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Lost Boy Lost Girl

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  4,270 Ratings  ·  341 Reviews
Nancy Underhill commits suicide for no apparent reason. A week later, her son -- fifteen-year-old Mark -- vanishes. The boy's uncle, novelist Timothy Underhill, searches his hometown of Millhaven for clues that might help unravel this horrible dual mystery. He soon learns that a pedophilic murderer is on the loose in the vicinity, and that shortly before Nancy's suicide, M ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 28th 2004 by Ballantine Books (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
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Jan 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Not an altogether horrible horror novel. It's not, bless us all, the diarrheal trainwreck that was "Ghost Story," one of P. Straub's most strikingly overvalued works. No, this one has the Michael Myers-like phobia of the suburbs, of the persons lurking in the house next door. And if the biggest implausibility of a fifteen year old twink having sex with a salacious ghost girl doesn't strike you as too absurd, then the read is worthwhile. But if like me you had expected to come face-to-face with t ...more
Dirk Grobbelaar
Peter Straub has a way with words. Some people don’t like that. “Too wordy”, they say. Well, I don’t share that sentiment. I could immerse myself in beautiful prose all day long, thank you very much.

lost boy lost girl
A review.

Yes I am here, yes I was real. You denied me.

This is one of the finest examples of literary horror I have ever read. I would like to emphasize that Peter Straub does.not.spoonfeed.his.readers. The “literary” bit is just as important here as the “horror” bit so an apprec
Jul 08, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, print-books
What's not to like in this book? An all male cast filled with one dimensional stereotypes. A major failing of the Bechdel test. A serial killer sub-plot that goes nowhere. An evil house that does nothing. A story about evil where the only person who dies is a suicide, and that's on page one. A story about a ghost where the ghost who finally shows up just wants to have sex...but "off screen," of course. Wouldn't want anything to actually happen in this book, would we?

In a book of dull and offensi
Sep 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy-horror
For some reason I avoided Peter Straub like the plague until one day in my twenties whilst stuck in Penn Station without a book I happened upon a copy of "Lost Boy Lost Girl" and out of desperation bought it. I have never looked back and as soon as I finished it I ran out and read everything else the man has written in something like a month.

"Lost Boy Lost Girl" is a ghost story but its also a story about surviving unspeakable loss.

Successful novelist Tim Underhill (a featured player in several
J.D. Barker
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A haunted and inspired tale as only Straub can weave.
The Behrg
Dec 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was electric.

A ghost story, but not quite a ghost story.
Mysterious, but not quite a mystery.
This is a tough book to pigeonhole under a single genre title and, in truth, I found it more literary fiction than anything. (Though of course Straub is known as a horror author). This book accomplished what so few do in the genre however, and was a carefully crafted rubix cube puzzle that continued to unlock a square at a time in a delightfully fulfilling way. The characters were fully realiz
Jun 30, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinishable
This book is the perfect illustration of why I don't read horror. The author has one mediocre idea, and forcibly bolsters it into a book with flat characters, wooden, implausible dialog and embarassing attempts at proving he did his research on youth culture by tossing in some skate shoe brand names. He's stingy with the "scary" parts, and if I want blood and gore I better stick with Palahniuk and Brite. I thought it might be fun to read something creepy for October, but I may not be finishing t ...more
John Wiswell
Jul 28, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Horror readers, crime readers, supernatural readers
The unsettling account of the connections between a suicide, a missing boy, a missing girl, a serial killer and a haunted house, Lost Boy Lost Girl is a strange amalgam of parts. Even its narrative is scattered for such a short book, with a heavy emphasis on the uncle of the missing boy. His presence is so dominant (despite him being removed from nearly all of the plot, mostly learning of events after they happen) that the more intimate perspectives that come later feel out of place. Straub summ ...more
Kylene Jones
Dec 26, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I was hugely disappointed in this book. It is the story of a young teen that becomes obsessed with an empty house on the other side of the alley where he lives. It is a house that horrible murders took place many years prior. His mom knows the secret of the house and she ends of committing suicide and then the boy disappears. There is a serial killer on the loose and the assumption is he was now a victim of this man. There were parts of the story that were quite interesting but it did jump aroun ...more
Mark Underhill is a typical 15-year-old boy living with his mom and dad in a typical Midwest middle-class neighborhood. His dad is an emotionally distant public school vice principal and his enduring mom works the complaints desk at the gas company. Mark likes music, skateboarding, and hanging out with his best friend, Jimbo. But Mark’s regular life takes a turn when he discovers his mother has committed a gruesome suicide in their own bathtub. From this scene on, Straub’s story attempts to ter ...more
Jan 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
Stephen King consistently recommends Peter Straub as one of the great horror writers of our time, so I've been meaning to sit down with one of his books for awhile. When King's cover blurb proclaimed "May be the best book of his career!" I figured Lost Boy Lost Girl was a good place to start. Unfortunately, I was completely underwhelmed.

It doesn't help that the premise is a muddled one: Famous writer Tim Underhill is called upon to help his brother investigate the disappearance of his nephew Mar
Apr 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This was recommended to me by a friend. I am grateful. I had a difficult time getting started with the book. By the end of the first chapter, I was hooked though. I flew through it. I liked the POV. I enjoyed the setting. It was well orchestrated. I enjoyed the cast. I picked it up because it was a ghost story first. It is much more than that. It was, as advertised, a collection of my favorite elements of horror. I think it has something for almost all walks of horror fans. Check it out.
This is a short story that could have worked at 20-something page count, but instead was stretched to 300. The best thing about it was meeting the familiar characters from Koko, but that's pretty much it.
Lost Boy, Lost Girl is divided into three parts - presentation of the mystery and introduction of the characters and setting - the investigation - the conclusion. Narrated in the third person, the narration constantly switches between the characters and sometimes parts are relayed through one c
Reading is my Escape
Not that ghostly....  

When a single tree fills your lens, the rest of the forest takes on a degree of abstraction.
- Chapter 15

This book was just ok. The ghost story was a bit weak and not that scary. In the first sentence, we find out that Mark's mother is dead. She killed herself, apparently over guilt for not helping someone when she could have. But, how could she? I mean, she left her son alone to face the ghosts she knew existed. I know it happnes, but I just don't get it. And Mark's father
Apr 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
It was not scary at all. There's just this millionaire, Ronald Lloyd-Jones, who was obsessed with a serial killer named Joseph Kalendar and looked up to him so much that he kidnapped boys and tortured them in Kalendar's house since he bought the property after Kalendar left.

I think that we have to give credit for Mark and Jimbo for finding out what crept out Nancy Underhill that led to her suicide. Jimbo too for being a loyal friend to Mark even though he left Mark alone to his search for answer
Emily Davidson
Nov 18, 2011 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rebecca McNutt
May 26, 2015 rated it did not like it
I was expecting a lot from this book, maybe too much, because I was a big fan of Peter Straub's novels Julia and Mystery, but this book was just lifeless rambling. It feeds off of the topic of pedophilia, something that has become very popular lately in the media, but seems to have very little regard for any children in reality who have actually gone through that kind of trauma. The text was mostly filler with very little imagery and choppy sentences, and the characters ere all incredibly boring ...more
Nov 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
I've only read a couple of his books, but I am a fan. This story was a strange one. I was expecting more horror to the story, but in the end it was more supernatural than anything. Odd characters, creepy setting and a mystery. I enjoyed this book!
Shannon Yarbrough
Feb 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
I've known about Peter Straub since my Stephen King days in high school, though I never read "Talisman" which he cowrote with King. When a recent bookstore was going out of business, I snatched up most of Straub's work in paperback and finally decided to give him a try. I started with Lost Boy Lost Girl.

I thought this was a decent read and it reminded me a lot of King's writing, where we are given a horrific story line but the author chooses to avoid the graphic scenarios and instead dwells insi
Mark R.
Jan 07, 2009 rated it liked it
Peter Straub's easy-to-read, fast-paced writing style makes this a pretty fun read. "Lost Boy Lost Girl" is a story that mashes together a few different staples of horror fiction, with ghosts, suicides, and serial killers all converging on one another, in a story that jumps between first- and third-person, past and present.

Parts of the novel are told from the point of view of Tim Underhill, the protagonist, a middle-aged novelist attempting to explain the disappearance of his fifteen-year-old ne
Tee Jay
Apr 13, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
Peter Straub once again dazzles with this horror novel. Indeed, Straub has returned to the style that made him famous.

Anyway, this is a very complex literary novel, the type that begs for a second reading. Although this might throw some readers off, it is the literary complexity that draws me to Straub. The protagonist, Tim Underhill, we’ve met before. If you’re a fan, then you’ve also encountered Tom Pasmore, and the city of Millhaven; in lost boy lost girl we meet them all again.

The thing I fi
Apr 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
I am currently taking a course that requires students to read one book from each literary genre. Recently, we began the Horror genre. I selected this book to read. I do not read horror novels often, but I have read a few and enjoyed them.

This book was neither scary nor suspenseful to me, so I was never able to become interested. I was also irritated by the poor and stereotypical portrayal of teen lingo. The odd insertions of the word "yo" in dialogue was annoying. Also, the emails shown in the b
Aug 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A creepy, entertaining read. Had me hooked from the beginning and didn't let me go until the very end.

Highly recommended to any horror fan.
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
I liked this oine a great deal, but I know it would not have made a lick of sense to me if I hadn't already read "In the Night Room."
Casey Bartsch
Jul 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Even at the very beginning of my read of this short novel, I was on the road to a five-star review. In the middle, I was just as enthralled. Oh, the places this could go! A little further, and things began to unravel, and by the time I finished the last sentence, we had lost a couple of stars.

First a quick detailing of the premise, no spoilers yet.

Lost Boy Lost Girl is about many things. A mother that commits suicide, her husband who is a jackass, her son whose curiosity about the house next do
David Raz
Lost Boy Lost Girl by Peter Straub
Hebrew review follows סקירה בעברית בהמשך
This book is not awful, but it is not good either. It is decently spooky, especially in the middle third of the book, and decently entertaining if you enjoy horror/mystery books, but it is nothing special.
It lacks in two important ways. First, it is too obvious. I think I realized what was going on about quarter of the way down and from there on it was just a matter of validation. Second the ending (and by that I mean som
Bruce Smith
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, haunted-house
Great story with lots of unusual twists, and hints of past books. It has a little gore and a little romance, and some characters you love to hate or pity or both. Straub doesn't bludgeon the reader with sex or violence. He requires the reader to think about and visualize. The reader must draw their own conclusions, and different readers are bound to have different interpretations.
Stephen McQuiggan
Mar 08, 2018 rated it liked it
A boy becomes obsessed with a house on Michigan street, and with the girl inside. It used to belong to a serial killer and now the local kids are going missing. Time to wheel out some familiar characters - Underhill and Pasmore -for another outing in one of Straub's bizarre worlds that exist just a finger scratch beneath this one. The house is one of the best things in the entire book - Straub really brings it alive - and, also worthy of note, is the brief moment Ronnie Lloyd Jones has in the sp ...more
May 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picked this book up in the library because the title intrigued me and I had nothing with me to read. Couldn't put it down. A fascinating story with an intriguing and satisfying ending.

There are many disturbing elements to this story, but for me personally, that simply adds to the overall effect. I know some people who hate disturbing books to the point where they will throw the book out in the trash, and while I don't like seeing mistreated books like that, it's your book so whatever. That's fin
Dec 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
The story seemed intriguing but I kept feeling like the author didn't give any credit to his readers. The reader is constantly being told things explicitly rather than letting anything be left to the imagination ["Jimbo hesitated, and now I know exactly why. He had to think about going further" (p. 224)].

Another annoyance is that the narrator switches even within a paragraph so the author can tell you exactly what every single person is thinking and feeling. "In Jimbo's frank stare, Tim could se
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Around the Year i...: Lost Boy Lost Girl, by Peter Straub 1 10 Oct 14, 2017 11:06PM  
South Shore Readers: Discussion: Lost Boy Lost Girl 10 23 Nov 01, 2012 06:17PM  
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Peter Straub was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 2 March, 1943, the first of three sons of a salesman and a nurse. The salesman wanted him to become an athlete, the nurse thought he would do well as either a doctor or a Lutheran minister, but all he wanted to do was to learn to read.

When kindergarten turned out to be a stupefyingly banal disappointment devoted to cutting animal shapes out of heavy
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