Title: The Art of Losing
Author: Lizzy Mason
Release Date: Feb 19, 2019
Book Form: ARC
Page Count: 336
Genre: YA Contemporary, Romance
Disclaimer: I received this arc in exchange for an honest review from Soho Teen.
“On one terrible night, 17-year-old Harley Langston’s life changes forever. At a party she discovers her younger sister, Audrey, hooking up with her boyfriend, Mike—and she abandons them both in a rage. When Mike drunkenly attempts to drive Audrey home, he crashes and Audrey ends up in a coma. Now Harley is left with guilt, grief, pain and the undeniable truth that her ex-boyfriend (who is relatively unscathed) has a drinking problem. So it’s a surprise that she finds herself reconnecting with Raf, a neighbor and childhood friend who’s recently out of rehab and still wrestling with his own demons. At first Harley doesn’t want to get too close to him. But as Audrey awakens and slowly recovers, Raf starts to show Harley a path forward that she never would have believed possible—one guided by honesty, forgiveness, and redemption.” – Goodreads
The Art of Losing is a hard hitting contemporary novel from debut author Lizzy Mason. In my opinion, this was a great debut novel. Mason seems like she really knows what she’s doing when it comes to writing, and the teens seem fairly real (you know, not like an adult imagining they know what teens are like). I enjoyed reading a YA novel that wasn’t afraid to take a look at the more serious and unpleasant parts of life.
One of my favorite things about this book that is totally arbitrary is the fact that it takes place in Virginia. I don’t read many books that take place near where I grew up, and it was cool to read about places I’d been! I loved the mention of Busch Gardens and Kings Dominion, amusement parks where I spent most of my childhood. This is just a small thing, but something I thought was cool.
There were lots of things I loved that made this book unique. First of all, I liked the normalization of reaching out for help. Characters in this book go to rehab and therapy, and it’s portrayed in a positive light. I love any media that shows that there’s nothing wrong with reaching out to someone else for help when you need it, because we can’t always do everything on our own. They are portrayed as a positive and helpful option for when life gets tough, and I think that’s an important thing to include in a novel for teens. I really appreciated it.
There are also characters of many different shapes and sizes. This book recognizes that not all body types are the same, but makes no one feel bad for looking a certain way. Self image issues are recognized, and I appreciate the little details Lizzy Mason put into the descriptions of the characters. Everyone felt like someone real you would see or know in real life, flaws and all. The characters themselves have character flaws as well, and everyone feels very real.
I also enjoyed the focus on familial relationships. It was heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time to see how Harley developed her relationships with her parents and younger sister, and I was hoping for everything to work out for her. I thought the book had a really satisfying conclusion, as well!
My only problem with the book was that I found it to be a little boring. Not too much, but it felt a little repetitive at times and sometimes I couldn’t quite motivate myself to pick it up and continue reading. But overall I enjoyed this book quite a bit, and I definitely recommend it if you’re into hard hitting contemporaries!
My Rating: ★★★1/2