Lost And Found By Nicole Williams

There’s complicated. And there’s Rowen Sterling.

After numbing pain for the past five years with boys, alcohol, and all around apathy, she finds herself on a Greyhound bus to nowhere Montana the summer after she graduates high school. Her mom agreed to front the bill to Rowen’s dream art school only if Rowen proves she can work hard and stay out of trouble at Willow Springs Ranch. Cooking breakfast at the crack of dawn for a couple dozen ranch hands and mucking out horse stalls are the last things in the world Rowen wants to spend her summer doing.

Until Jesse Walker saunters into her life wearing a pair of painted on jeans, a cowboy hat, and a grin that makes something in her chest she’d thought was frozen, go boom boom. Jesse’s like no one else, and certainly nothing like her. He’s the bright and shiny to her dark and jaded.

Rowen knows there’s no happily ever after for the golden boy and the rebel girl, happily right now is a stretch, so she tries to forget and ignore the boy who makes her feel things she’s not sure she’s ready to feel. But the more she pushes him away, the closer he seems to get. The more she convinces herself she doesn’t care, the harder she falls.

When her dark secrets refuse to stay locked behind the walls she’s kept up for years, Rowen realizes it’s not just everyone else she needs to be honest with. It’s herself

Rowen Sterling is a city girl. She's been labelled a goth, emo, a drug addict, loser and a freak, but she has no idea who she truly is. She's been hiding behind the bad girl facade for over five years, and now waiting at the Greyhound bus station, she's reached her new reality. There isn't room for an attitude or snide remarks at Willow Springs Ranch, where Rowen is spending the next three months. Three months on a ranch, in exchange for four years of tuition to the art school Rowen has always dreamed of, sounds simple enough. She'll need to work, to show her mother that she can be a responsible member of society, and not just a drain on those around her. Willow Springs is a fresh beginning, a chance to leave her past behind and her cold aloof mother. Rowen's mother has never been maternal, but where Rowen is concerned, she is downright vindictive. Rowen's partying, drinking, drug abuse and being arrested... Twice, is a call for help, to be heard, instead her mother gave her the ultimatum, clean yourself up and sent her to the ranch.

Jesse is the ultimate cowboy, strong, masculine and incredibly tight jeans. He's also been asked to pick up the daughter of his mother's oldest friend. There's no doubt that Rowen finds herself attracted to Jesse, but she didn't prepare for is Jesse's genuine smile, his easy laugh and that he sees her, not the version of herself that others see. Rowen is taken aback by Rose and her three daughters, treating her with respect, without judgement and happy to share their home with the virtual stranger for the next few months. Rowen is put to work, helping with the laundry and meals for the ranchers, with so many cowboys of all ages to feed, Rowen needs to find something more appropriate to wear... Before she attracts unwanted attention.

Jesse knows that Rowen is hiding behind excuses, as why she won't allow anyone to break down her emotional barriers... But he has nothing but time and wants to get to know the highly strung city girl. This summer is Rowen's chance to prove herself, to herself and to seek redemption for her place in the world. But just as Rowen and Jesse's easy banter turns into a serious flirtation, in strolls the dark and alluring Garth. If Jesse is everything that is right with the world, then Garth is... Not. He's a brooding, troublesome cowboy with a mean streak, and Rowen isn't above taking a second look. Garth is all Rowen knows, she knows the type, and old habits are hard to break. But why would she give Garth a second look, when she has the handsome and sensitive Jesse's attention? 

Because she doesn't believe she's worthy of someone as pure as Jesse... In fact, she knows she isn't.

So Rowen does, what Rowen does best... Push Jesse away. But Jesse won't budge. He's persistent and pushes back until Rowen's walls crumble, seeing the quiet, scared girl that doesn't believe she's worthy of love. If her mother couldn't love her, what hope does any one else have?

When she finally reveals her secret just days before her mother's visit, her world will be blown apart... But will Jesse be there to pick up the pieces.

Lost And Found was a pleasant surprise, I expected it to follow the usual young / new adult template, and it did to a certain extent. The broken girl, her handsome young savior, the potential love triangle, but the difference was the likability of the characters. Jesse was simply lovely. He wasn't a masculine, chest beating protagonist, but the strong, silent type. It was a refreshing change. 

There is no definitive ending, which will frustrate some. I'm assuming it will make us more eager to begin on the second book in the Lost and Found series. I liked it, but didn't love it. Perhaps I'm just over the new adult book craze.

Lost And Found
(Lost And Found: Book One)
Written By Nicole Williams
Published 07 / 05 / 2013
358 Pages

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