Lost Property by James Moloney

‘That’s what the Lost Property Office is for, to get lost things back to their owners,’

Seventeen-year-old Josh Tambling is working at the Central Station Lost Property Office in Sydney for part of his school holidays. From the outside, Josh has everything going for him: caring parents, he’s part of a band, has a lovely girlfriend and is doing well at school.  But his family is suffering. Josh’s older brother Michael left home two years ago, and the only family member he will speak with is Josh. Why did Michael leave? And where is he?

Working with Clive in the Lost Property Office gives Josh a different perspective on the importance of items to people. Some of the people he meets have lost small but significant items, things that matter to them and define (in part) their relationship with the world. So how much bigger, then, is the loss of Michael to Josh’s family?

Josh finds a clue to Michael’s whereabouts and heads north from Sydney (while ostensibly on a trip with school friends) to find Michael. He wants to bring Michael home.

This YA novel deals with several important issues around identity and boundaries. Josh learns to find his own place in the world, while respectfully moving away from the religious practices of his parents.

I enjoyed this thought-provoking novel.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith