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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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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 3 April 2011
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 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 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 30 November 2013
This is very much a short story - I read it in little over half an hour. But it has some nice bits, nice little bits of humour, some weirdness and a little bit of creepy, however it doesn't really go anywhere and in the end it's all rather unsatisfactory.
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on 12 September 2013
If you are fan of Bryan Lee O'Maliey and his Scott Pilgrim series or even if you aren't I would still recommend this graphic novel to those venturing into the world of comics for the first time. The art style epitomises what the author is all about along with the writing style. The lead character is interesting enough for you to read from cover to cover and the pay off is worth it.

In summary, Get this book!
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on 26 February 2014
I could relate as I went to some of the stuff the main character went through in the comic.

Bryan Lee O'Malley's earlier work does wonders on a sunday afternoon.

Buy it and feel good about yourself. A good story for a good sunday afternoon
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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 22 June 2016
With Lost At Sea, Bryan Lee O'Malley delivers a deep and accurate insight into what it really is like to be young and in love. Everything from the narration, to the simplistic art, to the non traditional structure makes you feel like you really are in the mind of the main character. If you are 18-25 and you have ever been in love, read this book.
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