Ages 12 and Up
June 27, 2017
In The Beautiful Lost, Luanne Rice deftly uses her experiences with depression to craft a lilting and surprising story about the vagaries of the human heart. Maia has struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts ever since her mother left to follow her passion of studying ocean life in the Canadian Maritime provinces. Maia is convinced everything will be fine if she can only reconnect with her mother, meaning she won’t have to take her pills, she will never need to be institutionalized again. When Maia runs away from home in search of her mom, she gets unexpected help and companionship from Billy, her crush from school. On the roads through New England, Maia and Billy learn truths about each other that are equal parts enthralling and distressing.
About the Author:
Luanne Rice is the New York Times bestselling author of over 30 novels for adults and the YA novel The Secret Language of Sisters. There are more than twenty-two million copies of her books in print across the world and five of her novels have been adapted into TV movies and miniseries. Luanne lives in coastal Connecticut with her family of cats.
10 finished copies of The Beautiful Lost; open to US residents only.
Can you tell us about your book, The Beautiful Lost, in 45 words or less?
When Maia starts a road trip to find her long-gone mom, Billy comes along. They drive the New England coastline in a rusty truck fighting demons of her depression and his dark secret, finding answers in lobster rolls, unreliable radio, libraries, and an ancient book her mother left behind.
What was your favorite scene to write?
The night they have nowhere to stay and find a lighthouse at the end of a lonely road in Downeast Maine. I’ve always wanted to sleep in one–to feel the ghosts of past light keepers and know the constant, never-ceasing beacon is keeping sailors safe. I loved writing about the sound of the waves, the sweep of the beam, and how hard it is to sleep really close to a boy you have a huge crush on.
What was the hardest scene to edit out?
I hesitate before answering this, but I’ll be honest. When Maia is hospitalized for depression in the Turner Institute, one of her roommates commits suicide. I wrote about it in detail–what the roommate was feeling, how she’d spent time in the quiet room (a place in the hospital that’s supposed to be really safe, when the worst emotions are overwhelming you,) and the way her desperation took over. I wrote about the method she used. But then I cut that section out–and here’s why. Anyone who’s been depressed and suicidal, has gotten close but come back from the edge, knows what a terrible, precarious moment that is. People who are in that position seek out and obsess about ways to do it. And doctors know that if you actually “have a plan,” it’s way, way, more serious—whole-other-level serious. Being so depressed, reading about ways other people did it, can be a horribly dangerous trigger. I’ve been there. Including that section would feel so wrong—it would go against what writing the book meant to me. I created the character of Maia and wrote THE BEAUTIFUL LOST hoping that kids who are depressed or who have other forms of mental illness will find a kindred spirit in Maia. I want them to get help, get better. I didn’t want to trigger their despair.
What theme song would you give The Beautiful Lost?
Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show
What else are you currently working on?
I’ve been writing a series of essays about nature, art, and depression, but I am also working on my next novel.
What is the best book you’ve read recently?
REFUGEE by Alan Gratz was amazing–so full of compassion and emotion.
What is currently in your TBR pile?
THE SEED COLLECTORS by Scarlett Thomas
VANILLA by Billy Merrell
EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING by Nicola Yoon
THE GIRLS by Emma Cline
GAME CHANGE by Joseph Monninger