Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “How To Be Lost” as Want to Read:
How To Be Lost
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

How To Be Lost

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  5,119 ratings  ·  590 reviews
To their neighbours in suburban Holt, New York, the Winters family has it all: a grand home, a trio of radiant daughters and a sense of security in their affluent corner of America.But when five-year-old Ellie disappears, the fault lines within the Winters family are exposed.

Fifteen years later, Caroline, now a New Orleans cocktail waitress, sees a photograph of a woman in
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 2nd 2006 by Arrow (first published 2004)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about How To Be Lost, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about How To Be Lost

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Sarah B.
Terrible writing. I recently heard the author Mavis Gallant say in an interview that she doesn't like reading her early writing because she used to be lazier about her language in a way that makes her cringe now. If Amanda Eyre Ward plans to continue her career as a novelist, she might want to start thinking about this sooner rather than later. Her prose is bland and artless. Sadly, so are her characters, each of which is a stereotype: the lonely mother who covers up her grief with overzealous c ...more
Although it wasn't a very lengthy book (290 pages), I was amazed at how quickly I read it (I think it took 3 days). The story is immediately compelling: five-year-old Ellie disappears from her opulent Long Island hometown, destroying what little sanity her family has left and leaving her two older sisters to forever wonder what has become of her. Many years later, Caroline, the oldest sister, sees a picture of a woman she is sure is her missing sister and embarks on a journey in search of her.

Feb 19, 2008 Stephanie rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stephanie by: Tiffani Nelson
It was hard to get into this book and once I finally did, the ending was a complete let down. So if you don't mind crappy endings and slow starts, this book is totally for you.
Kathy Kubik
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
My copy of Amanda Eyre Ward’s novel How To Be Lost came with an unusual guarantee: the publisher promised to refund your money if you didn’t like it as much as The Lovely Bones. I suppose at the time of its publication, comparison to the juggernaut that was The Lovely Bones would seem like high praise indeed. But I won’t be writing to collect my refund, thanks very much. I loved How To Be Lost and, in fact, I think I liked it even more than The Lovely Bones which, in my opinion, started off with ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Caroline strained relationship with her mother puts her in a awkward position. While she is originally from New York, she moves to New Orleans for a simple life without the need to satisfy her mother. When she decides not to come home for the holidays, her mother is disturbed and will not settle for anything other than a yes. Giving in to temptation, she sucks it up and home. The bond of her family has not been the same since her sister Ellie disappeared years ago, the pressure to stay quiet is ...more
Wow, excellent book, goes straight to the top of my list (and the first book I've read in a while that I devoured). If I had started this at bed time, I would have read til 3 in the morning. As it was, I read it in one sitting on a long plane ride. Thanks Nadine for mentioning this book(and I'll return the LPL copy at the end of the week). I can't wait to read her first novel! And I hope she writes lots more. A terrific book about a women trying to come to terms with her dysfunctional family (ar ...more
I don’t think anybody needs help in figuring out how to be lost, but at one point or another we may need help figuring out how to be found, or how to find ourselves. Amanda Eyre Ward’s book, How to Be Lost, is the story of a woman in search of her lost sister who eventually finds herself.

Caroline Winters in the oldest of three sisters. She and her younger sisters live a seemingly charmed life in New York. The family lives in a beautiful home in an expensive neighborhood, but behind the closed f
I really enjoyed the writing and flow of this book. It took just a little bit to get into the flow of the story-telling which changed throughout the book from one character's perspective, to another character's written correspondence, to a recounting of another set of characters' pasts. It was really interesting and kept my attention. Even when I felt like I understood the "mystery" of the book, I was intrigued and a bit on the edge of my seat to see how things would play out. Quite a few beauti ...more
I felt this book lacked serious depth. Much of the search for the adult Ellie was unbelievable and seemed like a lot of good luck chances. The other part that bothered me the most was the actual transistion of the abduction. I realize that children abducted may eventually believe their new life is real, but even at 5, I don't think she would have believed that her name was different, and that her dad was different, and her mom was dead all on the first day. Although this part being told from the ...more
Jane Glendinning
This book had been on my shelf for some time. When I finally started reading it, it was obvious to me who recommended it. I like character driven novels, and every single recomendation by the owner of a local bookstore has been spot on. I couldn't wait to get back to the characters in this book and find where they were headed.
Ian Laird
This is my first review on Goodreads so I hope it goes well - the standard is so high. Here goes...

Such an evocative word 'lost'. Gone, mislaid, a state of being no longer attainable, forgotten. A litttle girl is lost but her mum is also lost- in a different way. So are her sisters.

How to be Lost has a compelling idea at its core- but the unfolding story never quite matches the promise. Five year old Ellie disappears in unexplained circumstances and Amanada Eyre Ward examines the profound and c
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
So, I feel bad giving this a 2 star rating, because it wasn't a bad book. But the wording was pretty accurate that "It was ok." I think of that as similar to "It wasn't bad." I really feel that someone else might enjoy it a lot more because rather than a kidnapping story it's a story about the main character's relationships with her family and those around her after her sister's loss. However, I don't feel that point was driven home cleverly enough. In her journey to find her sister she encounte ...more
This book was a very quick, easy read. I would have liked to see more character development with several of the characters. Also, there were many parts of the book, other than the characters, that I was hoping for the author to expand upon that she didn't. I don't want to give details because it will ruin what there is to the book!

I am used to reading many books with very detailed description focused on character development. In a sense, the very things I wished for the author to expand upon in
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I was really disappointed in this book. The premise was terrific -- two decades after the disappearance of her little sister, Caroline Winters sees a photo in a magazine that looks just like her missing sibling. After putting her life on hold (giving up Juilliard in favor of serving drinks in the Big Easy), Caroline must decide whether to give up the half-life she has in favor of finally discovering the truth about her absent sister.

The problem was that I didn't care about a single person in th
I started and finished this book in one night. I have not done so in such a long time. Ms. Amanda Eyre Ward captured my attention with the first few chapters. There is a lot of flashbacks that help move the story along at a steady pace. It reminded me a bit of a lifetime movie that you happened to flip to and truly holds your attention to the very end. I enjoyed it for the most part, although at times I felt that some parts were rather rushed and was not a fan of how the ending. It just ended, j ...more
A story about three sisters, Caroline who is a cocktail waitress in New Orleans, Madeline, pregnant, married and in New York and Ellie, the little sister who was lost when she was five years old. The book explores Caroline's journey to find her sister and herself. The book provides a few twists and surprises but the ending is trite, almost as though the author forgot to finish the book. My favorite line from the book (page 41): "When you are small, if you reach out, and nobody takes your hand, y ...more
I wish the whole book (or at least more of it) had been told from Agnes' perspective (view spoiler) Her letters were my favourite part and I would have loved more. Perhaps even the inclusion of her correspondence with her "Alaskan hunk" would have been a wonderful addition? I just didn't care as much for Caroline's character.
The story as a whole was somewhat lacking... The writing could have been better, as well. But it was an enjoyable, quick read and aft
Well-written, and interestingly constructed. I wasn't really grabbed by any of the characters though, despite it being a wrenching story. Too much drinking and smoking going on to make anyone truly likable! And Agnes was just weird. It reminded me a bit of a Jodi Picoult novel in terms of the storyline.

The best thing I can say is I read it in a day, it was almost unputdownable. And that means I read 2 books in one (otherwise busy) weekend. I haven't done that in the longest time, and it felt goo
I'm so mad at this book! I just re-read the back, where it tells you what it's about, and it's hardly like that at all. The story is completely Caroline's, and has hardly anything to do with Joseph, at least. I just feel like I got ripped the story wasn't complete. Most of the time I hate it when authors go too far in depth with their characters, but this book didn't go even an inch into depth, with the exception of Caroline. I feel like I'm missing half of the story!
I liked the idea but I just didn't think it was written well. The way Agnes wrote her letters was what I hated the most. It was like writing in an open chat form online by saying things like be right back etc. But she was writing in letter form so it just didn't make sense the way she wrote. I felt like at times there was too much info given like details but then other times I was left wondering and wanting more information. There were even parts that I just question. Like I get character develo ...more
This book reads like a very good example of a college fiction writer's final class project. Which is nice for college, but not so much for a published work. Solid ideas, but mediocre execution. One of those books that makes you say, "Hell, I oughta write me somethin.'" I didn't care one whit about any of the characters. Heck, I never even felt like I got to know them, the writing was so superficial.
The story was only somewhat compelling and I thought the book was poorly written, so much so that I thought anybody could have written it. The sentences were short and choppy, with very little nuance or style. The language tried to be descriptive but again, was overly bland and obvious. A high school student could have written this book.
Found this buried on a shelf as we are cleaning out. Didn't remember whether I had read it or not...could be a bad sign. Thought that the storyline was interesting but the writing didn't thrill me. Quick and easy read for me on Christmas break for educational policy reading so at least entertaining.
I enjoyed this and found it an easy, quick read - I've been looking for those lately after getting bogged down in a couple of longer and more demanding books. I liked the style of writing, but didn't always find the story completely believable and don't think it will stick in my mind for very long.
This was perhaps the worst book I have ever read. I was compelled by the mystery to finish it, which was a mistake. I felt like it was saturated in references to alcohol and hard liquor, and was just generally left feeling like it didn't deliver anything of value.
3.5 This was an interesting read. The writing flows so effortlessly that I had trouble putting it down. It's all about a family dealing with the loss of a child. Not morbid or graphic, thank goodness.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Family History
  • Eye Contact
  • The Book of Bright Ideas
  • Girls in Trouble
  • Somebody Else's Daughter
  • Pieces of My Sister's Life
  • Blue Water
  • Any Bitter Thing
  • Whistling In the Dark
  • A Soft Place to Land
  • Daughter's Keeper
  • The Hiding Place
  • The Slow Moon
  • The Myth of You and Me
  • Happiness Sold Separately
  • A Theory of Relativity
  • Sacred Ground
  • An Actual Life
Amanda Eyre Ward was born in New York City in 1972. Her fifth novel, THE SAME SKY, will be published on January 27, 2015. She lives in Austin, TX with her family.

The Same Sky

A beautiful and heartrending novel about motherhood, resilience, and faith—a ripped-from-the-headlines story of two families on both sides of the American border.

Alice and her husband, Jake, own a barbecue restaurant in Austi
More about Amanda Eyre Ward...
Close Your Eyes The Same Sky Sleep Toward Heaven Forgive Me Love Stories in This Town

Share This Book

“When you are small, if you reach out, and nobody takes your hand, you stop reaching out, and reach inside, instead.” 30 likes
“Is reading a sport?” 14 likes
More quotes…