by Natalie Richards
Published by Sourcebooks
on October 4, 2016
Source: eARC for review
Synopsis from Goodreads: Murder, justice, and revenge were so not a part of the plan when Sera set out on her senior camping trip. After all, hiking through the woods is supposed to be safe and uneventful.Then one morning the group wakes up groggy, confused, and with words scrawled on their wrists: Damaged. Deceptive. Dangerous. Darling. Their supplies? Destroyed. Half their group? Gone. Their chaperone? Unconscious. Worst of all, they find four dolls acting out a murder—dolls dressed just like them. Suddenly it's clear; they're being hunted. And with the only positive word on her wrist, Sera falls under suspicion…
My take: I'm a fan of Natalie Richards's books -- I think my favorite was Six Months Later. While I liked most things about One Was Lost, I did have a few quibbles. On the positive side, I think that the suspense created in this story was really well-done. One Was Lost is the story of a group of high school students on an outdoor hiking and camping trip. When the weather turns bad, the group is split in two by a surging river. They set up camp and regroup ... but then creepy, unexplained things start to happen. Is a killer stalking the group? Or is the killer one of them?
I was definitely gripped by the story and felt like I was right along there with the students, wet and cold and scared. There's an inherent challenge in a thriller to keep up the pace and the suspense and that can sometimes hinder character development. I thought that was the case here. We get a few character traits for each person (divorced parents, tall, adopted) but the story didn't have time to really let the characters grow. I think it might have been more effective to give main character Sera some kind of backstory that made her more vulnerable to what was happening. We did get a romance backstory between Sera and one of the guys, and I felt that worked for the most part.
I think the main negative of the book for me was that, when I got to the end, I didn't feel like much of the explanation was plausible. It was a little out there and to me it didn't make a lot of sense. (And any time that a scary book or movie features creepy little dolls that are supposed to be the characters, I just want to laugh. Pretty Little Liars, I'm looking at you...)
I also thought the hiking group suffers from a very unlucky amount of bad luck (not only bad weather, which happens, but these healthy, prime-of-their-lives teenagers tripped and fell a little too often to be believable to me.)
If you like books that really keep you guessing, I'd definitely try One Was Lost. I'm a stickler for plausibility and you may not be as bothered by the ending as I was. Or, if you haven't yet read a Natalie Richards book, try Six Months Later!