Review: The Lost Causes by Alyssa Embree Schwartz and Jessica Koosed Etting

Title: The Lost Causes
Author: Alyssa Embree Schwartz and Jessica Koosed Etting
Pages: 344
Genre: YA, Mystery
Source: Free ARC from Kids Can Press

Rating: 3.5 stars

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Kids Can Press via NetGalley/Edelweiss. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.

Review: When I first read the blurb for The Lost Causes, I was determined to get my hands on it. Stories of “otherness” draw me in like a bear to honey. And the cover is really atmospheric, dark and gloomy and oh so promising. But despite really liking it (truly, I did—see the 3.5 stars?), it also fell a little flat for me, probably because my expectations were set too high (by me, myself and I).

The story was good, but formulaic. Five troubled teenagers who have been written off by the world are forcibly injected with a serum that gives them superpowers AND takes away all their mental health issues (anger, depression, OCD, addiction, etc.). These self-proclaimed “lost causes” are then presented with the opportunity to help the FBI track down a killer and save the world. Naturally, there are twists and turns, but as much as I hate to say so…the who and why weren’t much of a shock. Basically, it felt like The Breakfast Club (yay!) meets Heroes (also yay!), but what I really wanted was Heroes meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer, know what I mean? It wasn’t a surprise to find that the author team has been writing TV and movie scripts since graduating college. That isn’t a bad thing (awesome for them, yes?), but it wasn’t what I was expecting. The characters were a little one dimensional, there was no real suspense, and I was hoping for a lot more grit and kick-assery.

It was a good read. Good. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes their YA clean and safe. Like I said, The Breakfast Club meets Heroes lite. It was entertaining, but not everything I wanted it to be.

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