A special thank you to author Adi Alsaid for today’s guest post. To find out more about Adi and his book, Let’s Get Lost, see below.
Guest Post: Adi’s First Trip Alone
My sister likes to say that before I came back from my trip to Israel, she’d never heard me speak. That’s probably an exaggeration, but not an extreme one. When I boarded the plane to Israel on the eve of my eighteenth birthday, I was a shy kid, reserved, talkative only with my closest friends.
My brother puts it a different way: “Before, you couldn’t decide if you cared or not. Then you decided you didn’t.” He said this when we shared an apartment in college, when I was doing things like taking spontaneous road trips to Baker, California just to have lunch, or founding a student organization at UNLV called Students for the Advancement of Silliness. I brought my first girlfriend to the top floor of a library and rained down thirty notecards with book quotations on them. I wrote editorials in the school newspaper about choosing to be happier.
Let me be clear about this: I didn’t notice it happening. In Israel, I read a lot. I walked around a lot. Though fluent in Hebrew, I didn’t speak a lot, because outside of my grandmother and some cousins, I didn’t know anyone. I could have made friends on the basketball courts where I played, or the bar full of American expats and travelers from all over the world, but I didn’t. By the end I was having more and more conversations with people there, because I’d learned that if I didn’t I could go days without saying a word. But that didn’t feel like growth; it just felt like loneliness, which wasn’t anything new. I had fun in Israel, and though I’d imagined something life-changing (I brought a notebook, thinking that maybe I’d write a book while there), I left thinking it hadn’t happened. The first day I returned to Mexico and had coffee with a friend, within twenty minutes, she said, “You’ve changed.”
It’s not like I went to Israel and came back a new person. I was simply more myself. The layer of shyness that usually hid parts of me from the world was washed away by the Mediterranean, or burned away from my skin from the suntan I gained on the beaches of Tel Aviv. I broke out of my proverbial shell, deciding, as my brother pointed out, that I no longer cared to reside within it.
Here’s what I’m trying to get at, and why Leila’s travels in Let’s Get Lost serve as the perfect backdrop to five coming-of-age stories: Travel leads to self-discovery. You grow, even if you don’t notice it happening. Especially if you do it at the age I did, the age the characters in the book are, the world seeps into your cracks and pulls you further out.
Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.
Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.
There’s HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.
Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila’s own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you’re looking for is to get lost along the way.
About the Author
Adi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City, then studied at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in class, he mostly read fiction and continuously failed to fill out crossword puzzles, so it’s no surprise that after graduating, he did not go into business world but rather packed up his apartment into his car and escaped to the California coastline to become a writer.
He’s now back in his hometown, where he writes, coaches high school and elementary basketball, and has perfected the art of making every dish he eats or cooks as spicy as possible. In addition to Mexico, he’s lived in Tel Aviv, Las Vegas, and Monterey, California. A tingly feeling in his feet tells him more places will eventually be added to the list. Let’s Get Lost is his YA debut.
1 signed hard cover copy of Let’s Get Lost
1 Let’s Get Lost luggage tag
1 Harlequin TEEN notebook
1 Let’s Get Lost sachel
1 Harlequin TEEN tote bag