Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Once Was Lost by Sarah Zarr

Title: Once Was Lost
Author: Sara Zarr
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Publication Date: October 1, 2009
Reviewer: Bethany (15)
Rating: 5 cheeseburgers

“Once Was Lost” is the story of fifteen-year-old Samara Taylor, the daughter of a pastor. The book takes place at the end of a long, hot summer, when her mother lands in rehab after a DUI and her father seems more interested in his congregation than his family. Sam struggles contemplatively with her faith, what little she had left fighting for survival once another tragedy strikes the hot Californian town in which she lives.

I liked “Once Was Lost” because it was different. It wasn’t a love story, even though Samara does develop an interest in a boy in her town, and it wasn’t about whether God exists or not. It was about the characters; not just Sam, but everyone, and their suffering and recovery. My favorite line in the book is, “I want to believe the stories, that there really is someone who would search the whole mountainside just to find that one thing that he loves, and bring it home.” It basically sums up the novel in its entirety. Thanks to Sara Zarr, Samara is now one of my favorite literary characters. The religious aspect is a device used to show how Sam really loses herself, and though you never really learn where she stands on the subject of God by the end, I think the book was better for it. I give it five whole cheeseburgers; my love for Sara Zarr is cemented.

Note from editor: This book has a new title, What We Lost. Don't be confused! :) It was a National Book Award Finalist too. 

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