The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey is a book that book lovers will find relatable. Like many chronic bookworms (myself included), main character Darcy Wells spends most of her mental energy living inside the worlds of books. Inside this world, she’s safe from her grim reality — a mother who obsessively hoards, a grandmother who is about to cut her off financially, and a new property manager who is trying to nose his way into their house, which will surely lead to eviction. All of these problems need solutions, and with her mother too emotionally crippled to help, all the responsibility falls on Darcy.
Enter Asher Fleet, a recent high school graduate whose dreams of being a pilot were shattered by a car accident that leaves him suffering from migraines and all kinds of health issues. Asher is working for his uncle in construction while he tries to figure out his future, still clinging to the hope that someday he will fly again. He chooses, for some mysterious reason, to start hanging out at the bookstore where Darcy works on his lunch break, and the two grow closer. He’s cute, charming, understanding, and he loves books… but there’s one problem. Darcy has no idea how to talk to boys. She’s read more romances than she can count, but never participated in one. She constantly asks herself, “What would Elizabeth Bennet or Jane Eyre or Anne Shirley do?”
But Darcy’s problem is bigger than just talking to this boy. If she really wants to build a relationship with him, she’s going to have to trust him, and even bigger than that, she’s going to have to let him into her life, mother’s hoard and all.
As a massive booklover myself, I related to this book so hard. Throughout this novel, Darcy has to go through what all book lovers eventually need to face: how do I live my life outside the pages of a book? Darcy escapes the hardships of life through books, she learns how to act through books, and she is never without a book in her hand. She breathes other people’s stories. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but eventually you have to put down the book and live your own story. What I loved about this book in particular was that even after Darcy starts to participate in her own life more and reads less, she never stops reading. Books have become a secondary part of her life, but they will always be a key part.
Another thing to love about this book are the great characters and great relationships. The romance is adorable and fun while still being deeply vulnerable. Every book-loving girl deserves an Asher. Darcy’s best friend, Marisol, is a true gem. She comes from a big half-Mexican, half-Cuban family that just leaps off the page, and Marisol’s personality is even bigger, but what I really love about her is how much love and support she gives to Darcy. The two are complete opposites, but they fit together perfectly. My favorite relationship, however, was between Darcy and her mother. Seeing Darcy struggle to deal with her mother broke my heart. Despite how hard it is for Darcy to juggle trying to make money and deal with her mom’s hoarding while still being a teenager, she refuses to leave her mom, which I relate to, and I felt like it was such an honest portrayal of family.
If you love contemporary novels about honest, painful, but heartwarming relationships and dealing with mental illness and trauma, The Library of Lost Things is for you. It will make you laugh and smile, but it will also make your heart ache. Even if you are not a book lover, I promise you will love it, but if you are, it just makes it even better.