Lost and Found by Nicole Williams
Series: Lost and Found #1
May 6, 2013
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (NA)
There’s complicated. And there’s Rowen Sterling.
After numbing pain for the past five years with boys, alcohol, and all-around apathy, she finds herself on a Greyhound bus to nowhere Montana the summer after she graduates high school. Her mom agreed to front the bill to Rowen’s dream art school only if Rowen proves she can work hard and stay out of trouble at Willow Springs Ranch. Cooking breakfast at the crack of dawn for a couple dozen ranch hands and mucking out horse stalls are the last things in the world Rowen wants to spend her summer doing.
Until Jesse Walker saunters into her life wearing a pair of painted-on jeans, a cowboy hat, and a grin that makes something in her chest she’d thought was frozen go boom-boom. Jesse’s like no one else, and certainly nothing like her. He’s the bright and shiny to her dark and jaded.
Rowen knows there’s no happily-ever-after for the golden boy and the rebel girl—happily-right-now is a stretch—so she tries to forget and ignore the boy who makes her feel things she’s not sure she’s ready to feel. But the more she pushes him away, the closer he seems to get. The more she convinces herself she doesn’t care, the harder she falls.
When her dark secrets refuse to stay locked behind the walls she’s kept up for years, Rowen realizes it’s not just everyone else she needs to be honest with. It’s herself.
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
If there’s anything Rowan knows for certain, it’s that life is just one big series of disappointments. She’s used to it, she’s accepted it, and she’s learned not to try for anything more. But now that high school is over, she has to do something, and she’s had what’s left of her heart set on art school. Only her mom won’t let her have any bit of happiness that easily, and the only way she’ll pay for Rowan to go is if Rowan first spends the summer working on a ranch in the middle of nowhere. The absolute last place someone like Rowan belongs.
I picked this book up for free, along with a bunch of others, and when it came time to pick my next read on my Kindle, it was the cover that caught my eye. But now that I’ve read the book, I don’t feel like it’s right at all. The design is just lovely in its simplicity, with a great mix of fonts and a subtle color overlay that really makes it stand out. But it doesn’t hint at anything western, doesn’t show just how different Rowan’s usual look is, and seems too light for the story it’s supposed to illustrate. There’s something much deeper to the story than the cover portrays.
I absolutely loved it. The fish-out-of-water storyline has been done countless times, but never quite like this.
Rowan is definitely a troubled girl, but even as she is reluctant to trust anyone, even as she doubts herself and feels like she could never deserve the kind of life she finds in Willow Springs, the angst is layered lightly over a lovely romance. She’s put up walls and done all she can to outwardly show distance and apathy, and it all just feels so real.
In striking contrast, Jesse is warm sunshine. He doesn’t fall for Rowan’s disenchanted act and doesn’t judge her for her differences. He just seems to immediately understand her, offering oddly wise comments and occasionally advice. Of course, there’s more to him than smiles and perfect abs, but he’s clearly heaven sent.
Their romance isn’t what I expected, which is a good thing. Though in some ways you could say the story is predictable (of course they’re going to fall in love), the events that get them there are not. Jesse’s relationship with his ex-girlfriend is sad and sweet. Rowen’s reaction to the local bad boy is refreshingly real but shows she’s not just another stupid girl. There were so many places where this book could have followed a very specific, done way too often formula, but instead it took a different route to the happy ending we all want for these two. I can’t really say much more than that, since I don’t want to give it away, but suffice it to say that Lost and Found is a sweet romance, well-written and completely fleshed out, and it’s good enough that I actually *gasp* spent money on the next two books. What is the world coming to?