Jessa Whitworth has lost the only boy she has ever loved. Jessa Whitworth has lost her friends. Jessa Whitworth has lost “herself.”
Many months have passed since Jessa’s ex-boyfriend, Caleb, died but she still cannot find the strength to move on with her life. So when Caleb’s mother asks Jessa to clean out his room, things go from bad to worse.
“The room is full of you, Jessa”. Caleb’s mother was right. His room is overflowing with their memories, every item carrying its own story, each one more painful than the last. However, as Jessa makes her way through Caleb’s belongings, she begins to find answers to the questions that have haunted her for months; discovering a dark secret that will change everything she thought she knew about the boy she loved.
“Fragments of the Lost” is such an exciting read and I would recommend it to anyone who likes Young Adult fiction. It is filled with twists and turns and characters that keep you invested throughout. Megan Miranda provides a realistic depiction of the grieving process through Jessa’s character. Jessa is lost, alone and unable to move on without closure. “Why” was Caleb where he was when he died? “What” was he going to say to her hours before he died? Did he still “love” her?
Anyone who has lost someone special to them will know the desperate need for closure. You wish you could take back all the hurtful things you said. Miranda shows this through Jessa’s character as she puts herself through the torturous procedure of clearing out Caleb’s room just so she can find some answers. Sorting through his things is painful but it makes her feel closer to Caleb and closer to the truth.
Miranda’s characterisation is brilliant in this novel. I found myself hooked on Jessa Whitworth and her story and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the obstacles and situations she faced. It was beautiful how she started getting her life back together and, as a reader, I loved being part of that journey from grief to acceptance. Miranda’s characters were three dimensional that kept you invested throughout. They are not just names on a page that weave in and out of the story, but characters with real personalities and traits that you will come to recognise.
Megan Miranda’s structure style meant that we were able to learn about Caleb and his relationship with Jessa. The narrative is in literal fragments as each chapter/segment flips between the present and the past based on what item she has found in Caleb’s room. The plot is built around the memories and flashbacks that the objects provoke, giving the reader an understanding of the kind of relationship the pair shared and how it began to unravel. I found this particularly helpful because I was able to understand her grief more and also felt a sense of loss myself as I got to know Caleb. In addition to this, I found this structure vibrant and refreshing and I was continuously excited with anticipation of where the memories would take me next.
Miranda also manages to create a love-triangle that is not cliché. Caleb’s best friend, Max spends a lot of time with the couple throughout the narrative and it soon becomes obvious that there is a spark between the two. However, the two boys are polar opposites. Caleb is the mysterious, passionate rebel while Max is the gentle, aware carer. The contrast between the two offer a problematic situation that even the reader would struggle to resolve. “Caleb or Max?”
The story wonderfully explores youth culture and highlights how difficult school life can be. It acknowledges that, no matter how old you are, grief can change who you are for the rest of your life. “Fragments of the Lost” emits the message that you can overcome grief, it will be hard and you won’t be the same on the other side, but you can overcome it. Miranda has created a message, a story and characters that the masses can relate to.
“Fragments of the Lost” is my first encounter with Megan Miranda’s work and upon finishing the novel I ordered her other works. I found her style of writing so refreshing and digestible. This is not a book to be missed!
I would give this a 4 out of 5.