The Lost Girls

A stunning debut novel that examines the price of loyalty, the burden of regret, the meaning of salvation, and the sacrifices we make for those we love, told in the voices of two unforgettable women linked by a decades-old family mystery at a picturesque lake house.

In 1935, six-year-old Emily Evans vanishes from her family’s vacation home on a remote Minnesota lake. Her disappearance destroys the family—her father commits suicide, and her mother and two older sisters spend the rest of their lives at the lake house, keeping a decades-long vigil for the lost child.

Sixty years later, Lucy, the quiet and watchful middle sister, lives in the lake house alone. Before her death, she writes the story of that devastating summer in a notebook that she leaves, along with the house, to the only person who might care: her grandniece, Justine. For Justine, the lake house offers freedom and stability—a way to escape her manipulative boyfriend and give her daughters the home she never had. But the long Minnesota winter is just beginning. The house is cold and dilapidated. The dark, silent lake is isolated and eerie. Her only neighbor is a strange old man who seems to know more about the summer of 1935 than he’s telling.

Soon Justine’s troubled oldest daughter becomes obsessed with Emily’s disappearance, her mother arrives to steal her inheritance, and the man she left launches a dangerous plan to get her back. In a house haunted by the sorrows of the women who came before her, Justine must overcome their tragic legacy if she hopes to save herself and her children.


The Author: Heather Young

Heather Young grew up in Maryland, but has lived in San Francisco since 1991. She's also strongly rooted in the Midwest: her parents grew up in small Iowa towns and met at the University of Iowa. Though they raised their children in the Washington, D.C., area, they brought them to Minnesota every summer. It's this emotional connection that Heather drew upon to create the characters, events, and settings in THE LOST GIRLS.

Heather received an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars in 2011. She lives just outside San Francisco with her two teenaged children and her husband. When she's not writing, she loves biking, hiking, skiing, and reading books she wishes she'd written.


“[T]he delicacy of [Young’s] writing elevates the drama and gives her two central characters depth and backbone…For all the beauty of Young’s writing, her novel is a dark one, full of pain and loss. And the murder mystery that drives it is as shocking as anything you’re likely to read for a good long while.”

— The New York Times Book Review

“Beautifully written, THE LOST GIRLS will please suspense fans as well as those who love redemptive fiction. This is a big, bold, heart-wrenching book reminiscent of novels by Jodi Picoult, and is an excellent debut.”

— Book Reporter

“Young juggles each narrative skillfully, noting the terrible ways in which secrets and evasions shape our lives — and how even when it seems unlikely, redemption is always possible.”

—  The Miami Herald