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Review of Lost in the Garden by Adam S. Leslie

Don’t go to Almanby.’

I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to read this utterly bonkers debut! When you come across a story that really breaks the mould of standard fiction it is such a delight to read.

We are dropped straight into dystopian rural England where it’s readily accepted that ghosts roam the streets. Our story follows Heather, Rachel and Antonia. Heather and Rachel are age-old friends who always seem to be chasing adventure and Antonia is an awkward comedian who has a crush on Heather. Heather’s sweetheart, Steven, has gone to Almanby.  

Rachel, all of a sudden, has a package to take to Almanby. So begins the most hectic of road trips as this unlikely trio make the pilgrimage to Almanby.

You definitely need to suspend belief and logic to get into this book. The story feels something like a fever dream and as they get closer to Almanby things keep getting weirder. The story is quite harrowing in places, but the acid trip-like setting almost dulls the horror. The use of music, rhyme and sound is particularly unique and I felt was a strong addition to the book. I also really liked how I couldn’t work out the age of the characters, Heather and Rachel behave like big kids but they talk about drinking and their careers and no parents are ever referenced. It felt quite liberating not to assume their ages and it also made me think how important it is to be able to access the child inside of us.

I couldn’t recommend this book more highly. It’s tough competition at the top but this is my favourite debut so far this year!

Reviewed by Helen.

Lost in the Garden was published on 23/05/24 by Dead Ink



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1 Comment

Abi Whitaker
Abi Whitaker
May 29

Love how the whole team is obsessed with this book thanks to Helen! Also, what a cover!

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