Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Once Was Lost (YA)

Once Was Lost. By Sara Zarr. 2009. [October 2009]. Little, Brown. 224 pages.

The whole world is wilting. Shriveling. Giving up. Dying. Maybe not the whole world. Somewhere, I guess, it's not ninety-one degrees at four in the morning. I would like to be in that place. I would like to be somewhere, anywhere, that life feels possible and not smothered under a layer of heat and hopelessness.

Sam (not short for Samantha, but Samara) is a preacher's kid. And this summer is her worst yet. Her mom's in court-ordered rehab. Her dad is her dad. He's so caught up in being "Pastor Charlie" that he has forgotten that his family should come first. When he's not ignoring her, he's not listening to her. (Could this be one reason why her mom turned to alcohol?!) Sam's family is falling apart. It's more than her mom's drinking and her dad's absence. There are financial worries as well. Sam might have to switch schools. She just feels so alone, so depressed, so angry. This is a summer when doubts and questions and fears arise.

When Jody Shaw, a church kid, only thirteen, disappears, then Sam just sees it as one more thing gone wrong, one more reason to doubt God. As a community comes together for thirteen anxious days, she becomes closer to Jody's older brother, Nick. Both teens are struggling. For better or worse, this crisis is changing her as a person. Can she find her way? Can she find a way to believe in miracles again?

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Kay 10:34 AM  

I have a copy of this book and am looking forward to reading it this year. I like the cover.

Shirley 10:51 AM  

This book sounds so good. I'd love to read it. You always have the best books first!

Caaleros 12:33 PM  

sounds interesting. I'll try and get it from the library.

Jenn 1:28 PM  

Oh my gosh, I absolutely loved this book! It was wonderful.

Paige Y. 3:47 PM  

I loved this book so much that I chose it for our teacher book club for the month of February. I think it's got some really interesting things to talk about.

Kristi 11:07 PM  

I've loved all of Sara Zarr's book but this one was especially good, I think.

Mandy 4:49 PM  

Once again, I loved it!! Thanks!

Mandy 9:53 PM  

Another good one!! Thanks again!

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
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  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
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I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

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