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4.5 out of 5 stars46
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on 3 December 2010
I got 'Lost at Sea' as an already avid 'Scott Pilgrim' reader and having caught glimpses of O'Malley's earlier work on his website. Don't approach the book expecting it to be more 'Scott Pilgrim' style frenetic hijinks; it's a lot more introspective, but it's very sweet in its own way. While the art and story are both less polished than the later work, lacking the slicker, more dynamic feel and the tighter plotting and snappy dialogue developed in Pilgrim there's a sincerity in that roughness that strikes a very human chord. It's a book about being eighteen, trying to find yourself, searching, being a little crazy and making friends.
While it's got a few rough edges, such as how sometimes the characters are a bit hard to distinguish and it's a bit prone to lapsing into navel-gazing, it's more than charming enough to make an enjoyable and engrossing read, and really captures the feeling of being a certain age.
If you enjoy exploring the potential of Graphic Novels, enjoy quirky and thoughtful stories or just want to have a peek at what O'Malley was doing before Pilgrim, it's well worth a look.
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Four college age kids are driving back home for the holidays. Three of them are good friends while the fourth, the girl and main character of the story Raleigh, is a casual acquaintance. It becomes clear from her silence that Raleigh is a troubled girl and as the journey goes on they begin to discover that Raleigh's silence is due to a broken heart from a recently ended relationship.

This is the first book I've read of Bryan Lee O'Malley and I'll say it's not bad. While the drawings are alright at best (manga heavy with few individual touches to distinguish it from other manga art), the story is at times compelling and other times cliche. The overall story of Raleigh and her internal monologue is ok, but her surreal search for a soul lends the story itself an element of intrigue.

However if you look at the rest of the book you see how cliche the rest of it is. Teen sarcasm spots the script like acne, while overly precious emo moments like waking up in the middle of the night and saying "we've got to look for my soul - I think it's in a cat" make for cringe-worthy moments. Imagine if someone did that to you - I think I'd tell them to shut up and go back to sleep. Of course that wouldn't lend itself well to the story so the four wake up and wander the town in the middle of the night trying to catch cats. Ergh.

It's these moments of unbelievably twee actions that let down the book. That and the fact that the story is centred around a broken heart. Remember that sketch from "Family Guy" where they satirise teen dramas? "Nothing in your life will ever be more important than what's going on right here, right now, by this locker!" - "High school is such a serious thing... these problems matter!". It's like that. You want to tell Raleigh that hey a broken heart sucks and first love is both euphoric and shattering but you get over it. Overall it's not that important and sooner rather than later you'll look back and wonder what the hell it was all about.

"Lost at Sea" is an alright book that feels at times too much like a cartoon version of "Dawson's Creek". Two of the four characters never become more than cyphers while the remaining two have their moments but ultimately feel shallow and their actions contrived. Not a terrible book but not good enough to make me want to read more from O'Malley.
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on 13 February 2013
I picked this up during a read-a-thon because I hadn't quite hit my goal for book count and I knew a short read would help out with that, not to mention it had been sat on my to read shelf for far too long. I honestly didn't know what to expect from it because I hadn't read the synopsis and bought it on a whim for my boyfriend after he enjoyed the Scott Pilgrim series by the same author. So here I was delving into Bryan Lee O'Malley's writing for the first time and it was an amazing moment.
Obviously not knowing what this book was about, it was a bit of shock finding out the main character believes she has no soul because a cat stole it or because her mum made a deal with the devil who placed it in a cat, and she also doesn't exactly tell the story from point A to point B, its more like point M to point C to point H to point A. That makes it sound confusing. Its not. Its very well told and put together and I just want to gush at how much I loved it.
I think for me, what I liked the most is that I connected with Raleigh a fair amount, okay so I'm pretty sure my soul is still in tact but ending up on a road trip by complete accident and the way she perceives herself is how I do the majority of the days. I guess a lot of teenagers do though. I guess the majority of teenagers feel Lost at Sea at some point, and I think that's what I loved about this book, it really did connect with me. All in all its a beautiful short read and worth picking up!
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on 9 April 2012
I liked this quirky little book. The art is really cute and the story is silly and meaningful at the same time. And there's lots of cats. I love cats.

I felt horrible a lot of the time when I was a teenager. I constantly judged myself based on how I was different from other people. I was quiet and shy and tongue-tied because I thought everything I said was stupid or uncool. I could not speak to boys. Except online. There I was funny and sarcastic and outgoing and everything I wanted to be. Then I would see the boys I had talked to online at school and completely clam up. So I could definitely relate to Raleigh, the socially awkward main character who is painfully confused about her identity. It is hard being a teenager and hurts like hell....I think adults need to remember that more.

I also like the way nothing is really explained. Her mum? Stillman? How she got in the car? Everything is confusion and uncertainty; the feeling I know I had right through my teen years. This book was unsettling and quite heart wrenching for me and made me want to be able to go back and tell a teenage me 'JUST BE COMFORTABLE WITH HOW YOU ARE STOP WORRYING ABOUT LOOKING STUPID!' Easier said than done- for me and Raleigh!
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on 14 October 2011
This is one of my favourite books of all time, I've read and reread it countless times.
A weird little story that goes nowhere in particular but somehow helps you find yourself along the way. The art is lovely and I enjoy Bryan Lee O'Malley's writing style a lot, his characters are intriguing and you feel like you want to be part of their life.
As it says on the back, it's for anyone who has ever been 18 or confused.
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on 30 April 2007
Lost at Sea is about a girl called Raleigh who embarks upon a cross country road trip with some friends she doesn't really know. She also believes that a cat stole her soul, she has strange dreams, and she gets up at funny times of the night and sees cats.

Malley has a great eye for social politics and situations and he captures the insecurity of adolescence very well. This is the kind of book that you read all the way through feeling like an invisible intruder in the personal environment of people somewhere between friends and strangers. I enjoyed it a lot.
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on 18 January 2014
Lost At Sea is a humorous & dark coming of age graphic novel by Bryan Lee O'Malley (Scott Pilgrim Series).
Raleigh & fellow high school students Sephanie, Dave & Ian accidentally meet at a train station and decide to go on a road trip together.
Raleigh, having just visited her dad & meeting her internet boyfriend Stillman for the first time, spends most of the journey self reflecting as to why she has no real friends, why her mum & dad aren't together & why she believes she has no soul.
When Raleigh hits a serious low Stephanie, Dave & Ian agree to help Raleigh look for her soul in the strangest of places, helping her realise that life isn't as bad as it seems.

A charming & accurate representation of teenage woes, complete with the high points as well as the low ones. Lost At Sea is a brilliant and thought provoking story.
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on 13 January 2011
One of the best graphic novels I've ever read. Really heart-warming, tear-shrinking tale of a displaced girl travelling from No-Cal to Canada. When at the last pages you'll be aware of her secret, you'll want her to materialize out of the inked page just to give her a big hug.
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on 9 May 2011
...But you probably will. The art style is different, the story progression is wildly different, and overall you get the impression that someone other than Brian Lee O'Malley wrote this. To be frank this just goes to show what range this guy is capable of, and I'm excited to see what comes next. The story follows a girl on a road trip going through some typical teen drama, but it's well presented and you do end up relating to the characters. It's a quick read you can blast through over a few tube trips, but I have a feeling it could be something you end up returning to. Great fun.
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on 27 September 2015
I'm a big fan of Bryan Lee O'Malley. This is a little less fantastical than O'Malley's newer books, but just as good. I started out with Scott Pilgrim, which covered a 23 year old (I think), then read Seconds, which focused upon a late twenties protagonist, meanwhile Lost at Sea's heroine is 18. She's perfectly written, representing so so well the self deprecating thoughts experienced by real people at that age. Definitely worth a read.
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