Review: The Lost Girls

This was another book where I was utterly hooked by the premise. I mean you have me at sapphic vampires, but throwing in a revenge plot and undertones of a reclamation of your own fate and power just seals the deal.

This review was originally published on The Nerd Daily.

When Elton Irving turned Holly Liddell into a vampire in 1987, he promised her eternal love. But thirty-four years later, Elton has left her, her hair will be crimped for the rest of immortality, and the only job she can get as a forever-sixteen-year-old is the midnight shift at Taco Bell.

Holly’s afterlife takes an interesting turn when, she meets Rose McKay and Ida Ripley. Having also been turned and discarded by Elton—Rose in 1954, and Ida, his ex-fiancée, in 1921—they want to help her, and ask for her help in return.

Rose and Ida are going to kill Elton before he turns another girl. Though Holly is hurt and angry with Elton for tossing her aside, she’s reluctant to kill her ex, until Holly meets Parker Kerr—the new girl Elton has set his sights on—and feels a quick, and nerve-wracking attraction to her.

TW: manipulation, gaslighting, death, violence, sexual harassment, blood


My Thoughts:

The Lost Girls is a highly entertaining sapphic vampire romance and contemporary novel that really resonated with me. It’s the type of book that you just have to devour. 

Hartl has this really funny and witty writing style that draws you in straight away. It opens with this utterly unglamorous view of teenage vampirism, hilariously dispelling any expectations you may have going in. From there on, Hartl keeps this darkly comic tone that infuses the story with so much humour and heart that makes you utterly fall in love with the book. Vampirism is discussed so casually, with quite a lot of death and blood galore. They are blood-sucking creatures after all, so they will leave a trail of death behind them. It has such strong What We Do in the Shadows vibes to it, which I absolutely adored. The writing style is so pacy and constantly flowing, making this a very easy book to binge in one sitting. Alongside the humour, there is also plenty of suspense and tension that keeps the pages turning and the reader completely enthralled. 

This is also a deeply feminist book. I’d be inclined to describe it as a sapphic, vampiric John Tucker Must Die. There’s that ongoing thread of revenge and a kind of poetic justice. Elton is a slimy, manipulative figure that you just utterly loathe. Interestingly Hartl uses the symbol of the male vampires to encapsulate abusive and predatory men. We see through Holly’s moral code that human men can be just as monstrous, as she only kills men who are sexually harassing her or other women. The vampire counterparts of these men are just as manipulative, with an interesting take on the Nice Guy trope being exhibited. These men feel entitled to the women they prey upon, with Elton literally treating his female victims as his property and also as being completely disposable. The cycle of violence and abuse is thoroughly explored here, primarily through the chain of his victims. He goes after a particular type: the titular Lost Girls of society. Therefore, Hartl uses these supernatural symbols to provide fascinating and timely social commentary that only hits harder when you consider the culture and environment these women are stuck in. Elton’s actions and attitudes have not changed through the years and are still reflected in his modern-day counterparts. 

On the flipside, Hartl also explores the power of female solidarity and friendship. It is only by coming together that these women can take down Elton once and for all. This leads to some amazing dialogue and really interesting dynamics. Each woman has such a different reaction to her immortality, but they’re all ultimately connected by their brutal ending of their human lives. There’s so much potential and longing for what could have been, leading to some heart-breaking moments. This is a book that really ruminates on memory and how our past affects our present. Rose, Ida and Holly are such three-dimensional and lovable characters that really jumped off the page and into my heart. Elton’s next intended victim, Parker, is also an intriguing character. She’s mired in her own circumstances, which have left her isolated from the world and deeply pessimistic. Her vulnerability is what draws Elton’s eye and it is made abundantly clear how depraved and disgusting that is. However, I absolutely loved the dynamic between her and Holly. Their chemistry is so well-matched and their dialogue crackled with flirtatious, funny and empathetic sparkle. I also liked how Hart explored the secrets buried within their relationship and the intrinsically odd dynamic of their ages. 

The Lost Girls is an absorbing and alluring tale that explores female rage, solidarity and friendship. It’s a darkly comic sapphic vampire romance that will make you fall in love.

5 thoughts on “Review: The Lost Girls

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