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Once Was Lost Hardcover – October 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 780L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316036048
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316036047
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,072,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* It’s the end of a long, hot summer, and nothing is right. Samara’s mother is in rehab, her father, a popular pastor in their small town, is always busy, too busy for Sam anyway, and then something shocking happens. Jody, a 13-year-old girl, a member of their church, disappears. As the days drag on, Sam finds herself drawing away from her friends and her father, who has a secret she easily guesses, and instead spending time with Nick, Jody’s brother, who may or may not be a suspect in the disappearance. Zarr sets a hard task for herself here: interweaving a number of strong story strands and giving them equal weight, even as she tightens the whole with questions about faith and God. While her relationship with Nick does not always seem quite credible, everything else comes together as an impressive whole. Sharply delineated characters and an uncomfortable atmosphere that’s more than just the heat add to the story’s depth. Grades 8-10. --Ilene Cooper

Review

Praise for Once Was Lost
"Zarr sets a hard task for herself here: interweaving a number of strong story strands and giving them equal weight...add to the story's depth." (starred review) (Booklist )

Praise for Once Was Lost
"Beyond delivering a gripping story, Zarr has a knack for exposing human weakness in the ordinary." (starred review) (Publishers Weekly )

Praise for Once Was Lost
"Riveting." (starred review) (Kirkus Reviews ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Sara Zarr is the acclaimed author of five novels for young adults, most recently The Lucy Variations, which the New York Times called "an elegant novel." She's a National Book Award finalist and two-time Utah Book Award winner. Her books have been variously named to annual best books lists of the American Library Association, Kirkus, Publisher's Weekly, School Library Journal, the Guardian, the International Reading Association, the New York Public Library and Los Angeles Public Library, and have been translated into many languages. In 2010, she served as a judge for the National Book Award. She has written essays and creative nonfiction for Image, Hunger Mountain online, and Response as well as for several anthologies, and has been a regular contributor to Image's daily Good Letters blog on faith, life, and culture. As of summer 2013, she's a member of the faculty of Lesley University's Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. Sara also hosts the This Creative Life podcast. Born in Cleveland and raised in San Francisco, she currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband, and online at www.sarazarr.com.

Customer Reviews

Sara Zarr weaves a story with believable and sympathetic characters.
AmazonLover
She questions God's love, why He allows things to happen, and her faith flounders at times.
LMS
Overall, I think this is one of the best books I have read recently.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By The Compulsive Reader VINE VOICE on August 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a pastor's kid, Samara Taylor is supposed to have a good relationship with God and an unshakable faith. But a lot of things in her life have made Sam a doubter. With her alcoholic mom in rehab after a DUI and her father more concerned with his congregation and appearances, Sam can't help but feel as if God doesn't exist. And that feeling is only compounded when a local girl is kidnapped, turning her whole community upside down.

Once Was Lost is a blunt novel of faith and what happens when everything you believed in is changed irrevocably. Sam is a very convincing and relatable character that readers will be able to connect with on any level, especially as her doubt about her beliefs is something that nearly ever person has confronted at least once in their lifetime. She brings up issues that some people may not think about, like not being included with friends because of her beliefs and who her father is. Zarr also does an excellent job at portraying the tense setting as the whole town deals with the kidnapping and fear begins to control others and accusations are slung left and right.

The best thing about Once Was Lost though is that it doesn't concentrate on the all of the things that go wrong, like the kidnapping, Sam's mother's DUI, or inappropriate relationships, but rather examines its affect on Sam and her faith. Once Was Lost isn't a hugely dramatic novel full of twists and turns, but it is a gripping, sometimes heartbreaking look at how ordinary people learn to deal with a less than perfect world. Zarr's latest book is an excellent, non-preachy look at faith and religion that any reader, believer or not, can enjoy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Heidi Anne Heiner VINE VOICE on November 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Sara Zarr took inspiration from the Elizabeth Smart disappearance and ran with it to a completely different place, filled with authentic experience and emotion, one that speaks to adults and young adults. It's a novel about faith and doubt when the world intrudes upon already shaky ground, inevitable during the coming of age years, recurring in the adult ones. I believed in the characters, have known people like them, saw bits of myself in several. This isn't light reading, but I was engrossed and never felt preached at during the journey of self-discovery and faith seeking. This isn't a Christian novel, per se, but handles the questions and concerns better than many of the books published specifically for that market. Overall, it is about losing the safety of childhood and discovering one's own faith along the way. Zarr doesn't offer easy solutions or trite answers, but they are real ones, at least for this character and I was fully invested in all of them by the end of the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By BookWhisperer on November 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is only the second christian fiction book that I have read. This was amazing read for me at the juncture in my life. I have found what I have been missing and growing in my own spirituality, so this book was very enjoyable and inspiring for me at this time. I loved Sammy's character; she effectively portrays the wandering christian that is in need of guidance. She is the child that has been had the adult guidance, but now needs to re-evaluate and decide on the future of her own spirituality. In Once was Lost Sara Zarr created a world that is easy to relate and believeable. The sins and struggles that were previewed in this book kept it honest and humbling. Her ability to combined a entertaining young adult read with a lesson shows true talent. I look forward to see what else this author has to offer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Judy Dearborn Nill on February 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
Simple Twists of Faith

Who says teens aren't much concerned with faith issues? Sarah Zarr perfectly captures the endless days and nights of nail-biting tension after a friend/sister/classmate goes missing while the eyes of the community turn with suspicion and fear on one another. What happened to Jody? Who will be next? Who can you trust? Does God care? The multi-layered themes, plot and subplots of this skillfully written novel weave a spell and make for a most satisfying read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is part mystery, part coming-of-age novel and part spiritual awakening saga. It has elements of a family drama and glimpses of romance, but it's really just a quiet novel about finding peace within yourself while everything else is falling apart around you.

Samara Taylor is a pastor's daughter. But she's also the daughter of a drunk and a teenager struggling to hold onto her faith. Yet she's painfully shy and lives on the outskirts of society despite having one of the most visible positions in her small community. Simply, she feels lost. And when a younger girl from her father's congregation goes missing, she doesn't know how to talk to anyone about her fears and heartache when it's Judy who needs their full attention.

While I'm not quiet by any stretch of the imagination, nor did I grow up in a small town or have an alcoholic parent, I connected with Sam. Not being able to talk about important things and being unsettled by a changing future...those are all issues I've faced. Some people refer to it as a "crisis of faith," but to me it's more of a rite of passage into adulthood. Only a lot of people doesn't come out the other side still holding fast to their belief in God.

There is the internal quality to Zarr's books that I love. I can feel the essence of the narrators without being forced into their heads, like I can put myself inside of them rather than having them jump onto the page, fully formed. It's like being able to see an entirely new side of myself in each new character. And that's something that no other author has ever been able to do for me.
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