The Lost Causes

They’re the kids that no one knows — or no one wants to know. The rich depressive, the OCD chick, the hypochondriac, the drug abuser, the athlete with anger management issues. All chosen for intensive group therapy because they’re out of other options.

They’re lost causes, the therapist tells them. She promises this support group will help them heal. There’s only one problem. She’s not a therapist. And that water she offers? It contains a dangerous serum that gives each of the kids a psychic power. Suddenly, they can think clearly, speak to ghosts, see the past, even move objects with their mind. Their earlier problems have vanished, but their new freedom comes with a price.

Sabrina, Gabby, Z, Justin and Andrew are to help the FBI solve the grisly murder that has rocked their small town. Their new powers will help them uncover clues and follow leads that have eluded the authorities. Their outsider status gives them the perfect cover.

But the same traits that make them top investigators also make them vulnerable. As they close in on the murderer, they expose a much larger conspiracy that puts them directly in harm’s way and makes them wonder who — if anyone — they can trust.

Compulsively readable, The Lost Causes sweeps readers into the place where science fiction and mystery meet, ending on a drop-dead cliffhanger that will leave them longing for more.

Jessica Koosed Etting and Alyssa Embree Schwartz have written extensively for TV and film. Their YA series Georgetown Academy was released in ebook format by interactive publisher Coliloquy (since sold to Vook) and has built a strong following on Wattpad, with over 1.3 million reads and over 12,000 followers.

I know what you’re thinking – it’s yet another take on the Breakfast Club genre but it’s not so if you give it a try you’ll see judging a book by its back cover can be unfair.

You do have a motley crew thrown together that probably never would’ve breathed the same air before willingly but the rushed character development, sci fi like aspects and intriguing mystery will prove that this plot device was the perfect set up for the story.

Although at times it feels like the characters jumped from point A to point N in their development you still feel very much by the end that you know who they are, how they became the way they did both pre and post enhanced and that these were all basically good kids who just needed someone to tell them they worth it. I ended up liking all of them and really feeling for their struggles and being happy for their successes.

Yes there is an ethically horrendous, although not unprecedented in reality, plot device where government agents kidnap and without their consent use drug enhancements on these kids to move the story along. No that’s not okay and the author doesn’t try to convince you that it is but seeing as how this is done ad nauseam in the comic world without people having a major hissy fit I’m not going to give the author flack for using it here either.

Overall I think teens should like it. The authors have an extensive career working in the YA world both with Literary and Visual Media so they know what this fan base is into and they’ve managed to capture various points here. It’s easy to see this becoming another of their shows or multi-book serials.

Thank you to Netgalley and Kids Can Press for allowing me to review this book.


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*synopsis and pic from

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