It's in a magazine piece about a rodeo that Caroline Winters spots a photo of a young woman who just might be her sister Ellie, abducted 15 years earlier at the age of 5. Feeling unsettled in the life she has created as a cocktail waitress in New Orleans, Caroline takes off on a search for her sister. Ward tells the story somewhat awkwardly—splicing it with letters from a writer whose identity initially is unclear and inserting flashbacks that feel heavy-handed. Though the book also is marred by underdeveloped characters and some improbable events, How to Be Lost does manage to be engaging: Set against the backdrop of a kidnapping, and with its appreciation of human quirkiness (Caroline is fond of gas-station hot dogs and dreams of dating men who smell like pine trees), it invites comparison to The Lovely Bones. In the end, it's not the plot but Ward's depiction of family, with its attendant love and guilt, that will keep you turning pages.