Melissa Volker’s young adult coming of age story, Anabelle Lost is a beguiling and haunting look at a sheltered young woman’s abrupt upheaval from small town life into a stranger’s existence. While I was immediately concerned when Anabelle was taken away by the authorities and hospitalized, I cheered as she realizes that lying is her only recourse to avoid being held for observation. Then, I could feel her angst and utter sense of isolation as she wanders the streets she’s known all her life and is seen by the people she grew up with as a stranger, as an interloper who was found, much like Goldilocks in the fairy tale, in someone else’s bed. How she holds on to her identity and adapts to her most unusual situation is the stuff of a most enchanting novel.
Anabelle’s strengths, her gifts, her resolute belief in herself hold her in good stead throughout a situation that would challenge the most seasoned adult, and all this happens while she is still an adolescent, even if she is an old soul. Anabelle and her friend, the artist and itinerant, Trent, are marvelous main characters the reader can’t help but come to care about.
Volker’s plot is original, compelling and irresistible as the familiar is turned on its edges, and the photographer who loved seeing the strange angles and play of light is set adrift in her own world that is hiding within the cracks of reality. Anabelle Lost is a first-rate coming of age paranormal thriller and it’s most highly recommended.