desire to get more from the characters you love in a book, but I prefer the glimpses offered from stand alones.

In Let’s Get Lost Leila’s mom’s favorite recipe was Jambalaya.  Do you have a favorite Jambalaya recipe/have you ever made it before?  

I have made it before! It turned out pretty good, and I served it with a homemade Cajun hot sauce, but I feel like I could definitely improve it. I don’t see it becoming anyone’s favorite, so I have to get better at it.  

One last question! Film adaptations: How do you feel about them?  If you were approached about doing one for either of your books, would you consider it?  

  I’m a huge movie buff, so I approve. Yes, the book is almost always better, but that’s probably because you can just do so much more with a book. You have 300+ pages and an unlimited budget (imagination>Hollywood), so there’s going to be more happening, more nuance to your characters. I would definitely consider adaptations to my own books, because I think I’m pretty good at ceding control. I feel like I’d be good at separating what I saw on the screen from the book I’d written.

One last request! On Wholly-Books we like to do what we call a round of ‘this or that.’  All you have to do is pick which one you prefer!

This or that
Early bird or night owl? Night owl
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Ebooks or print? Print
Beach or pool? Beach
Facebook or Twitter? Twitter
Cats or Dogs? Dogs
Pens or pencils? Pens
Dancing or Singing? Singing
Call or text? Text
Beer or wine? Beer



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