Unwillingly forced into a "vacation" by her chemo and cancer treatments, Natalie is at a loss and feeling sorry for herself. Her cancer therapist suggests a diary would help her get her feelings out. Natalie decides to take this one step further by tracking down her five lost loves to find out what went wrong and what she can learn from it. She figures she needs something to do - her co-workers are ignoring her calls and emails, insisting she concentrate on getting well instead of work, and indeed her "help" seems to be making things harder for everyone from Natalie to the good senator.
Throughout the book, unwavering support comes in the form of her best friend Sally, as well as from unexpected sources - her parents and her former doctor, Zach. As she moves through her list of ex's, Natalie gains some insight into her character and her life goals. Yet she puts off contacting Jake, the one man she completely loved and regrets losing. Ultimately, her diary and decision to seek out her former loves, along with the advice that "you always have a choice" will shape Natalie's outcome.
THE DEPARTMENT OF LOST & FOUND is a fantastic debut novel for author Allison Winn Scotch. The characters are well developed and realistic, as is the depiction of Natalie's cancer treatment. Both compassion and humor are woven into the story, keeping the overall tone more hopeful than fatalistic. Although there is a romantic storyline, and it's very sweet and poignant, I feel the larger emotional bond is between Natalie and her best friend Sally. Their friendship survived longer than any of their past romances, and is portrayed as being very strong, deep, and important. I loved this book, and would recommend it to those looking for a story strong in both love and friendship.