You Have To Be Lost To Be Found
The main character in Lost Girls, Rachel Evans, may have found her way home by the beginning of the story. But in many ways, she is still lost. She doesn’t know how she ended up in that ditch, or why she changed her hair or her taste in music or her taste in friends in the past year. She won’t be truly found until she learns the answers to those questions.
In many ways, I was like Rachel. I was a Lost Girl when I was a teenager. Maybe that was where I drew the initial inspiration for the book.
Name a bad thing, and I’ve probably done it. Skipped school, taken drugs, messed around with boys, ran away from home, ended up in Juvie. I even missed an entire semester of high school when I ran away.
Running away from home was my wake up call.
It was when I realized how important my family was. Just like Rachel, I’d been taking it all for granted for much too long. It was also when I realized that I was living a destructive lifestyle. I saw my friends end up in the hospital, more than once, because of drug overdoses or hepatitis from needles.
That was when I decided to change. I went to night school and summer school, so I could graduate with my class. I quit smoking cigarettes. I decided I was going to do my best to never end up in Juvie again. That was hard, because I got caught at an end-of-the-year party in the country and almost ended back in Juvie.
It’s pretty hard to change overnight, so I made a few mistakes along the way.
But once I made up my mind, I managed to keep my focus.
I was the only one of my friends who went to college, got married and had a child. Everyone else made different choices. It’s not that their choices were wrong and mine was right. I guess it just comes down to being lost.
Once I realized just how lost I was, I knew I never wanted it to happen again.
I think Rachel Evans makes a similar decision.
I guess we’ve both learned there’s nothing quite as wonderful as being found.
LOST GIRLS EXCERPT
Book Title: Lost Girls
Author: Merrie Destefano
Release Date: 1/3/17
Genre: YA contemporary, YA psychological thriller, YA dark contemporary
His Harley was parked at the curb, in a pocket of shadow, blocked from the streetlight and behind one of the flowering trees Dad had planted earlier this year. Dylan started to hand me a helmet, but stopped, as if there was something else more important.
“There’s something I have to do,” he said.
I thought maybe he needed to give me a few pointers on how to ride a motorcycle, that I should lean into the curves, that I should hold onto him, that I shouldn’t be afraid because he was a great driver.
I was wrong.
He slipped one arm around my waist and pulled me close, so close that I couldn’t have gotten away if I wanted to, while his other hand cupped my jaw, thumb just below my mouth, long fingers brushing against my ear. “I’ve wanted to do this since you got back,” he said, his voice a low, hoarse whisper.
I wanted to say, me, too, but I didn’t get a chance.
His lips found mine in the darkness where we could barely see each other, where the heat of his body melted into mine. There were two short, gentle kisses as if he didn’t believe I would be here very long, that I might disappear at any moment, and then after that came the third kiss—
The third kiss stole my heart.
And my soul.
I didn’t remember our first date or what we had in common or who was his favorite band, but I remembered this. I remembered a thousand kisses, a hundred nights, a million stars glittering overhead. We leaned into each other, as if we were each drawing an electric charge from the other, as if we’d been unplugged and powerless but now we were stronger, invincible, immortal. The world stopped spinning and we were all that existed; there were no other people, no cities, no countries; there was only this.
His lips pressed against mine, his scent filling the air, his hands touching me.
And then at last, the kiss ended and we stared into each other’s eyes, me remembering, him knowing, both of us breathless.
“I almost lost you,” he said, his words soft as if he couldn’t say them very loud because it would show how strong the emotion was.
“I’m here, I’m safe.”
He shook his head. “I’m not going to let anything happen to you,” he said. “I haven’t always been”—he hesitated—“a very good person. But I’m going to do everything I can to make sure no one ever hurts you again.”
He had a way of enchanting me with his words, maybe it was the poet in him, maybe this was easy for him, but it didn’t matter. I knew he was telling the truth.
I just didn’t know if I wanted to be safe.
Author Bio: Born in the Midwest, magazine editor Merrie Destefano currently lives in Southern California with her husband, two German shepherds, a Siamese cat, and the occasional wandering possum. Her favorite hobbies are reading speculative fiction and watching old Star Trek episodes, and her incurable addiction is writing. She loves to camp in the mountains, walk on the beach, watch old movies, and listen to alternative music—although rarely all at the same time.
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