The Finder – Kate Hendrick – Text Publishing – Published 1 August 2018
When Lindsay meets Elias the signs aren’t promising. She’s a grungy introvert who doesn’t want to talk to anyone. He’s a teen fashionista who can’t shut the hell up.
But since Lindsay tracked down a runaway kid, word’s got around that she knows how to find people. And Elias is looking for his birth mother. And he has money, and Lindsay’s perpetually broke… So that’s how this oddest of odd couples teams up.
But the thing is, Lindsay wasn’t actually trying to find the runaway. It’s just how she looks at the world. Not idly, like most people, but really looking. Scanning every house, every face, every car. That’s because someone is missing in Lindsay’s life: her identical twin Frankie, who disappeared when they were eight. Since then, her parents have kept themselves busy. And angry. And Lindsay has been…looking.
The Finder is a light mystery with plenty of heart. I recently read and loved Lost and Found by Orson Scott Card, so I was delighted when I discovered The Finder has a similar tone, with a very Aussie setting. Family, friendship and mystery combine in this book to provide a remarkably uplifting story about loss and the people left behind.
Lindsay has spent her life looking. It’s how she survived since her twin sister went missing when they were kids. Now with a family full of younger siblings, a busy mother and an absent father, Lindsay craves silence. She’s not surprised when she accidentally finds teen runaway, but she is surprised when it brings teen fashionista, Elias to her door asking for her help in locating his birth mother. She agrees, just as an excuse to get out of her crowded house. But even though Elias drives her crazy with his overly styled hair and non-stop chatter, Lindsay finds it comforting to finally have someone to look with.
The Finder brings such a delightful mix of humour and light-hearted joy combined with sorrow and grief. The themes touched upon in the story are quite deep. Lindsay’s discovery of Vogue and being asked to join in Elias’ search bring to the forefront the continued grief and guilt she carries from her twin sister’s disappearance. The trauma tore her family apart. Now her mother is busy with all Lindsay’s new siblings, her father is constantly at work and angry in those rare times he is home and Lindsay is forbidden from even mentioning her sister. This grief has been bottled up and Lindsay is ready to explode. The book captures the raw emotions Lindsay and her family are experiencing. There is also some mystery surrounding what transpired in Lindsay’s sister’s disappearance.
As Elias and Lindsay search for his birth mother they try all sorts of amateur sleuth techniques. I loved that this mystery was realistic for them to be approaching and solving. Elias is actually a college student, but he has a juvenile air compared to Lindsay’s more serious and mature voice, so you hardly notice the slight age gap and the book retains a very teenage feel. I loved Elias and Lindsay’s dynamic. Lindsay can hardly stand Elias to begin with. It’s certainly not an instant friendship—I’m not sure Lindsay would describe it as a friendship at all. But they squabble and tease and annoy each other and I just loved that banter. It gives the whole book a delightfully light feeling, which offsets the darker themes very well.
There is no romance in this book. It doesn’t need it and I’m glad it wasn’t squeezed in somehow. The book is also authentically Aussie in a genuine, simple way I know our readers will relate to. I’m so glad this will be a part of our school library’s mystery collection and I look forward to sharing it with our readers.
Category: Young adult fiction
Themes: Missing persons, adoption, birth mothers, Australia, friendship, relationships, parents, family conflict, grief, LGBT.
Reading age guide: Ages 13 and up.
Advisory: References to missing persons and running away from home.
Published: 1 August 2018 by Text Publishing
Format: Paperback, ebook. 327 pages.