Lost and Found (Lost and Found #1) by Nicole WilliamsLost and Found by Nicole Williams
Published May 2013
Series: Lost and Found #1
Genres: New Adult
three-half-stars
Format: eBook
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There’s complicated. And there’s Rowen Sterling.

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.

Rowen Sterling is not your average 18-year old girl. She’s had a rough childhood and has been labelled a freak more than once because she tries to hide behind her walls of darkness: dark hair, dark lipstick, dark clothes and combat boots. Rowen wants to go to an expensive art-school in Seattle but her unsupportive mother forces her to spend the whole summer at a ranch in Montana, or she won’t pay for art-school.

So obviously, once Rowen arrives in Willow Springs, Montana, she contrasts with everybody else. But it turns out the family she’s staying with – the Walker family – treats her like she’s a part of them, and they also accept her the way she is. Especially Jesse Walker, hot and handsome cowboy and only son of the bunch, manages to break through her walls and make her open up. But Rowen’s insecurities keep on re-surfacing, and she’s suddenly worried about getting too attached to people who were total strangers a mere months ago…

Well, what I liked about this story was that it was unusual, and unusually hot. I mean, can you picture a “goth” and a cowboy in tighter-than-tight jeans getting together? Can you imagine someone from the city being accepted and adopted by country people from Montana without any judgement? Not really, but this book made it happen and I really like the stark contrast even if I have doubt about the reality-factor or the story.

And the believability is why I am giving this story only 3.5 stars. Rowen is pretty troubled and closed up as she’s known rejection throughout her entire life: even her mother despises her. She’s built those huge walls around herself and is afraid of letting anyone in. But with the change of scenery she suddenly opens up in a way I find holds little believability:

1) she does tons of manual work (but chose spending a summer at the ranch to have college paid for as opposed to earning her own money to pay for it)
2) she is actually used to ignoring what other people think of her and suddenly she feels weird because she is wearing super-short skirts etc. and feels like she needs to change into more conventional clothing
3) she has been with many men but feels uncomfortable among a crowd of cowboys

But apart from those little “script issues”, the story was really nice and not too flat. There is this element, Garth Black – a fellow ranch worker, that is likely to drag her down to her dark place – and that she obviously needs to face; but there is also the fact that she is facing her real first crush and the jealousy and insecurities that come with it. Last but not least, we also discover that Jesse Walker himself is keeping secrets that make this book even more interesting.
I was however a bit disappointed by the semi-cliffhanger like end, because the book end when Rowen’s stay in Montana ends, and obviously you want to know more. But thank god there is a sequel in sight, called Near & Far.

So all in all, if you are not annoyed by the little note if believability that I highlighted, I would definitely recommend check out Lost & Found – especially if you like the hot cowboy flair!