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Lost in LA
By Katie Calhoun
2012
Reviewed by Angie Mangino
Rating: 4 stars
 
JC Harris and her mom moved to Los Angeles from rural Texas after her parents divorced. 
 
Attached to her dog, Lucky, JC feels comforted by the black sable German shepherd’s loyalty and nonjudgmental nature.
 
Griffith High School is difficult for JC, not only with her struggles in Math class, but also by the school’s social order where the fashion conscious LA in-crowd of the school has mockingly dubbed her “Cowgirl.” 
 
“But here is the thing: the only ones who seem to be allowed to do their own thing are the goths and punks and those who style to a particular ethnic identity.  It is pretty obvious I am not Black, Latina or Vietnamese so those are not options for me.  Seriously, subcultures seem to allow some escape from the high school hierarchy.  Truth is I am not a good fit for any of the subcultures.  I am just different – a tribe of one.”
 
Her problems at school, however, go deeper than this as her mind wanders in class, ultimately leading to her diagnosis of having an Attention Deficit Disorder.
 
What is especially compelling about this book is the telling from the point of view of a young person with ADD.  It delves into the confusion about it, as well as the ways one both experiences it and can work to try to live with it better.
 
The variety in sentence style is lacking, with too many sentences beginning with the word, “I,” and more white space would better visually enhance the reading, but these deficiencies do not take away from the depth of emotions that propel this important story to which teens will easily relate.
 
The author’s note at the end states, “”ADD Inattentive is too often overlooked,” stressing the need for schools “where one’s talents and gifts are celebrated.”
 

Lost in LA puts a realistic face on this need with JC, doing it with a compelling story that offers better understanding of this for either oneself or for classmates one knows.  It is a story that every parent, educator, and teen should read.