Summary: Doris, a liberal teen in a conservative town, hasn’t made too many friends since the waterslide incident. Nell hasn’t been so successful in the friend department either, since she’s just moved to small town Alabama from the Chicago surburbs. But what do the two have in common with each other, let alone fallen-from-grace star quarterback Grant? All three have summer jobs at Unclaimed Baggage, a store where lost luggage goes to find a home. Working together for the summer, Grant, Doris, and Nell learn that while everyone has some extra baggage weighing them down, true friendship and love will help you find your home.
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Cover Lust: Unclaimed Baggage is one of the cutest YA contemporary covers! Can I find that squirrel in Unclaimed Baggage?
Jen Doll’s YA debut novel Unclaimed Baggage sounded perfect for my contemporary-loving heart. Thankfully, this summer contemporary about three teens who work in a lost luggage story was right up my alley!
I think what really makes Unclaimed Baggage such an enjoyable and unique read was its setting of the same namesake, Unclaimed Baggage. I think it’s safe to say that most readers have never read a book with the main setting as a lost luggage store, let alone where three teens work for the summer. It was so fun to see Doris, Nell and Grant bond over their job and the bits of personality they each brought to the table. Doris is an organizational and finder of lost things extraordinaire- does she want to help me with my overflowing bookshelves?
I’ve been getting better about enjoying books with multiple first person perspectives, with many thanks going to Unclaimed Baggage. Jen Doll gives each character their own voice, so it’s not easy to lose track of who’s narrating what and when. Doris was my favorite perspective for her storyline and familiarity with small-town Alabama and the store. Throughout all three perspectives, the book tackles some heavy subjects including discrimination, religion, sexuality, alcoholism, and death. I think Jen Doll covered a wide array of subjects well while balancing more heart-lighted matter, like first loves, Krispy Kreme, and hot air balloon festivals.
Unclaimed Baggage is also filled with plenty of hysterical moments between Doris, Nell, and Grant, and the not-so tech savvy adults in their lives. I loved how Unclaimed Baggage’s owner referred to Twitter as Tweetster, and while I’m thankful that Nell didn’t end up getting a job at Waffle House, I loved this gem from her mom:
“ ‘You don’t have to work at a Waffle House, honey,’ she says calmly. ‘Though I think they’re pretty hip nowadays! I hear they have a hilarious Twitter account’ ” (28).
Overall, I really enjoyed Unclaimed Baggage for its unique, funny, and heartwarming story. Any book that leaves me wanting more has a special place on my read pile!
This review is based on an advance reading copy. By no means did this affect my thoughts or opinions.
Is Unclaimed Baggage on your TBR? What are your favorite books with unique settings? Share in the comments!