Coyote Lost and Found | Dan Gemeinhart


Out Now from Henry Holt & Co.; 282 pages

Content Warning: Covid-19, death, trauma, racism 

About the Author: “Dan Gemeinhart lives in a small town smack dab in the middle of Washington state with his wife and three young daughters. He was lucky and grateful to be a teacher-librarian in an elementary school for thirteen years, where he got to share awesome books with awesome kids. He loves camping, cooking and traveling. He also plays guitar (badly) and reads (constantly). His house is always a mess. He is really pretty darn happy” (Bio from author’s website).

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“He was always saying stuff like, there’s way too much meanness out there Coyote; you gotta put as much kindness into the universe as you can and that kind of garbage. Which, I’m also big enough to acknowledge, is not actually garbage.”

Coyote Lost and Found is a stand-alone sequel to Gemeinhart’s previous work, The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise. This middle-grade novel follows an eccentric thirteen-year-old named Coyote after she discovers her mother’s ashes. Coyote takes it upon herself to make right of the ashes that her father had hidden from her in their road trip bus, by suggesting that they finally lay her to rest by scattering her ashes. The only issue is that Coyote doesn’t know where her mother wanted her ashes to be scattered and may be keeping this bit of information a secret from her father, Rodeo. Coyote and her father must embark on a bus ride across America, picking up old and new friends along the way, so Coyote can finally let go of her mother while learning how to hold onto her even tighter.

Coyote Lost and Found is a tragically realistic look at grief, or, in Coyote’s words, “emotional nausea,” wrapped up in an exciting cross-country adventure. The book is unafraid to make statements on life, loss, love, and even Covid-19, making the book feel very mature, while remaining in the lens of a quirky, slightly lost thirteen-year-old. This book can be enjoyed by a wide audience, as the story feels timeless and genuinely offers some serious subversions of expectations. Coyote is a refreshingly spunky character who is far from flawless. She is unbelievably generous and kind but also insecure, impulsive, judgmental, and really embodies what it means to be a teenager. Gemeinhart expertly crafts this book with enough lightheartedness and humor to balance out the immense trauma and grief that many of the characters feel throughout. His writing is fast-paced and filled to the brim with creative, and at times, dark-humored metaphors for life and how it feels to be alone. The book has a large cast of lovable and diverse characters, and Gemeinhart builds tension throughout by keeping them confined with their secrets and one another on the road trip bus, Yager. Overall, Coyote Lost and Found is an excellent adventure tale that keeps readers guessing what will happen next until the very end. I highly recommend this novel to everyone, but especially to tweens and adults who may feel lost in life, as it offers many cathartic moments that will leave you both emotionally wrecked and undeniably happy. 

Jenica Delaney, Pine Reads Review Writer