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Once Was Lost Paperback – January 4, 2011
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*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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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
Top customer reviews
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Sam’s “perfect life” begins to crumble – her mother is in rehab, an acquaintance has gone missing, her father is too busy to be there for her, there is never enough money… Not knowing when her mother will return home or who is responsible for the disappearance of the missing girl creates a story that held my attention from start to finish.
Once Was Lost dealt with real life problems in a way that felt very realistic. Despite the subject matter this book had a hopeful, satisfying feel to it. I felt connected to the characters and cared about what happened to them.
Content: Mostly clean (2 swear words that I remember) but deals with more mature subject matter (kidnapping, financial & marital problems, alcoholism).
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Source: Overdrive Download
As her dad stands in the pulpit to talk to his congregation, Sam is in the pews wondering if there is a God. Is there is such a thing as faith and belief? I mean, if she (the pastor's kid) doesn't have it, who does? Sam's sense of loneliness, abandonment, and her sense of wanting more hit a home run with the opening lines of the book.
"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."
We learn that Sam (Samara) used to really believe in miracles. Then all these bad things seemed to happen to the people in her family. When a young girl from her church, someone she had seen just the day before, is kidnapped, she is convinced that the rift in the world that she had been feeling for months is real. And from the edge of that rift, she is falling. It is the thing that throws Sam's lack of faith into a tailspin. If she needed a miracle before, now there was no question.
How Sam goes through each day - trying to build a better garden, trying to hang out with friends who want to know what has happened to her mother, trying not to be suspicious of the youth group leader's relationship with her dad - strikes a chord with readers as this could be any one of us.
Zarr does an amazing job at portraying the tension of the town. Who do you trust after an event like this one? If Sam's faith is in question, who does she ask for help or guidance? Who can she trust? Who can she talk to? This is an extraordinary book about an ordinary gal trying to understand how all the puzzle pieces of life fit together.
This is an extremely honest book. It takes a look at the difficulty of a family in ministry, teenage friendships, the way the church can look hokey even to those who grew up in it. Where is God when all this is going on? I felt for Sam, feared for her safety at times, and hoped she would come out choosing to believe even during hard times.
If you're looking for something feel-good with all the loose ends neatly tied up, this isn't the book for you. Real life, real hurts, are not resolved that way. If you are willing to go on an adventure and have your ideas challenged, this might be something you would enjoy. It really helped me see ways that I can be a true encouragement to those in my own church family.
Once Was Lost is novel that deals with loosing hope because of different tragedies that are occurring around you while still trying to restore that hope. One thing, I enjoyed about this novel was the way Sara Zarr approached religion. Since, it was well done and wasn't overbearing which I admired about this book. Also, I loved the whole mystery aspect of this novel which is brought out from the kidnapping. It was interesting to see the twists and turns that come from this and the final revelation of who did it.
Sadly, at times, Once Was Lost moved in a way that was a bit slow, especially at the beginning. Though, the characters tended to over shadow this bad point, because I really enjoyed reading about them all, especially Sam. She is a character that is easy to relate to and like.
Overall, Once Was Lost is a beautiful tale about forgiving and starting to believe again, I look forward to reading more books by Zarr!
Most recent customer reviews
So can I read it now or do I have to do do something else to start????