Reading Tree

Lisa Colley, Independent Usborne Organiser

Book Review - How to look for a lost dog

20th September 2017

For Rose, life is a little bit different. Social interactions can be hard, prime numbers need to be recited, rules should always be followed, and finding a new homonym is a definite highlight of any day. But Rose has a dog called Rain, and Rain understands her perfectly.

So when a storm hits the town that Rose lives in, and Rain goes missing, all Rose's routine and structure goes away with the winds and rain that tore apart her surroundings. Suddenly nothing makes sense to her anymore, and no one seems to the answers to her questions. Why did her father let Rain out in a storm? Why didn't he put Rain's collar on? And where could Rain have got to?

On the surface, this novel could seem quite sad, but it is so very far from that. Rose is one of the most incredible protagonists that you will ever meet, and her narrative voice is utterly charming. She wraps you up in her little world, and helps you to understand all the things that make her different, but also make her special. The story feels utterly authentic, and the relationship that Rose has with her Uncle Weldon is incredibly touching.

Whilst the storyline centres around Rose's search for Rain, we also see Rose grow and develop across the novel, through her growing friendship with Parvani and her understanding of how to relate to other people. Even when she is gone, Rain acts as a bridge for Rose to communicate with her classmates, and as a catalyst for conversations that would previously have been impossible.

There are natural comparisons between How to look for a lost dog and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: both have autistic protagonists with an obsession for prime numbers and solving a mystery, both protagonists have problematic relationships with their parents, and both narrate the world in a unique way. Yet, How to look for a lost dog has a real lightness to it. Rose changes the way that you look at the world, and gives you real hope for a positive future for her.

The New York Times stated that 'If you can read, you'll love this book', and that's certainly how we felt about it. If you are looking for a lovable protagonist, a heartwarming plot, and, of course, a dog with yellow fur and seven white toes, then this book is definitely for you. We can't recommend it highly enough!

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