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The Lost Days - Rob Reger, Jessica Gruner, Buzz Parker Emily the Strange is a strange little girl, and Emily the Strange: The Lost Days is a strange little novel. It is the first in a series about Emily, her four cats and the many other weird and wonderful people she encounters in her adventures.

Thirteen things I have to say about Emily the Strange: The Lost Days:

1. Apart from seeing her a handful of times on t-shirts and the like, this was my first real encounter with Emily the Strange. So I went into this blind, not knowing anything more than “she’s on t-shirts and according to this blurb she has four cats”.

2. Emily the Strange: The Lost Days is written in a diary format, not with specific dates attached (e.g. Monday, 4th of March) but rather counting the days since the story – and Emily’s journey towards finding out who she is and why she is where she is – begins. Time skips are mostly just given as “later” rather than being specific. Sometimes this made it a bit confusing to remember what day it was or how long the story had been going on, but it was easy enough to pick up on as I kept reading.

3. Because of the nature of the plot and Emily’s amnesia, the opening of the novel is both a beginning and a middle, but without the relevant back story to make that visible. Everything (and I do mean everything) we learn through-out the course of The Lost Days is when Emily learns it. It makes for a bit of a bumpy ride at times, as context is completely missing at the time of many discoveries.

4. Emily’s (or rather “Earwig’s”, as without a name that is what she has taken to referring to herself as) diary entries are written in a very chatty voice, often adding emphasis by extending words by repeating letters or WRITING in CAPITALS. She’s also fond of using extra exclamation points. Some might like this aspect while others might find it irritating.

5. Sometimes conversations are recorded as one normally would in a novel, while other times they are recorded through script format.

6. Emily also likes to make lists, all with thirteen points (just like this review), and these can be found all throughout the book. Again, some might like them, while others might not.

7. The text is accompanied by illustrations. These illustrations can take on many forms – doodles by Emily and photographs she has taken are the most common of those that litter the pages. Also included are maps and letters, which nicely extend the story and the goings on inside it.

8. The characters and setting are more than a little over the top, which adds nicely to the off-centre feel of The Lost Days. It is ridiculous on some levels, but that is part of the charm, I think.

9. There is a plot and a mystery here, and I found it enjoyable to try and figure out what was doing on while “Earwig” did so as well. It’s not incredibly complex, and someone with more familiarity with Emily the Strange might be able to catch on faster (I don’t really know because of point one of this list), but it was fun to come up with outlandish ideas and see how outlandish the actual answers were.

10. Even after thinking it over for a while and asking about, I’m still not quite sure what to classify The Lost Days as. It’s got a little bit of fantasy, a little bit of science fiction, a lot more mystery – it’s a mash-up of a bunch of different elements attached to one larger story.

11. Overall I quite enjoyed The Lost Days, being my first proper encounter with Emily the Strange. It was a fast, light read that caused a few giggles, a bit of thinking and kept my attention for a little while. Which is always fun.

12. If you are already a fan of Emily the Strange or if you like quirky little novels filled with illustrations scattered about the pages in various ways (such as Scarlett Dedd), then I recommend you give Emily the Strange: The Lost Days a go.

13. Emily the Strange: The Lost Days is the first of a series of four YA novels. The second of these, Emily the Strange: Stranger and Stranger, is out now.