The Lost Girls: A Vampire Revenge Story is written by Sonia Hartl and published by Page Street Kids. Many people have a bad ex, but Holly Liddell’s ex is worse than just “bad.” In 1987, her boyfriend Elton turned her into a vampire, selling her the idea of being young and in love forever. Fast forward 34 years and Elton’s dumped her, she’s working overnights at Taco Bell, and she’s still sixteen. Not the romantic time she imagined. Holly’s miserable routine is interrupted when she meets Ida and Rose, two of Elton’s other exes. Another thing to add to the list of lies he told: she wasn’t the only one.
Ida and Rose have a request for Holly—help them save his latest prospect, a girl named Parker, and then kill him. Despite her anger at Elton dumping and ditching her, Holly isn’t immediately convinced. They did spend a long time together, and she loved him. Holly agrees to entertain the idea, and goes to her old high school to meet Parker. But an already complicated task becomes more so when Holly starts to fall for Parker, and her feelings appear to be reciprocated.
Hartl creates an interesting vampire in Holly. She doesn’t mind killing people, she has to eat, but she has a strict code she follows to feel more human. Holly only kills creeps and predators, and she always gives them a few seconds to run. No one ever runs. They see a seemingly helpless sixteen-year-old girl and assume there’s no danger. It’s the last mistake they ever make. Holly, as well as Ida and Rose, are dangerous. Hartl doesn’t shy away from the gore in The Lost Girls. Things get bloody and multiple characters receive severe injuries including lost limbs. In one scene, someone’s eyes are ripped out. Despite that, the violence and gore never feel gratuitous.
Vampires in The Lost Girls don’t have it as bad as some; they can’t be killed by a stake through the heart or holy water, they aren’t deterred by crosses, they can enter buildings without invitations. And they can heal extremely fast- think Deadpool level healing factor. They can come back from almost anything. But injuries you die with before you’re turned will stick around forever. Pre-turning injuries aren’t the only thing that that will stick around forever- whatever you look like when you’re turned is how you’ll look forever.
Unlike your appearance, your memories of being a human aren’t quite as permanent. While looking into ways to permanently kill Elton, the girls realize that in doing so, they’ll have to give up their own memories and emotions connected to their previous human lives. Before they were turned, Holly, Ida, and Rose left one drop of their living blood in an heirloom, an object with deep meaning to them. It keeps them connected to their lost humanity. But to kill Elton, all three of them have to destroy their heirlooms. Revenge has a steep price.
This concept of revenge and if it’s worth it or not is an interesting addition to The Lost Girls. Hartl makes the readers sympathize with the girls—Elton emotionally abused and manipulated them, treating them like accessories. He takes advantage of the fact that they all think no one would care if they disappear. And now, they can’t stay away from him because his blood keeps them from having to follow him around for eternity. There’s no healing the trauma when the wound keeps being reopened.
Solely based on gaining their freedom, it seems like Holly, Ida, and Rose would have a very easy choice to make- get revenge on Elton by killing him, and they can move on with their undead lives. But as previously mentioned, this would require a huge sacrifice from them. That makes the decision all the harder. And then they have to take into account Parker’s life- if they don’t kill Elton, there’s no guarantee that he won’t turn her, putting her in the same situation they’re in. Hartl uses this incredibly difficult choice to show just how much these girls have been through, how much they’ve lost, and how much they have left to lose. The Lost Girls: A (Complicated) Vampire Revenge Story.
Going into the book I didn’t expect to feel so deeply for the characters involved. But Hartl is wonderful at writing emotional moments that hit hard. Holly, Ida, Rose, and Parker’s lives were bad even before they met Elton. They’re self-described “lost girls;” the girls who didn’t have connections to friends or family, who had no one looking out for them. Girls who want to belong and to be loved. Elton picks up on that and swoops in to be their supposed savior, the one who will “find” them. Minus the vampiric transformation, it’s a very real situation. At 16 I would’ve described myself as a “lost girl” too; someone who would’ve easily fallen prey to someone like Elton. The Lost Girls is amazing because of the way that Hartl weaves these very real emotions and situations together with the vampire mythos and horror elements.
While there hasn’t been any shortage of vampire content in movies, tv shows, and games, it feels like it’s been a while since vampires were huge in Young Adult books. The Lost Girls is a refreshing return to the world of teenage vampires and the unique perspective that comes from being “young” forever.
The Lost Girls: A Vampire Revenge Story is available now wherever books are sold.
The Lost Girls: A Vampire Revenge Story
The Lost Girls is a refreshing return to the world of teenage vampires and the unique perspective that comes from being “young” forever.