When We Were Lost by Kevin Wignall

Title: When We Were Lost
Author: Kevin Wignall
Genre: YA Fiction
Rating: 5/5

“It’s called the butterfly effect, and it’s the part of chaos theory that everyone loves”

After a high school field trip goes wrong when the airplane crash lands in a jungle in Costa Rica, the students must band together and try to survive. Students begin to be picked off one by one as they come face to face with dangerous animals, insects, and scorching heat. As their situation becomes more dire, a fight for leadership takes place, causing a division in the group. The students must choose who will lead them out of the jungle or risk never escaping.

“Someone else would die, no matter what Tom tried to do to stop that happening – it was really a question of who and how and when.”

This book had a strong Lord of the Flies by William Golding vibe to it. Since all of the adults die in the airplane crash, it is up to the kids to come together and survive on their own. However, like Lord of the Flies, one of the kids soon grows power hungry and makes some questionable decisions. One of the most significant differences between the two books is the age of the characters. Where in Lord of the Flies the kids are ages 6-12, in this book they are all in high school. I think having older characters makes it more relatable for an older audience.

“Standing there holding it, he really did look like a character from Lord of the Flies, and Tom wondered if anyone outside of AP Lit knew how that story ended.”

When We Were Lost was a really quick and easy read because the language was written for a young adult audience. However, it can still be enjoyed by all audiences alike. I am a big fan of survival books such as Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer and Hatchet by Gary Paulsen so I found the survival aspects of this book intriguing. Like the others that I mentioned, it makes you put yourself into the characters’ shoes and try to decide what you would do in that type of situation. When We Were Lost was a great reminder on how dangerous and unforgiving the jungle can be and just how difficult it would be to escape it without the proper knowledge.

“They’d all been made new by that plane crash, and if they survived, if he managed to avoid any more snakes, these days in the jungle would be the dates that defined the rest of their lives.”

My attention was held from the start of the book to the finish. There were lots of plot twists and exciting moments that kept me locked in. Kevin Wignall did a great job describing the scenes in a vivid way that made them feel more real. There is one particular scene with spiders (if you have read it, then you know exactly what I am talking about) that had my skin crawling. If you are looking for a quick,  exciting read then I recommend you try When We Were Lost!

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