Kirkus Reviews: Lostuns Found

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Lostuns Found book cover in front of gears and lightning

Good reviews are always a cause for celebration and getting a wonderful Kirkus Reviews review of Lostuns Found, my middle-grade steampunk novel, makes my extra heart happy!


“Skinner offers a steampunk middle-grade adventure novel about a bunch of scrappy urchins who battle bad guys and rescue their own.

The “streeters” live in a part of the city of Landings that seems straight out of the work of Charles Dickens: full of filth and choking smoke, and cold and wet all the time. These kids are orphans, for the most part, who do what they must to survive while dodging nasty cops—especially Constable Cutter. The book’s main hero is Gage, and his gang is the Lostuns. Gangs are the only society they have, and the only source of tenuous security. Gage, while looking for some Lostuns who have gone missing, comes across Wynd, who’s been forced out of her own gang, the Dartlings, because she insists on searching for her two missing young brothers. During the search, Gage encounters a tiny “clockwork” homunculus named Clax who proves invaluable to the mission, time after time. The plot takes off when it becomes clear that the missing boys have been abducted and sold to pirates and smugglers, who spirited them off to an island where they’re forced to extract a precious ore. With pluck and luck and amazing inventions (including flying machines), the heroes confront seemingly hopeless situations and hairbreadth escapes. Skinner is experienced at these sorts of stories, and it shows. The work of J.M Barrie also deserves credit as her inspiration, since foppish Captain Spindle is a barely disguised Captain Hook, his first mate is clearly Mr. Smee, and Clax is a Tinker Bell analogue; there’s even a crocodile (albeit a steampunk creation). Skinner is clearly having fun with this, but the moral—the importance of family, whether biological or only spiritual—is apt and a good lesson for young folks; such togetherness is to be encouraged.

An engaging work that should be a solid hit with young readers”

The reviewer did a great job and really picked up what I was putting down. Of course, as a book coach, as well as an author, I know how important it is to know what point you are making. So, it’s extra meaningful and you get a special level of validation when a reviewer says your work hit the mark you were aiming for.

So, thank you Kirkus Reviews and a special shout out to the reviewer assigned to read Lostuns Found!

More Lostuns Found posts.


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