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

A Field Guide to Getting Lost

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  310 ratings  ·  91 reviews
A girl with a passion for science and a boy who dreams of writing fantasy novels must figure out how to get along now that their parents are dating.

Sutton is having robot problems. Her mini-bot is supposed to be able to get through a maze in under a minute, but she must have gotten something wrong in the coding. Which is frustrating for a science-minded girl like Sutton—al
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published April 14th 2020 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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 A Field Guide to Getting Lost, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Field Guide to Getting Lost

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  310 ratings  ·  91 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of A Field Guide to Getting Lost
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


This was a very fun short middle grade story to read! It is always difficult to adapt to any changes in our routine lives. Hence, I loved how the author tackled the subject of children adapting to their parent’s dating lives.

There characters are unique and well written. Initially I did not like Sutton that much. I thought she was too bossy and close-minded and did not like the idea of change. However, the author progressed the story in such a nice manner. Similar to L
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book, great story, great author and a great read! For the young and the young at heart! Highly recommend!
Alex  Baugh
The thing about robotics and coding that nine-year-old homeschooled Sutton Jensen likes is that is it always black and white - if you code correctly, your program responded as expected. Not like a mom and dad who marry and then get divorced, or a mom who's always off studying emperor penguins in Antartica and who sometimes misses big events in Sutton's life. Hopefully, she'll make it home for Sutton's upcoming 10th birthday. And now her dad Martin is dating a woman named Elizabeth and it's start ...more
Jessica Lawson
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Holy smokes, my full review is coming, but for now, just know that I LOVE this book for so many reasons. The VOICE, the HUMOR, the everyday DETAILS (the kind that make you feel like you're walking around a scene), THE CHARACTERS, and especially the HONESTY about some hard, hard topics that I know (from personal experience) are very hard to endure. Sutton and Luis are two very different kids whose parents have started dating. That's not just awkward--it's ...well, it's really hard--because both o ...more
Danielle Hammelef
This book will be a guaranteed winner with all readers. This novel, told in alternating dual perspectives of Sutton and Luis, has an authentic middle grade voice that readers will immediately connect to and relate to as the author never pulls her reader out of character. The supporting characters--the parents, friends, and neighbors are also so real, so supportive, so loving and involved that I wanted to be in their lives.

Set in Seattle, one of my favorite cities, the setting details pop through
Sarah Sammis
A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Joy McCullough is set in Seattle. Sutton and her father live in the same apartment building as her mother. But her parents are divorced and her mother is usually absent — down in Antartica studying penguins. Meanwhile, Luis and his mother live across town. Luis has terrible, life threatening allergies. Luis and Sutton's parents are dating and now they want the children to meet.

CC6666 - siblings home offroad
Jenn of The Bookish Society
Sutton and Luis meet when their parents start dating. They have nothing in common at all. Finding a way to get along or even maybe becoming friends (or step-siblings!) is a challenge. Sutton's mom is in Antarctica and is going to miss her 10th birthday and the robot she's working on. Luis is entirely different. Not sciencey at all. He writes stories about things he is afraid of (including dogs). They do begin to work together when they find themselves in a sticky situation. Funny, suspenseful, s ...more
Sharon Roat
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Kids are gonna love Luis and Sutton! (Adults will also love these kids... I did!) This book just feels good. I read an advance copy and can't wait for this story to be out in the world making the world a better place. ...more
Stormi (BMReviewsohmy)
I had seen this one when I was looking for middle grade books for my anticipated list, it didn't make the cut but I still kind of wanted to read it and I am so glad I found this on hoopla because it was really cute. 

Sutton is a science girl who is trying to code a small robot into doing what she wants it to and getting really frustrated that she can't figure out a piece of code. Luis loves to write about adventures and doing thrilling things but he can't do them himself because he is allergic to
Wrenn Nicodemo
Apr 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the heartwarming story of two kids, Sutton and Luis, whose parents have recently begun dating. The story is told from alternating points of view: Sutton, a science-minded girl who is laser-focused on coding a mini robot, and Luis, a creative boy writing his own novel who really suffers from severe allergies. The pacing of the plot is good in that the story is centered around two attempts (by the dating parents) to have a "family" activity. The first outing is a flop but soon followed by ...more
Maria McGrath
Nov 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
Luis and Sutton are beatifully earnest characters trying to get along as best they can despite the obstacles life has thrown at them. Luis, a budding writer, feels his life tightly circumscribed by life-threatening allergies and a loving but (rightly) concerned mother. Sutton sees herself as a scientist like her faraway mother, often feels more comfortable with pixels than people, and fears that her primary caregiver, her dad, may be slipping away thanks to a new romantic interest.
As Luis's mom
Mrs. Mazzola
Great story about two kids who get thrown together when their parents begin dating. Their awkwardness and quirky behaviors are captured realistically and with care and I was happy to see a kid with severe allergies as a main character, but the allergies were not the focus of his story. The "adventure" (the getting lost part of the story) is light, perfect for readers who want a gentle story with a happy ending. I also like that the story is told in alternating perspectives and each chapter is sh ...more
Connie T.
A feel good book about two very different kids seeking common ground and learning to work together, all because their parents are dating. Sutton is a little stand-offish (I wonder if she's on the spectrum?) and Luis wants nothing more than to fully engage in life, despite his limitations. On the surface, they have nothing in common but they're willing to do what it takes to get along. (Experience tells me most kids would grumble!) Multicultural and multigenerational characters add to the appeal. ...more
Kate Grace
Apr 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is such a funny and sweet middle-grade novel.

I loved seeing how Sutton and Luis become a part of each other’s life. In general, the friends and family who surround these kids are great. And the Seattle backdrop almost takes on a life of its own, too.

Thank you to Joy McCullough, Atheneum (Simon & Schuster) and Goodreads Giveaways for my copy.
Emily Masters
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s, 2020
I loved it! Quick and easy read with characters that felt real for their ages.
Sep 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
Very cute. Real characters. Short read.
Mahi Senthilkumar
This middle grade novel made me cry, cheese at the ceiling from cuteness, and most importantly re-upped my appreciation for young kids as characters and as readers. Wish I had been introduced to more books like this as a kid
Mar 20, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Trigger Warning: Dangerous representation of food allergies. Do NOT recommend for food allergic kids. (And I know, because I actually have life-threatening food allergies, which the author seemingly does not, based on the poor representation in the book.)

tl; dr: OwnVoices representation of Disability is vital. This book appears to have been written by someone who does not have life threatening allergies, yet there is a POV character with that medical condition, and the representation of what it'
Kristin Crouch
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the author and publisher for sharing an ARC with Collabookation.
Sutton loves robotics, lives with her dad while her mom is far away collecting data on penguins, and is homeschooled. Luis lives with his mom, loves writing adventure stories, and is allergic to everything.
Both protagonists are working through some things: Sutton's mom being away is getting to be a challenge. Sutton's dad is a wonderful caretaker, but having her mom away for her birthday is hard for her to digest. Lui
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have been looking for more titles with blended families for the Library and this book fits the bill perfectly. A Field Guide to Getting Lost is a gently told story about two children who become friends after learning their parents are dating and ready to make their relationship more official. A Field Guide to Getting Lost is one of those wonderful stories full of diverse and relatable characters that will appeal to a wide range of audiences. Not only do we have families who have dealt with the ...more
Tonja Drecker
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Two very different personalities from two maybe or maybe not so very different worlds come together in a touching and engaging tale.

Sutton's parents are divorced, and her mother is constantly away studying penguins. Like her mom, Sutton loves science, but unlike her mom, she's into robots and programming—and she's fairly talented at it too. But when her mom announces she won't be there for Sutton's birthday, and her father gets more serious with the woman he's been dating, Sutton's not sure her
Kate Waggoner
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-read
Thank you to #NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing for allowing me the opportunity to read a digital ARC of A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Joy McCullough. This middle grades contemporary novel will be released on April 14, 2020. All opinions are my own.

Sutton is almost 10 years old and lives with her father in an apartment in Seattle. Her mother is a scientist researching penguin migration in Antarctica, and Sutton has just learned that her mom won't be home for her 10th bir
Sierra Dertinger
Apr 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sutton lives in a quaint apartment, loves to code her robots, and is homeschooled by her loving father, while her mother is in South Antarctica saving penguins (a thankless job). The problem is that Sutton hardly sees her mom with this new job, and the fact that her dad and mom are divorced.
Luis lives in the perfect home with his mother, Elizabeth, whom is always checking in on him. He is allergic to peanuts, bees, and countless other things that resolve in EpiPen injections and emergency trips
First, kudos to Isabel Roxas ( for the beautiful cover art because after all I tend to judge a book by its cover. 😉

The story generally follows a father with his daughter and a mother with her son as they move toward the possibility of blending the two families. The cast of characters in their lives are diverse and heart-warming and provide a firm foundation to the overall story direction. But the story really is about the two children and their efforts to find their direction in
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for an eARC of this book.

This is the author's debut middle grade book, but many will be familiar with her YA historical fiction novel in verse BLOOD WATER PAINT. In A FIELD GUIDE TO GETTING LOST, two kids (Sutton and Luis) are brought together because their parents are dating. Sutton loves science and robotics, and is struggling with the absence of her mom who is working in Antarctica. Luis is a writer who loves fantasies since his numerous allergies keep
Mar 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-reviews
Thank you to NetGalley and Atheneum Books for Young Readers for sending me a free ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.

A Field Guide To Getting Lost is a charming and humorous middle grade story about unlikely friends and navigating your way through life’s difficulties.

McCullough does a wonderful job of creating likable, realistic characters while tackling an ambitious range of subjects. I particularly enjoyed the little bits of humor throughout the story and how honestly McCullough portra
This book was a random find on Hoopla. Overall the story was enjoyable but I don’t see it being a book that kids are still talking about 20 years from now.

We listened to the audiobook version. My kids did not care for the voices of some the characters in the audio version and my 7 year old said the back and forth of different main characters telling the story was confusing. My 12 and 10 year olds said the kids didn’t seem like the ages they were portraying. At times they seemed way too young an
Katie Reilley
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the author and publisher for sharing an early copy with our #bookexpedition group.

Sutton’s parents are divorced. She lives with her dad while her mom is in Antarctica, researching penguin migration. She’s a science-minded kid who’s dealing with programming issues, both with her mini-bot and in her own life. Luis lives with his mom, having lost his dad to cancer years ago. While his creative writing is fantasy driven (Star Wars and Harry Potter are favorites), he’s usually stuck in
Apr 08, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sutton and Luis are only children. The one thing they have in common is that their parents (Sutton's dad and Luis' mom) are dating. And it is getting serious.

Sutton has a passion for robotics and wants to impress her mom, at least when her mom finally comes back from months studying penguins in Antarctica. While her mom is away, she lives with her dad and feeds her scientific passions as a homeschooled student. Only now her dad seems to be more serious about someone he's been dating. And that fr
Jessica Harrison
A Field Guide to Getting Lost is Joy McCullough’s debut middle-grade novel, but you’d never know that. Her writing is so comfortable and inviting, you’d think she’d spent years writing for this age group. There’s a natural cadence to her prose that lends to its authenticity.

Sutton and Luis are as different as can be, but they are equally likeable. Sutton has a dogged determinedness that is endearing. I think most readers can easily commiserate with Luis. Everyone can imagine not being able to ea
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Brave Like That
  • The Queen Bee and Me
  • The Elephant's Girl
  • A Place at the Table
  • What Lane?
  • My Life as a Potato
  • Ways to Make Sunshine (Ryan Hart, #1)
  • The Incredibly Dead Pets of Rex Dexter (The Incredibly Dead Pets of Rex Dexter, #1)
  • Tune It Out
  • American as Paneer Pie
  • The Girl and the Witch's Garden
  • The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez
  • Any Day with You
  • Every Missing Piece
  • Wink
  • The Canyon's Edge
  • A Wish in the Dark
  • Efrén Divided
See similar books…

News & Interviews

The coming season is a big one for the science fiction and fantasy genres, with the release of some of 2021's most anticipated speculative...
127 likes · 78 comments