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.
If I could give Lost & Found more than 5 stars, I would. Nicole Williams did it AGAIN! I fell head over heels in love with this book from the moment I cracked it open. I have a soft spot for protagonists that feel lost – ones that don’t quite fit in. You know the type. Rowen hides herself behind black clothing, ripped up stockings, darkly dyed hair and tons of make-up. She’s tried to lose herself in boys, booze and even drugs. Nothing completely masks the pain. Turning off her feelings, accepting her title of freak and building walls are the only things that keep her from completely collapsing. When her mother, if you can even call her that, decides that Rowen needs to prove herself in order to attend art school in the fall, she sends Rowen to Willow Springs Ranch for the summer. A city girl at a ranch? Well, you can imagine how well that goes…
When Rowen arrives in Montana she’s greeted at the bus station by a tight jean wearing, cowboy boy hat sporting god like man. Jesse is 19 and as close to perfect as you can get. He’s a ranch hand and also happens to be the owner’s son. The Walkers – owners of Willow Springs Ranch are…well, they’re amazing. The more I read, the more I wanted to be part of their “organized chaos.” Rose was and will probably always be one of my favorite literary characters. She’s got a heart the size of Texas! She’s understanding and non-judgmental. Her loving ways rub off onto all four of her children but is most apparent in Jesse. They’re like philosophical geniuses. I can’t explain it… I just fell in love – hard, and I’m sure you will, too.
Nothing with Rowen comes easy so of course some drama ensues. It mostly comes in the form of a dark, sexy, no good ranch hand by the name of Garth Black. His dark ways are what Rowen is usually attracted to, however, this time it’s different. The pull she feels when Jesse is in the room is so intense that it’s impossible to resist. On top of this screwed up “love triangle” we have Rowen’s mother. She’s horrible. There are some people who jut should never procreate; just thinking about her makes my skin crawl. I know hate is a strong word, but I am very close to using it when it comes to this woman. She doesn’t deserve to be able to call Rowen her daughter.
Something about this novel hit me hard. It was above and beyond what I had expected it to be. We all have times in our lives when we feel worthless or lost. There is a song by “Senses Fail called The Fire”. It has a lyric that just seems to fit this story.
I’ve told myself a thousand times
From the ashes we will rise.
If you take the time to read Lost & Found, it will be time well spent. This is more than a bunch of words thrown on a page. It’s the realization that you are good enough. That life is tough, but you are tougher. It’s a story of unconditional love, finding oneself and learning to love who you are while letting go of the things that hold you down. It’s realizing that you deserve more than you think you do. I adore Rowen and I think once you spend some time with her you will, too.