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Lost One Standing

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Loved it! 😍

A Hunger Games-inspired book where the parents' willingness to pay big determines which kids live or die.

Young adult, or YA, fiction has these days often taken on a dystopian feel. In these tales, society or some corner of it is pulled apart either by rogue actors or other undesirable elements such as an imbalance in money and/or power. 

Hector Hill’s “Lost Man Standing” certainly fits this bill. Set in the mold of the Hunger Games series, to which its main character often draws comparisons and also of which I am concurrently reading the latest “A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” it places many of the same ideological issues at the forefront. Instead of children being thrown into an arena and forced to fight to the death, “Lost One Standing” pits parents against each other in a battle to see who’s child is worth more, with the lowest of ten to be “eliminated”. A group of bad guys, it is never clear for whom they work exactly, take a New England prep school hostage and demand money from the ten parents deemed the richest, with the rising tally to be posted on a leaderboard.

Cade, the story’s protagonist, is an intelligent and resourceful teen at the school. He uses his abilities to help others, if creating papers and the like for them can be categorized a such, but he also enjoys spying on classes and gatherings of which he is not a part. When he encounters danger, incidentally with his crush Kira by his side, their friendship/romantic interests deepen. 

I enjoy the pacing and nonstop action of this story. Crisp Writing and short sentences lend an almost cinematic feel to the goings-on, and the reader slides to the edge of his seat. 

I only have a couple of wonderings about the way things roll out. One is the almost random shifting of perspective, only the main character has first-person and the other many points of view wink into and out of focus almost before they can even be grasped. This may be intentional though, reflecting the fast-changing and confusing nature of a hostage situation. 

Second, Cade seems a little too invincible at times. He always manages to save the day with some kind of incredible move, though challenges do mount in the end. Again, this is mostly believable given his afore-mentioned resourcefulness. 

I would recommend this title especially to lovers of Stephen King-type novels, as it centers tightly on one location and a small group. Also anyone interested in the underlying causes of societal discord and how we handle perceive inequalities could find this a compelling read.

Reviewed by

‪An avid reader, I have consumed books of many genres. I have reviewed several on my blog, including a few author requests because they know of my potential to reach varied audiences. I also do mini-reviews via Twitter and tag the author if available. ‬

About the author

Check out the Kirkus Reviews starred review of the new YA thriller here: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/hector-hill/lost-one-standing/ And read the Five-Star IndieReader review here: https://indiereader.com/book_review/lost-one-standing/ view profile

Published on June 25, 2020

Published by Waterfall Films

80000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Young Adult

Reviewed by