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We Are Lost and Found

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  682 ratings  ·  223 reviews
A poignant, heartbreaking, and uplifting story in the tradition of The Perks of Being a Wallflower about three friends coming of age in the early 1980s as they struggle to forge their own paths in the face of fear of the unknown.

Michael is content to live in the shadow of his best friends, James, an enigmatic teen performance artist who everyone wants and no one can have
Hardcover, 290 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Sourcebooks Fire (first published September 1st 2019)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  682 ratings  ·  223 reviews

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Larry H
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Utterly gorgeous and emotionally evocative, Helene Dunbar's We Are Lost and Found feels like pages from a person's diary. It so effectively and beautifully captures the early 1980s in New York City, what it was like to be a teenager struggling with your sexuality and your desire to be loved and be seen, and the uncertainties and fears of the early days of AIDS.

Michael, James, and Becky are best friends. While Michael and Becky are still in high school, James is two years older, and is a
C.G. Drews
This was so exceptionally beautiful and haunting. And I am just . I read half of it in one sitting and then just made myself stop so I could absorb the emotions (plus I didn't want it to be over so fast?!) It definitely gave me Perks of Being a Wallflower vibes, but it was still unique and it's own whole self. It's so deeply about anxiety and being lost to it, but also about healing. And those are the kind of books that just make my heart swell.

yes pls wreck me, dear books, but also leave me
3.5 "1980s gay teen angst with a bit too much" stars !!

Thank you to Netgalley, Sourcebooks and the author for a copy of this book. In exchange I am providing my review. This book is to be released September 2019.

I pushed this up my reading list to make it my Pride read of 2019.

There is a lot to like in Ms. Dunbar's novel of three teen best friends living their lives in 1983 New York. The time and place felt very genuine with many cultural and musical icons, the club scene, fighting over the
♡ ᴅ ʀ ᴇ ᴀ ᴍ ♡ (semi-hiatus)
3 / 5 stars

[ e-ARC received from NetGalley ]

after reading we are lost and found, i’m going to say that this book was just ok for me in overall. it was neither good nor bad but there were some things about this book that bothered me so much and i wanna tell you about them.

first is the lack of quotation marks. i found it quite hard to read sometimes because i did not know whether someone was saying or not.

second is the plot. i feel like it was not interesting enough to keep my attention.

anna (½ of readsrainbow)
first of all, read Like a Love Story instead which is also a ya book set during the aids crisis in new york & centering a gay teen, only it's written by a gay author who actually lived it

now. this is a pretty well written book, even if the lack of quotation marks in dialogues is annoying & extremely pretentious.

but this story is not one that should have been told by a straight woman & it does some things that are questionable at best: 1) framing not coming out to your highly
kippen (uponthepages)
This book was everything I wanted and more. I cannot wait until everyone else gets to read and love it as well!

I'll have a full review going up closer to the release date. As for now, I'll be posting some thoughts over on my Instagram!


My Rating:stars 5 out of stars (5/5)

I was kindly sent a physical copy of this book by Source Books Fire in exchange for a review. Thank you, Source Books! Any opinion is my own.

This review is SPOILER FREE!

TW: homophobia (unaccepting parents)

We Are Lost
Sol ~ TheBookishKing
"This year you will create music. You will fall in love. You will find your place. You will be happy."

I don't hate this but I definitely don't love it either. There was potential here to be one of the best LGBTQ Contemporary Novels of 2019. But that was all thrown out the window by poor characterization, pretty much no plot, and truly a whack ending.

Even though I did enjoy many aspects of this book, I think the good and the bad are on equal levels and I just couldn't love it as I had hoped.

Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Now that WE ARE LOST AND FOUND has a cover and ARCs are going out, I wanted to share some things about the book.

- It takes place in 1983 (which was my senior year of high school, making me a year older than Michael and Becky and about the same age as James)
- It’s set in NYC - the city that feeds my soul - and this book is my homage to the grungy but invigorating face it wore in the early 80’s.
- It’s FILLED with 80’s music. I ran my high school and college radio stations and my friends
Max Lau  • Maxxesbooktopia
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, 4-stars-books
Apart from 'The Handmaid's Tale' by Margeret Atwood, this might be the most important novel that I had read thus far this year. As the synopsis had stated, the story is set in the 1980s, where societal attitudes toward homosexuality were not pleasant and the threat of AIDs was discommoding to the gay community as no one understood what was going on and how this disease was supposed to be prevented. This novel allows us to witness the struggles of the people back in the '80s which I will converse ...more
Jun 19, 2018 marked it as to-read-wishlist
is this... YA Rent
- ̗̀ DANY  ̖́- (danyreads)
. : — 3


ARC provided from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (thank you Sourcebooks Fire!!)

I don’t know how to balance my feelings for We Are Lost and Found over its objective importance and relevance because of the subject it encompasses, so I’m just gonna go somewhere in the middle with my rating here. my opinion is obviously relative and completely subjective so I wouldn’t take it to heart if I were you.

I’ll just rip the
Tom Wilinsky
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Helene Dunbar recalls the poignant early years of the AIDS crisis through the experiences of a compelling, diverse group of teenagers in early 1980s New York City. Fear, love, violence, longing, confusion and passion battle for primacy as Michael struggles with budding desire, a threatening father, a hostile world and a nascent plague. Cohorts Becky and James round out the cast of main characters, adding depth and feeling. Dunbar balances hope with risk and dread with possibility, deftly ...more
Oct 04, 2019 marked it as to-read
That cover gives me We Are Okay feels.
Eleanor (bookishcourtier)
I really enjoyed this one, and I struggle with knowing what to rate it. I feel like it's one of those books that the more I think about it, the more I will love it. I liked the characters, and it was beautifully written in a way that really reflected the way in which Michael felt like an outsider. The topic of the book is obviously heartbreaking, and I think the author explored it with thought and care. I was worried that this was going to be a replica of Like a Love Story , because to me the ...more
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight .

We Are Lost and Foundis a truly moving book about a young gay man trying to discover who he is and who he wants to become at the dawn of the AIDS crisis. Here are some of the many reasons why it's worth reading:

• The author does an amazing job of making the reader feel like we're in the midst of 1983 New York City. I wasn't aware of the world in 1983, nor that of the struggles of
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: queer, arcs
Arc kindly provided through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you.

We are lost and found was quietly stunning. To be honest it really got me. the discussion of AIDS and the fear in everyone especially the gay community was respectfully and informatively handled. Dunbar is a pro.

The prose in this book was spectacular while i was reading this book i was highlighting and making notes like a crazy person. You bet i’m picking up a finished copy
Jan 21, 2020 rated it liked it
I'm... still not sure what I think of this??? RTC maybe
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
My name is Michael Bartolomeo and I'm scared.
Scared I'm never going to be able to look anyone in the eye and admit to being gay.
Scared I'm never going to feel safe showing someone I love them in public.
Scared I'm going to die.
Scared they're all going to convince me to stay silent.
Scared I'm going to let them.
Silence is not the answer.

This is one of those books I want to shove at my homophobic classmates to be like "PLEASE JUST SHUT UP YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT". I'm not going
Carly Lyn
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I got to read an early draft of this book from the author and it's now one of my favorites. I love it with all my heart and would have hugged it if I could. It's uplifting and empowering with an amazing ensemble cast of 1980's characters that you can't help but adore. Very eighties! A spectacular tapestry of imagery and emotion. Lyrical, poetic, joyful, exuberant, and un-put-downable.

We Are Lost and Found is a poignant story of 3 best friends coming of age in NYC, in the early 80s, just at the start of the AIDS crisis. While WALAF deals with your typical teen woes of high school and what to do after graduation, friendships, love, and finding yourself, it also delves deeper into teen sexuality and AIDS, and what that meant for Michael and his friends during that time.

As a teen in the 80s who grew up in a small town, this book gave me a new perspective on what AIDS was
Maria (Big City Bookworm)

Actual Rating: 4.75 stars!


I feel like there have been quite a few YA contemporary novels that have taken place in the 1980's that focus on the LGBTQ+ community lately and I hope there are many more to come. Not only does this story showcase what it was like to live in a time where there was no information provided about a disease that felt as though it was targeting your specific community, but it was also educational and informative.

I absolutely LOVED this novel and believe it is an
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Silence is not the answer."
Hauntingly beautiful and intimidating. The kind of book that stays with you not because you want it to, but because it needs you to hold on for a little while longer.
Aug 29, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a difficult book for me to review, while I was not over the top as I expected it did capture my attention. I always look for a great, well told Y/A coming of age book. This story had so much involved, real emotions, connections and all the spectrum of emotion. The writing was interesting constantly being in Michael's thoughts could be over the top at times.
Juliette✵ of✵ the✵ Stars✯⭒*⭑★☽
Me: *reads the title of the book* Sounds gay tell me more!
Me: *reads the blurb* I WAS RIGHT. It sounds heartbreaking GIVE IT TO ME!!
The Nerd Daily
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Mimi Koehler

Silence is not the answer.

My heart is still breaking a little bit just thinking of this story.

The novel follows young Michael, a “lost” boy in 1983’s New York City who is happy to let his eccentric best friend James take center stage in life, dance away his troubles at his favourite club The Echo, and above all, scared to come out to his parents after they kicked out his older brother Connor for doing so a while back. Together with
ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

3 stars

This book is about:

A sixteen-year old boy named Michael who is trying to deal with the fact that his older brother was kicked out of their house for coming out as he himself is also gay.

To pass the time, Michael hangs out at The Echo where he can forget about his problems and where he meets Gabriel who he can't seem to get off his mind.

Then, Michael is forced to decide what he's willing to risk to be himself.

Trigger warnings:
Feb 24, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: yikes
Its 2019 (2020 now but whatever, i read it last year) and can we PLEASE stop having books solely about LGBT+ struggles written by straight people who never would experience this? Especially one set during one of the hardest times to be a queer person in america. So many of the coming out stories on the market are so obviously geared to straight people and this is exactly one of them. Im not going to comment on the quality of this book, only this: this story is not the authors to tell.

— heran
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
Read my full review on my blog here!!
ARC provided from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (thank you Sourcebooks Fire!!)


I almost feel wrong for not giving this book a higher rating because I truly believe it’s very important but I have to consider the writing and the storyline as well as the subject matter.

I love how this story gives an insight into what it was like during that time, something I feel like is not talked about enough. The
Alexis  (TheSlothReader)
DNF @ 47%

I put this book down a month ago and don't feel the urge to pick it up.

I'm not overly fond of the flowery stream of consciousness style of writing. It often forced me to reread passages to understand what was happening and I dont think I ever gained an attachment to the characters.
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The descriptive bit: We Are Lost And Found by Helene Dunbar tells an important story that took place in the 80s. Michael is a young man who is just becoming comfortable with his sexuality, and he’s living in a time when he has to contemplate the fact that having sex might kill him. HIV/AIDS is spreading even though, at that time, there was nothing certain about transmission. To add to the uncertainty in Michael’s life, his brother Connor has been kicked out of the family home by their homophobic ...more
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Called the "queen of heartbreaking prose" by Paste Magazine, Helene Dunbar is the author of WE ARE LOST AND FOUND (Sourcebooks, September 2019), which has been optioned for film by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau's production company, Ill Kippers, and PRELUDE FOR LOST SOULS (August, 2020) as well as BOOMERANG, THESE GENTLE WOUNDS, and WHAT REMAINS. Over the years, she's worked as a drama critic, journalist, ...more
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