Title: Losing Francesca
Author: JA Huss
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense, YA
Release Date: 1st July 2013
Challenges: Winter COYER 2015-2016
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
If there's one thing that Francesca is certain of it's that she's not Fiona Sullivan. On entering the US her face was recognised as that of a girl who had gone missing at age 6 and after lengthy court battles she is required to live with the family she was taken from until her 18 birthday. At first those 7 weeks couldn't go fast enough but she soon finds herself slotting into the Sullivans' world and experiencing family life in a way she never had before. And then there's Brody, who has mourned for the loss of Fiona, the girl he thought was his soul mate, for 12 years.
I'm not sure where to start with this. Losing Francesca is different from most of Huss' books simply because it lacks the sex element (though I'll get to the romance in a moment) and I can understand how some readers may be disappointed in that. However I loved this book. It was such a good read and had me completely hooked from beginning to end!
So the romance. It was definitely there, and there was definitely sexual tension between the two leads (even though they didn't act on it beyond kissing). However they acted their age (20 and 17/18) and talked about sex and wanting to take that step. I actually really felt like these were real teenagers! The tension was offset by the other aspects of the relationship, including some super sweet moments.
I found the focus on Francesca's identity. At the beginning she very adamently thinks one thing, but she does slowly begin to doubt herself and though it is hinted at that she has more of an identity than she lets on it isn't revealed until quite late in the book. It's the struggle that most people go through when finding themselves but magnified because of her situation. I liked that as a reader you were part of her finding who she was and beginning to find her independence.
There was also a lot of focus on family, and I liked that there was a more grey bad guy than Huss could have gone for. Because very few of the characters were blood related (which is revealed in the first two chapters so no spoiler) the real focus was on family being where you feel comfortable and who you choose that to be with. It's a very beautiful concept, and something I can definitely relate to.
This was a great read, it was gritty and real with a good level of suspense. Though I wouldn't change her other books, this one is certainly as good as some of her other works!