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young adult book reviews & more

Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr

Once Was LostAs the daughter of a pastor, Samara Taylor was raised to believe in faith, in a God who protects, and in miracles. But lately, everything going on in Sam’s life has caused her beliefs to waver. Though no one knows or acknowledges it, Sam’s family is starting to fall apart. Her mother is in rehab due to a DUI, the culmination of a history of alcoholism. Her father is rarely around anymore either, preferring to devote his attention to his congregation rather than the daughter he’s supposed to be taking care of. When a young girl from town is kidnapped, Sam’s own problems and worries begin to middle with this new tragedy. As the search for the missing girl persists and Sam struggles to hold her life together, she is forced to confront her changing faith and beliefs and what they mean for her new life.

The one thing I can say decisively about Zarr’s writing after having read only one of her previous novels is that she knows how to create a vivid character. Sam is the perfect example of this in Once Was Lost; her doubts and fears regarding her personal problems, the local tragedy, and her faith prove her to be an extremely realistic character many readers will be able to relate to. And once Sam’s character has been established, everything else falls into place. This is mainly because Once Was Lost is largely a character driven novel. The story is centered on Sam’s evolving thoughts and beliefs within the greater realm of happenings Sam cannot control. Because of this, the plot certainly cannot be described as action filled or even all that exciting. Nonetheless, it is still fascinating to follow Sam’s unique coming of age tale. Once Was Lost is a delicate and thoughtful tale that will appeal to more pensive readers or anyone who’s ever doubted.

Fans of Zarr’s writing in Sweethearts will enjoy Once Was Lost, as will those who liked Everything Is Fine by Ann Dee Ellis and any novel by Sarah Dessen or Deb Caletti.

Rating: 4.25

Review copy from Amazon Vine

6 munch(es) :

robby (once upon a book blog/fourteen years) said...

I LOVED this book.

April said...

I've been seeing good reviews of Once Was Lost (and you recommend her to fans of Dessen) I may certainly have to check this one out SOON!

Stephanie said...

I haven't read this one yet, but it sounds good. I'll have to add it to my TBR list.

Michelle said...

Amazing book by an amazing author. :)

Krista/Tower of Books said...

I haven't read this book or any book by Sara Zarr, but I definitely want to!

choco (In Which a Girl Reads) said...

Great review!

I love character-driven novels, and I enjoyed STORY OF A GIRL by Zarr so I'll have to get my hands on this one :)

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