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Prelude for Lost Souls

(Prelude for Lost Souls #1)

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  218 ratings  ·  98 reviews

For readers of Nova Ren Suma, Maggie Steifvater, and Maureen Johnson comes a spellbinding tale about choosing your own path, the families we create for ourselves, and facing the ghosts of your past.

In the town of St. Hilaire, most make their living by talking to the dead. In the summer, the town gates open to tourists seeking answers while all activity is controlled by

Hardcover, 384 pages
Published August 4th 2020 by Sourcebooks Fire (first published August 1st 2020)
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Average rating 3.53  · 
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Nilufer Ozmekik
Jun 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wow! It’s an impressive start and refreshing brand new installment! A town filled with its own spiritualist citizens, a mystery behind lost prelude of the song, a special, sacred community called Guild! Intriguing plot, tempting paranormal world building, well-balanced representation of LGBTQ! Yes, it seems like, I’m into this! I have no choice. Have you seen the hypnotizing cover? It just sent me so messages into my brain cells to read the chapters ASAP!

The story starts with 17 years old, Dec H
Nilufer Ozmekik
I think I'm already hypnotized by this beautiful cover.
I want to keep looking at it! I want to put it in my bathroom mirror so instead of screaming to my morning appearance at every morning, I can start a brand new, beautiful day!!!
I need this book in my life
Oh man, my heart!

Every year I seem to find one book that takes me by surprise with how deeply it worms its way into my heart. It's usually a book that, while I knew, (or at least hoped!), I'd enjoy, by the end I realize I never saw it coming. Hello 2020, meet Prelude for Lost Souls.

There's magic and mystery, angst and heartache, found family and unbreakable friendships. And there were tears that I was absolutely not prepared for.
While things were a little slow to start, I soon found myself ca
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Release Date: August 4, 2020

PRELUDE FOR LOST SOULS is my first foray into YA paranormal (although it reads like a contemporary just, you know, with ghosts). Set in a town of spiritualists where the main industry is communicating with the dead for profit, it’s told in three points of view:

- Dec Hampton: member of one of the most powerful medium families in town, he wants nothing more than to escape the expectations of the town that he blames for the death of his parents and needs to leave before
Annie (Local Trashcan Resident)
3 Stars // 79%
I feel as though I can describe Prelude for Lost Souls in one word: uninspired. Flat, mediocre, and amateurish also work. And I'm not trying to be mean here; it's just that every single thing about this book is so contrived and underutilized that it somehow vanishes into the fourth dimension and becomes a mildly entertaining read—an bizarre amalgamation of prominent fantasy tropes and archetypes.

The main thing I want to mention is the plot structure. Prelude progresses quite subtl
**3.5 Stars**

This is one that on paper I should have adored without a second thought but in reality it was a bit of a struggle to stay focused up until the ending so though it wasn’t one that thrilled me it is the beginning of a series I plan on completing.

“Prelude for Lost Souls” shifts between the point of view for Dec, a young man who is tired of his small town and is waiting for the right time to run, Russ, Dec’s best friend who is willing to do whatever it takes to join the Guild and prove
The Nerd Daily
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Mimi Koehler

I think I touched upon this in my review of Dunbar’s previous release We Are Lost and Found, but this woman just excels at writing settings that make you feel you’ve been there before. This time around, Dunbar takes her readers on an exploration of a small town called St. Hilaire where mediums, ghosts, and tarot-reading teenagers are found at every street corner. And while reading the novel, I could picture everything, from Dec’s hou
Sun Goddess Moon Witch
A very ho-hum coming of age supernatural story that lacked depth. I was originally drawn to this story because of the infinite possibilities of a “psychic town.” Unfortunately, this read was a disappointment both with the fantasy elements of the plot and the character development. Rather than have the book squarely focus on Dec Hampton the point of views consists of Dec, his best friend Russ, and Russian piano prodigy Annie. It really distracted me from getting attached to the characters as some ...more
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received a complimentary copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

Prelude For Lost Souls
By: Helene Dunbar


I love the cover of Prelude For Lost Souls. It's awesome. The premise is so unique and compelling, and I knew I had to read this book. It was just as fascinating as I anticipated.

"One need not be a chamber to be haunted."
-Emily Dickinson

This quote is at the front of the book, and it's perfect for it. People, of course, can be and are haunted
Caidyn (he/him/his)
CW: death of a loved one, drug use

What can I say? It just wasn't for me. It started off good, but then I lost the plot. The characters didn't grab me, nor did the plot. It was easy to read and was very readable, just that I wasn't into the story. Sadly. Maybe one day I'll come back to this and change my mind, but, right now, I just wasn't into the book.
Alexis (The Book Democracy)
3/5 stars

I'm going to start off by saying this book fell a little flat for me, however, that is on me. I couldn't completely connect with the characters and the story. I enjoyed the idea and really liked the musical aspect of this book. I honestly thought this was going to go darker than it actually did. I would recommend giving this a try, I can see someone really loving this book.
Cyra M
Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-books
I read this in 24 hours, it was a delight. Captivating characters and setting, I can't wait for the next installment.
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this unusual atmospheric novel from the very first line. The setting and Dunbar's talent for snappy dialogue make this extra-special. Also, the book is so well-designed. It feels nice, and has the best endpapers!
Gemma Golley
Oct 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
it was.... fine.... there was no real plot, but slow story progression with a mediocre ending, where nothing felt truly resolved. the characters were very uninspiring and unmemorable... which is disappointing because it had me interested in the beginning. there were also a large proportion of typos and general errors that it was jarring? it really shook me out of the story... like typos are fine but there were sooo many in this book??????? I guess overall..... whatever
Aug 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
" You loved the Prelude, so therefore, I've been loved too."

I cried through most of this book,really, but this line is where I really lost it and decided that this belongs on my favorites shelf. But lets start from the beginning.

I think that one of this books big strengths is that, it isnt really a fantasy story like it seemed, this is more a story about grief, and coming to terms with the things you either can't change, or just simply wont find the right answers to. Yes, this does take place i
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This book is available for purchase now.

I am not entirely sure why, but this book just wasn’t my bag. I just couldn’t get into it at all. It could be the way it’s told. It switches back and forth between multiple narrators, which normally doesn’t bother me all that much. In this case, though, I really didn’t care at all about two of the characters, so their chapters didn’t keep me engaged.

The idea of a town
Elizabeth Mcdermott
Oct 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
0-non-spoiler section- if you would like to read my spoier rant, continue past this section.

If you like character development, a plot line that makes sense, and satisfying endings, don't bother with this one. There are several unaddressed themes of drug abuse that truly bothered me, as well as a general lack of character depth that I found slightly exhausting.

However, if those things don't bother you, Tristan(the ghost)'s story is intriguing and very bittersweet.

**spoiler alert** **cursing**

Sarah Vossen
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is perfect for fans of The Raven Boys who need a little more psychic in their life. Did I stay up all night finishing this book? Yes I did. It was a fun story with the start of some good characters. I probably would give it a 3.5 stars if that was an option, better than average but not mind blowing. The story some times felt like you were missing chunks of the character but admittedly I’m very character focused. It wasn’t detrimental to the story but it is something I missed having. Th ...more
Jul 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult, arc
I enjoyed this YA ghost story because Dunbar is such a good writer. On a sentence level, Prelude for Lost Souls is first rate, and the characters are likable as well. This follow-up is so different from last year's We Are Lost and Found, a historical fiction novel set turning the AIDS epidemic that I LOVED, and I couldn't make up my mind about what I should have expected from it.

It turns out I was hoping for more Gothic flair and more narration from Russ' perspective. Prelude could have been cre
Christopher Tower
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great book! I know Helene, and we're discussing if this one would be my favorite. I am happy to declare it is, but that may be more about my love of ghost stories and not a true comparison to her other excellent novels.
Those who love ghost stories: this is not your typical ghost story.
What is it? Great character-driven story on multiple fronts with ghosts who outshine the living persons in characterization. There's some intriguing mystery that will keep you reading as well.
I have a few criticism
Jeffrey Chassen
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Helene Dunbar has done it again. I absolutely adore her writing. Even while writing a book about a town full of paranormal activity, she is able to focus in on the human stories an the individual relationships that make everything real. She writes about LGBTQ relationships with incredible accuracy, and imbues her characters with strength and compassion. This a big difference from We Are Lost and Found, but the writing and the storytelling is still top notch. I highly recommend for any fans or an ...more
Starr ❇✌❇
Mar 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: got-an-arc, reviewed

In St. Hilaire everyone is either a psychic or married into a psychic family. A tourist trap during the summer and a completely insular community the rest of the year, it feels less like part of the world than a world inside of itself. Dec especially feels that way, a seventeen year old "former" psychic, who wants nothing more than to leave town before his senior year, when he'll be forced to join the Guild. But when Anna, a Russian pianist Dec has been captivated by online, finds herself in St
Kal ★ Reader Voracious
Oct 18, 2020 marked it as to-read
I'd like to file a report against every one I know for not telling me about this book sooner.

If this book sounds up your alley, the author is hosting an international giveaway on Twitter through 10/21/2020!
Blog | Twitter | Pinterest
Jul 11, 2020 rated it liked it
I received a net galley arc in exchange for an honest review.

I am such a huge Helene Dunbar fan! I knew I needed to read this book just from the author. I did quite enjoy it but it wasn’t my favourite of her books, if I’m being honest.

I really liked the premise of a town full of mediums and the musical aspect was super intriguing. I just couldn’t fully connect with the story.

I do feel that it will be well loved by others, though!
Oct 04, 2020 rated it liked it
I’d give this a 3.5 stars
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I went through stages of liking this book, loving it and now it has become my new obsession. I just can’t stop thinking about these amazing characters❤️❤️
It gave me Devouring Gray vibes but better.

Also I need to stop falling in love with fictional ghost boys
Sabrien Abdelrahman
Check out my review for Prelude for Lost Souls over at The Young Folks! ...more
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Prelude for Lost Souls By Helene Dunbar


Dec and Russ live in St. Hilaire, a town known for its ability to communicate with the dead. Russ needs a little boost when it comes to this particular skill, and Dec would rather not have it at all. In fact, Dec would rather not live there.

Annie is a well known pianist mourning the recent loss of her teacher when her train breaks down outside of St. Hilaire. She finds herself staying at Dec’s home with his two sisters.

Together, the three will discov
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
I'd really like authors to do their homework when writing about music and musical instruments. A piano is central to this YA melodrama about spiritualists and ghosts set in a fascist version of Lilydale, but the author seems to think that keys are attached directly to strings. This is just one of many weird and incorrect assumptions Dunbar makes about mechanical objects--including cars--and other things in an ultimately dull story of several teenagers making decisions about their lives and futur ...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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