Lost It

Lost It

3.7 228
by Kristen Tracy

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What would you do...

...if your best friend were plotting the annihilation of a small, furry neighborhood poodle? Or if your parents up and moved to an Outward Bound-type survival camp in the middle of the desert? How about if your grandmother bought you new bras and underwear — and you actually thought they were a teensy bit, umm, sexy?


What would you do...

...if your best friend were plotting the annihilation of a small, furry neighborhood poodle? Or if your parents up and moved to an Outward Bound-type survival camp in the middle of the desert? How about if your grandmother bought you new bras and underwear — and you actually thought they were a teensy bit, umm, sexy?

Most people would not react well.

Tess Whistle's junior year of high school is off to a fairly bizarre start. One might even say her life is spiraling out of control. But with her sense of humor firmly intact and her first real boyfriend on her arm, Tess is dealing with the ridiculous twists quite well, thankyouverymuch.

Just wait until her shoes explode.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Readers will be immediately drawn to this hilarious and heartfelt first novel about a girl who falls in love—and has her first sexual experience—and tries to let go of her fears. Tess Whistle lives in Idaho with paranoid parents, who "became born again" after a kitchen fire. The book begins with an account of how she loses her virginity, then flashes back to the start of junior year, when she expected to stay a virgin until she is "at least engaged." Tess has plenty of phobias, mostly of the natural world where she could be "torn to pieces by a pack of recently relocated gray wolves." Just before her whole life crumbles, Benjamin Easter transfers to her school. Tess falls intensely in love without realizing "that you can't depend on another person to provide your own balance." And there's no doubt that Tess's life is out of balance: Her best friend is building a bomb, claiming she wants to blow up a poodle, her parents run off to join a survival camp, and Tess tells Ben she is diabetic as way of explaining her "juvenile" apple juice box, then maintains the lie. Readers may be so busy laughing out loud at the eccentric characters and outrageous plotting that they may not realize how much they have grown to empathize with desperate Tess until her relationship is in crisis. Readers will fall in love with this offbeat story—and its rich lesson about living a life without guarantees. Ages 14-up. (Jan.)

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
VOYA - Lois Parker-Hennion
Sixteen-year-old Tess Whistle lives in Idaho and is a junior in high school. Her parents are born-again Christians, and Tess believes that because she does not even have cable TV, she is much less worldly than other teens, especially her best friend, Zena. The girls dream of colleges like NYU and UCLA. When Tess first meets Ben, she is embarrassed to have a boxed apple juice so she lies and tells him that she is diabetic. As a cancer survivor, he is very understanding about her condition. But Tess's life is about to change dramatically. Zena gets sent away for blowing up the stuffed poodle that belongs to the daughter of her father's girlfriend. Then Tess's mother and later her father leave home to join a wilderness survival camp in Utah. Tess's grandmother, who has recently won the lottery, comes to stay with Tess and buys her a car. Ben and Tess get together a few times, and Tess even goes to Ben's for Thanksgiving dinner. They have sex for the first time in a sleeping bag under the canoe at his parent's lake house on a cold winter night. Later while Tess and her grandmother are driving to Utah to visit her parents at Christmastime, they get into an accident although no one is badly injured-except for the moose. A lot happens in this quirky novel, but the events seem less serious as told by Tess, who observes it all with a cynical wit. Other characters possess the same odd sense of humor and are minimally developed so it is difficult to care too much. Lighthearted and fun, the novel is full of hilarious dialogue that many teens will enjoy.
KLIATT - Holley Wiseman
Tess Whistle is a high school junior with a lot on her mind. Her parents have decided to "find themselves" in a wilderness camp, her best friend Zena Crow wants to blow up a poodle in the wake of her parents' separation, and new student Ben Easter is cute and nice. Her relationship with Ben will force Tess to learn about beginnings and endings, winning and losing. Eventually, Tess learns that sometimes to find yourself, you need to get a little lost. Kristen Tracy has written a story with familiar details for YAs: love relationships, friendships, and parental dissonance. Includes references to virginity and having sex.
School Library Journal

Gr 9 & Up - Idaho teen Tess Whistle is having one weird junior year-she, her family, and her friends are all "losing it." Her parents, born again following a serious grease fire in the kitchen, take off unexpectedly to a survival camp in the Utah desert, leaving Tess with her grandmother. Tess's best friend, Zena, reacts to her parents' marital troubles by making elaborate plans to blow up a poodle. And Tess herself, who used to be 100 percent certain that she'd wait until she was married before she had sex and is deathly afraid of the wilderness, loses her virginity out of doors with her boyfriend. This book is a great read, hilarious and poignant at the same time. Teens will laugh out loud at Tess and her frank, humorous observations about the outrageous situations in which she finds herself, but they will also empathize with her feelings of not being in control of her life. They will also be heartened by the conclusion of the novel, for even though Tess is unsure of what will happen next, she has finally come to terms with the fact that life offers no guarantees, saying, "For the first time in a long time, I feel hopeful. And ready for what comes next."-Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
Tess Whistle is starting her junior year of high school, and she has no plans to have a boyfriend or, more seriously, lose her virginity. So much for those plans after she falls for Benjamin Easter, a senior. Tess’ parents never allow her to wear make-up or drive a car. She is afraid of the creatures in Idaho’s outdoors and not adventuresome. She is worried about her best friend Zena’s desire to blow up a poodle. Then, because she is embarrassed about accidentally dropping her school books and a can of apple juice on Ben’s head, she lies about why she has the apple juice. Ben becomes solicitous of her when she says she’s a diabetic. Things get even weirder for Tess when her mother decides to follow the teachings of a fitness guru and heads for a six-week wilderness experience in the Utah desert. Off she goes, leaving Tess and her father stunned. Then he decides to join Mom, so her maternal grandmother comes to stay with her. During Thanksgiving dinner at Ben’s house, Tess learns he is in remission from leukemia, which is why he is empathetic about life-threatening diseases. Zena does blow up a poodle—but it turns out to be her four-year-old stepsister’s stuffed animal, and the act driven by jealousy. Off to Arizona for treatment goes Zena. Tess and Ben make love, and then he finds out she lied about her diabetes. He is furious and refuses to speak to her. Zena and Grandma help Tess come to grips with what she has done. Though the plot involves a sixteen-year-old losing her virginity, the story is told with grace, humor, and cautions about unprotected sex. Definitely a good read. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan; Ages 14 up.

Product Details

Simon Pulse
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Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.80(d)
700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I didn't start out my junior year of high school planning to lose my virginity to Benjamin Easter — a senior — at his parents' cabin in Island Park underneath a sloppily patched, unseaworthy, upside-down canoe. Up to that point in my life, I'd been somewhat of a prude who'd avoided the outdoors, especially the wilderness, for the sole purpose that I didn't want to be eaten alive.

I'm from Idaho. The true West. And if there's a beast indigenous to North America that can kill you, it probably lives here. My whole life, well-meaning people have tried to alleviate my fear of unpredictable, toothy carnivores.

But I was never fooled by the pamphlets handed to me by tan-capped park rangers during the seven-day camping trip that my parents forced upon me every summer. The tourist literature wanted you to believe that you were safe as long as you hung your food in a tree and didn't try to snap pictures of the buffalo within goring distance. Seriously, when in the presence of a buffalo, isn't any distance within goring distance?

And they expect intelligent people to believe that a bear can't smell menstrual blood? A bear's nose is more sensitive than a dog's. Every Westerner knows that. In my opinion, if you're having your period and you're stupid enough to pitch a tent in Yellowstone Park, you're either crazy or suicidal. Maybe both.

It's clear why losing my virginity outdoors, in the wilderness, with Benjamin Easter should be taken as an enormous shock. I could have been eaten by a mountain lion, mauled by a grizzly bear, or (thanks to some people my father refers to as "troublemaking tree huggers") torn to pieces by a pack of recently relocated gray wolves.

Of course, I wasn't. To be completely honest, I may be overstating the actual risk that was involved. It happened in December. The bears were all hibernating. And the event didn't end up taking that long. Plus, like I already said, we were hidden underneath a canoe.

But the fact that I lost it in a waterproof sleeping bag on top of a patch of frozen dirt with Benjamin Easter is something that I'm still coming to terms with.

I can't believe it. Even though I've had several days to process the event. I let a boy see me completely naked, and by this I mean braless and without my underpants. I let a boy I'd known for less than four months bear witness to the fact that my right breast was slightly smaller than my left one. And would I do it again?

We did do it again. After the canoe, in the days that followed, we did it two more times. I remember them well. Honestly, I remember them very well. Each moment is etched into my mind like a petroglyph. After the third and final time, I watched as he rolled his body away from mine. With my ring finger, I tussled his curly brown hair. Then, I fell asleep. When I woke up, Ben was dressed again, kissing me good-bye. I find myself returning to this moment often. Like it's frozen in time. Sadly, you can't actually freeze time.

Last night, Ben told me, "You're acting outrageous." He said this while inserting a wooden spoon into the elbow-end of my plaster cast. He was trying to rescue the hamster. The hamster had been my idea. I'd just bought it for him. I wanted him to take it to college and always think of me, his broken-armed first love. But the rodent had weaseled its way into my cast. I hadn't realized that hamsters were equipt with burrowing instincts. I also had no idea how to make a boy stay in love with me. Hence, the pet hamster.

It's been hours since I've talked to Ben. Since the hamster episode. And the argument that followed the hamster episode. That night Ben told me to stop calling him. He was serious. I told him to have a happy New Year. And he hung up on me. The boy I'd lost it with in a sleeping bag in the frozen dirt had left me with nothing but a dial tone.

I swear, the day I woke up and started my junior year of high school, Benjamin Easter wasn't even on my radar. I didn't know a thing about leukemia. And because I was raised by deeply conservative people, who wouldn't let me wear mascara or attend sex education classes at Rocky Mountain High School, I wasn't even aware that I had a hymen or that having sex would break it.

Actually, in the spirit of full disclosure and total honesty, I should mention that my parents only became born again rather recently, at about the time I hit puberty, following a serious grease fire in the kitchen. Before that, they only ventured to church on major holidays. Hence, my life became much more restricted and we gave up eating deep-fried foods.

The day I started my junior year, I woke up worrying about the size of my feet. Once dressed, looking at myself in my full-length bedroom mirror, they struck me as incredibly long and boatlike. I squished them into a pair of shoes I'd worn in eighth grade, brown suede loafers. They pinched, but gave my feet the illusion of looking regular-size instead of Cadillac-size. Then I noticed a newly risen zit. Of course, under the cover of darkness, it had cowardly erupted in the center of my forehead. I held back my brown bangs and popped it. Then I dabbed the surrounding area with a glob of beige-colored Zit-Be-Gone cream.

I started the first day of my junior year of high school zitless and basically happy. I was sixteen and feeling good. I didn't have any major issues. Okay, that's not entirely true. For weeks I'd been growing increasingly concerned about Zena Crow, my overly dramatic best friend. She'd been going through a rocky stretch and had been talking incessantly about building a bomb. Not a big bomb. Just one that was big enough to blow up a poodle.

Copyright © 2007 by Kristen Tracy

Meet the Author

Kristen Tracy is the author of Lost It, Crimes of the Sarahs, and Hung Up. She has received three Pushcart nominations and her poems and stories have appeared in various journals and reviews. She is the coeditor of A Chorus for Peace: A Global Anthology of Poetry by Women. Kristen lives in Rhode Island.

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Lost It 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 229 reviews.
readtolive_livetoread More than 1 year ago
This book was such an interesting read. I found the characters to be thoroughly likeable, the problems absolutely realistic and the telling of the story hilarious. When I was finished the book I instantly thought it would make an excellent independent film. I would recommend this book to adults, as well as mature teens, who I believe would get a lot of enjoyment from the humor and complex situations. I think we can all relate to the crazy feelings that would be stirred up from a grandmother buying sexy lingerie for her granddaughter. I guess that's what makes this book so much fun. The characters each have such endearing socially awkward traits. The humor in the novel is an excellent balance to some of the seriously heavy issues the characters confront such as divorce, depression, and cancer. I would have given this book 5 stars, but I felt that it ended a little too early. I was looking for at least a few more chapters at the end of the book to help tie up loose ends. I understand that most books do not have perfect endings tied up in a bow, but I felt like very little was actually resolved.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LOST IT is the perfect title for this book about losing your virginity, your sanity, your fears, your heart, and your grip on reality. This book is nothing, if not memorable, strange, and unpredictable. LOST IT tells the story of Tess Whistle's junior year of high school and how she falls in love, lies about having a serious illness, overcomes her wildlife phobia, loses her virginity under a canoe, and tries to prevent her best friend from blowing up a poodle with a bomb she's built. The fact that all this can come across as feasible and real is a pretty impressive feat. The characters are all colorful and unconventional, and I can say with certainty that I've never read another narrator quite like Tess. She's got her share of flaws, and I didn't really love her all the time, but it was somewhat satisfying to watch her make her share of mistakes and have to deal with the consequences of her screw-ups not always working out the way she expects, just like a real person. Zena, the poodle-and-bomb-obsessed best friend, and Tess's sassy grandmother are gems of characterization. The only characters who fell a little flat to me are Tess's parents, who are born again conservative Christians (after a kitchen grease fire) and disappear to Utah for most of the book to follow the philosophy of some guy who seems as though he might be a cult leader. It could be because they get so little screentime in the book, but I never really wrapped my mind around who either of them were. I like writers who don't force me to delve into into the character. Lastly, I belive this book is very explicit as far as the sexuality is concerned. I would recommend a parental label or scrutiny before reading this one.
jwheelzJW More than 1 year ago
This book is just real. With all of the Disney movies, vampire novels, and other romance books where everything turns out fantastic at the ending, Lost it is real life. I could see all of this actually happening. No I don't have a best friend who wants to blow up a poodle, or a grandma who buys me thongs, but this book is about your first love and all the emotions and neediness that comes with it. Lost it describes this book in more than just one way. Her whole life gets turned upside down. Her parents and best friend have lost it (their minds I mean) and then of course she lost her virginity. As people said this book should probably be 13 and up but it's definitely something that teenage girls should read. The moral of the story is good at the end too. Sometimes life doesn't work out the way you wanted it to, but sometimes what ends up is even better.
lissette More than 1 year ago
when i picked up this book in the library i thought it was just a regular romantic book and about a girl wanting to kill a poodle. i realy wasnt into romance books more into "war" books or adventure. i basically got this book for the poodle part. but when i read this book i became addicted to romance novels. and canoes!!! i bought the book and have on my bookcase. a book worth getting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I first read this book, I liked it how it all goes to flashbacks of how she actually lost it (meaning her vriginity) and I loved it and finished it in almost one day. I would recommend this book to teens 13-16 if they are mature enough to handle sexual parts in the book. I'm 13 and I loved this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i love this book i need a book for summer and this is one that i picked out for me and my friends i couldnt put it down it is so funny and u got to love that her friend is insane!!!! this book reminds me of my life sometimes and i say dont read if ur under 13
Kasia_S More than 1 year ago
I was surprised how hilarious this small book was but I definitely remember almost losing it ( from laughing so hard) while I read it very late one night, page fifty had me in fits of giggles so hard that my cat kept giving me looks, I was disrupting his beauty sleep, that's for sure. Growing up is hard to do, especially if you're a girl pulled from all sides, never mind normal family because that never exists, even in books, and what about boy problems and maturing/doing the right thing and all that stuff. Mix in some truly crazy best friends, super cool grandma, a bad hamster, an amazing boyfriend who is a total catch, inexperience mixed with innocence and add a dash of the unexpected and you have a fun, charming book filled to the brim with wit. Getting the boy is easy, keeping him is the hard part! Tess is a fun girl with a big heart, unfortunately she is also full of phobias and watching her handle her first serious boyfriend who has introduced her to some of the grown up things that life deals with is a hoot. Eccentric isn't even the word when it comes to describing Tess, sometimes you want to hug her and other times you want her to man up and do the right things, of course it's always easier to watch from the sidelines as the athlete is the one taking the beating, making corrective comments about perfect performance, but the book forces the reader to get involved; emotionally since you care and because it's engrossing and hard to put down. "Lost it" deals with the loss of virginity but also the loss of many other things, the theme hums through the book and picks up different themes and makes the reader realize that something else was lost or gained, part of growing and learning. I loved this book so much that I want to read everything else this author wrote, her ease of weaving the story was magnificent, I had a blast reading this and can't recommend it enough. This has some twists and turns and an ending that I couldn't wait to read, especially since the beginning tells you what lies ahead, and it's not necessarily pretty. The tension is good enough to keep the reader on their toes, and it's also a great summer book that will put a smile on anyone's face. - Kasia S.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this would be me. The apple juice, the ring, everything was so me. Me and my friend were always hesitant about buying this book because the summary made it sound kinda stupid. It's actually got a really good message. It goes into the reality of divorce, sex, school, guys, grandmas, i love this book. It inspires me to write a book like this when i'm older. I love coming across books that remind me so much of myself. This book is definantly in my top three favorites.
mkmtt More than 1 year ago
What I absoultely couldnt stand was that in the beginning of the book, it basically tells you all thats going to happen. Basically its a goody two shoes virgin, who has weird parents..and a weirder best friend. I also disliked her relationship with her boyfriend.. they didnt even seem in love or whatever and everthing revolved around sex, which she tells you about in the beginning of the book. Sorry I really was disapointed with this book, not reccommended by me. Dont waste your time on this one...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The title explains it all. What she "lost" was her virginity. Dont read this book. Its a sick waste of your time and money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Most of this book seems pretty unrealistic, like the poodle bomb, and being able to lie to her boyfriend for about a month about her diabetes. Also, even though Zena is the character's best friend, she never acted like she was, until the end of the book, where she suddenly get deep and emotional about Zena. So overall, this was just an uneventful book.
funnylogo More than 1 year ago
its soooooo unrealistic. don't read it if you don't have to. it wasted a lot of my time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in less than 24 hours. I loved it! It was one of the funniest books I've read in the longest time. Mainly a book for teenagers. The characters were very funny and although a lot of the book dealt with sex and such, it was still mainly dealt with in a funny manor. I highly suggest it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was really good! I started it late last night and couldn't put it down! I would recomend this book to teenagers that can handle the sexual content.
JasmineC More than 1 year ago
I read and finished this book yesterday, and it was pretty good. The plot was well structured. The characters personalities were very understandable, you could tell where they stood in the story and what their role was. The story overall was an easy, clear, fun read. I would highly recommended that you don't allow your children ages 10-13 to read, but ages 14 and up. Some of the 'cons' of the story was you could predict of what was going to happen next, which might get boring at times, and some of the characters roles were not all that great. For me the main character role was kind of immature and annoying at times. Thou overall the book was great, and you'll definitely find yourself turning the pages a lot. Enjoy !! God is Love, Jasmine C.
Twihard1038 More than 1 year ago
I didn't like it at all.It's a story about how her girl loses her virginity,how crazy her best friend,parents,and grandma is,and on top of that it is poorly written.There are so many different topics-most of which are totally unlikely.I would not suggest this book,don't waste your time unless you personaly have had a best friend who wanted to blow up a dog,you had parents who ran away to feel better about themselves and left you with grandma,lied about having diabetes,and bought your boyfriend a diabetic hamster for Christmas.Lame.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book had me non stop reading all weekend!! You can learn relationship advice from lost it. Over all this book was great.
Mallory_324 More than 1 year ago
I was very surprised with how dull this book was. I didn't really catch what the story was even about. It mainly went through one girls boring story of losing her virginity and her sucky life that didn't even have any emotion or didn't make me feel anything for her. I found myself forcing myself to read the book all the way to the very end of the book. I don't even think there was a climax to this book. It's a very dull story that I wouldn't reccomend to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At first I wasn't sure what to expect, between the poodle and the exploding shoes. But this book was really good!!! I actually Laughed out Loud reading it.
kissdacheerleada More than 1 year ago
Lost It is a fun novel about a girl dealing with her own problems. Finding love, a crazy best friend and a mom going through a mid-life crisis. This book is definitely for pleasure reading. It makes you smile and laugh, but at the end of the book your mind definitely lingers.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
The title of Kristen Tracy's LOST IT sums up the heart of the novel in two simple words, but like the novel itself, its simplicity is deceiving. "Lost it" could refer to many facets of the book. The narrator, Tess, starts things off by telling readers how she lost her virginity, and how she subsequently seems to have lost the guy she gave it to. At the same time, her rock-solid best friend is losing her grip after a parental divorce, Tess's parents are running off to recover the sense of self they think they've lost, and Tess, in the middle of everything, feels lost in the world as she tries to pull her life together without them. LOST IT is one of those rare books that gives you a light, fun read yet packs an emotional wallop you won't soon forget.

Like the novel, Tess is a rarity. Readers will relate to her insecurities and her struggles to understand the people in her life, but her constant fear of attacks by wild animals and her naivety due to her born-again parents's restriction of TV viewing give her voice an oddball, comic touch. Tess's voice is a far cry from the polished, hyper-mature tones of the Gossip and It Girls in teen fiction. She's not quite like any character I've ever read about, and that difference makes this book stand out.

Much of the story focuses on Tess's developing relationship with a new guy at school. Tess deals with many of the same questions teens face when they start dating: how serious to get, how far to go, how to make sure he'll stay. But, gradually, readers realize that despite its somewhat juicy opening, what's important isn't whether Tess should have slept with her boyfriend, or whether she's lost him for good. LOST IT proves that there are bigger issues than dating and sex. At the heart of the story is Tess lost in a sea of strong personalities and vague fears. She won't win by keeping the guy, but by keeping her head above water and accepting the uncertainties of life which threaten to overwhelm her.

LOST IT should appeal to a wide range of teen readers, but especially to those who value honesty and awkwardness over posh worldliness. While the novel contains some sexual subject matter, it's hardly glorified or graphic. And its themes of learning to cope with and even enjoy change and unpredictability may be just want teens want to hear. I suspect this is a book that will affect readers of all ages, and stick with them after they finish reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this was a........ a very interesting book. i recommended it to all my friends. now we have a serect joke that has to do with a canoe. if you want to know the serect joke or just have a hint read lost it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
best book ever..i read it in 4 hours and couldnt put it down...such a great page turner
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel is the best book I've ever read. I reccomend it to readers who enjoy reading romantic and friendship novels, you'll have 2 be crazy not to read this sensational page turner novel. What are you waiting 4 pick up this book now! cause u won't regret it!!!!!!:D
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tess Whistle, a sixteen- year- old girl that lives in Idaho, has a very bizarre junior year. Her thoughts about life change throughout the book and are totally opposite from hers in the beginning compared to the end of the book. Lost It starts out with Tess losing her virginity then flashing back to the things leading up to and after that point. Her life was pretty much normal before her junior year when things got off balance. First her best friend Zena Crow is building a bomb to blow up a poodle. Then her parents, born- again Christians, go away to a survival camp. This leaves Tess alone until her grandmother comes to stay with her. She does not have cable television so she has been, in a way, an isolated girl. When Ben, a recovering cancer patient, comes to her school, Tess¿s love life gets complicated. She begins falling in love with Ben and wonders if she wants to wait until she is engaged to have sex. She tells Ben she has diabetes, when she really does not, and keeps the lie going. Her relationship with Ben gets complicated after a while, which might leave readers anxious. The title Lost It does not just mean losing her virginity. It also means that Tess found out who she really was by losing herself a little. This novel will have readers laughing out loud but also feeling empathy for Tess.