Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr

April 17th, 2010 by Debbie's World of Books


Source: Received for review

Availability: In stores now

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars

Description from As a pastor’s kid, it’s hard not to buy into the idea of the perfect family, a loving God, and amazing grace. But lately, Sam has a lot of reasons to doubt. Her mother lands in rehab after a DUI, and her father seems more interested in his congregation than his family. When a young girl in her small town goes missing, the local tragedy overlaps with Sam’s personal one, and the already worn thread of faith holding her together begins to unravel.

In her third novel, acclaimed author Sara Zarr examines the coexistence of affliction and hope, and what happens when everything you thought you believed—about God, your family, and yourself—is transformed.

While not a mind blowing book this story has some nice twists as the story leaves you hanging as to who is the kidnapper?  Is it the relative new comer to town who bought the local hardware shop a few years ago, is it the handsome brother of the missing girl who befriends Sam or someone else that no one ever suspected?  I liked the suspense Zarr leaves you in as we see Sam trying to figure out who she can and cannot trust.

The journey that Sam goes through trying to find her faith again is heart wrenching and I found myself empathizing with her.  Who wouldn’t start to doubt their faith while going through all of this?  To make things more difficult Sam has always felt set apart from the other teens in her church youth group because she is the pastor’s daughter.  The other teens don’t hang out with her because of what they fear will make it back to the pastor’s ears.   While feeling like she has no one she can really talk to she has to find a way to deal with everything going on in her life.

The only let down for me was how quickly the ending came about.  There is all this drama going on and the next thing you know everything wraps up so neatly.  I was left going, “wow, that ending slammed into me all of a sudden.”  Still a nice, solid story.

Posted in 3 Star Books, Books, Christian Fiction, Young Adult

5 Responses

  1. Freda

    I like surprise endings so this might be for me.

    Great review!

  2. Michelle

    I’ve read Sweethearts and thought it was quite good. I believe I’ve got this one in my pile as well. I’ll have to look and see :)

  3. Amy @ My Friend Amy

    aw, I loved this book. I’m sorry it was only a 3 for you.

  4. dsuzuki

    Freda-I hope you enjoy it.
    Michelle-I’ll have to check out Sweethearts!
    Amy-It wasn’t bad but not one of my favorites :)

  5. Christina T

    Nice review! I definitely want to read this because I think I’d be able to connect really well with the main character. I like that this book tackles faith because not a lot of YA books do. I have heard that her writing is similar to Elizabeth Scott or Sarah Dessen.

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