Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Review: Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr

Once Was Lost Cover
Sara Zarr's books have been on my radar for quite some time but the actual reading of them hadn't happened until this book. I happened to learn that this book was about a pastor's daughter and that was all the motivation I needed. I, too, am a pastor's daughter and I am always interested in how we will be portrayed.

Reading books opens windows into the lives of others but we also read to know we're not alone. Sometimes an author manages to capture a character enough..in their culture, in their thoughts, and actions that our hearts identify...like me.

That's not to say Sam in this book was a whole lot like me. But there were things that happened in the book that felt so familiar and so true...ways of thinking about things. You definitely see certain aspects of your life differently as a PK. Which is to say that your life is not your own. It's everyone in the congregation's business. And there's a kind of unique pressure and blessing all mixed up in that.

In Once Was Lost, Sam feels her dad is too devoted to the church and neglects her and her mother. Her mother does not respond well to the extreme pressure of being a pastor's wife (and yes it is A LOT of pressure)and has been keeping a secret for a long time. She has a drinking problem that eventually lands her in rehab. So it's August when the book opens and Sam finds herself in the crucible...her mother is away, she feels her dad couldn't care less, and her own faith is failing her. And then something happens in their community that will shake not only her faith but those around her to the core.

Sam is a character that feels SO REAL. Her emotions, her doubts, her thoughts, her feelings grabbed my heart with their authenticity. There were times as I was reading that I just felt...I don't know, teary eyed, identified, recognized.

And really the strength of this characterization and journey is all I need to recommend this book. But I'm glad to say that I also love the hope..real true hope birthed from real true trials. There is nothing fake or manufactured about it.

I would have loved this book as a teen myself. I loved it now. I heartily recommend it as a great story about growing up and growing through doubt. Also...I want to say that I fully recommend this book to both general markets and the Christian market. For anyone who has ever doubted, to anyone who has ever wanted to believe and to anyone just looking for a good read.

Rating: 5/5
Things You Might Want to Know: Okay, there are two instances of profanity..but not any of the biggies and I only mention so that you know you can trust me..please don't let it keep you from reading this book.
Source of Book: I picked up this ARC at BEA
Publisher: Little, Brown (LB Teens)




Amy

20 comments:

Sandy Nawrot said...

When I reflect back over my favorite books of all times, I know that some of them are on the lsit because of this connection. There is nothing quite like having your emotions validated by an author who "gets it". I can't even imagine the pressure that a pastor's daughter (and wife) might have. From my observations, it has a chance of turning out really well, or can go very wrong. Great review, Amy.

jennysbooks said...

I was so excited until I saw this was an ARC & thus ungettable by me. :P I really enjoyed the one book by Sara Zarr I've read, and this sounds brilliant! But I guess I'll have to wait...

Julie P. said...

SO glad to hear this! I loved the cover and I've been wanting to read it.

debilyn said...

Sounds like a wonderful book.
My TBR list just keeps growing and growing...

Heidi Willis said...

I think you picked out one of the big things we as readers get out of a book: knowing we aren't alone in our journey in life.

This sounds like a fantastic book. My dad (and his siblings) were both MKs and PKs, and my sister is a missionary so both my nieces are MKs, and I can see how this is exactly how they would feel.

I will definitely get this book, and maybe put it on my Christmas list for them.

Katie said...

I'm so glad that you loved it too. It seriously was one of my favorite books of this year.

Mollie said...

I really like Sara Zarr...although the only other book of hers I've read was Sweethearts but it is easily one of my top YA reads...ever. I can't wait to start this one!

Charley said...

I wouldn't mind reading this at some point. I thought Sweethearts was pretty good. And I'd like to read Story of a Girl, as well.

bermudaonion said...

I got this at BEA too and now I'm really excited to read it!

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

This sounds great! I have always wanted to read this book (or something else by Zarr). Glad you enjoyed this!

Zibilee said...

This sounds like a book with a really unique premise and viewpoint. I am glad that you enjoyed it so much and think I would too. Thanks for the recommendation, I will be looking out for it.

Jill of The O.W.L. said...

Awesome review. Well done. I plan on reading this one.

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

Great review Amy! It was a lovely book.

FYI Jenny - the book is available in stores now. It came out a couple of weeks ago.

Beth Kephart said...

so fantastic. thank you for this.

J.T. Oldfield said...

Hey Amy! I gave you an award! http://bibliofreakblog.com/memes/time-awards/

Jen - Devourer of Books said...

I've read a couple of good reviews on this recently, I'm hoping maybe to read it for the Readathon.

Stephanie said...

I haven't read anything by Sara Zarr either, but I've read tons of great reviews. Maybe I'll try this one. Sounds fantastic!!

Glad to see you could relate to it.

Debbie's World of Books said...

I've been seeing a lot about Sara Zarr too and I think she is doing a signing near me soon. I want to check out one of her books to see if I want to go meet her. This sounds great!

Nymeth said...

I loved Sweethearts by Zarr, and this sounds even better! Identifying strongly with a character always makes me interested in reading a book, but sometimes, like in this case, I want it so badly exactly because the character's background is so different from my own.

Heidi Willis said...

I gave you an award on my blog today (Monday). I don't know if you do that sort of thing, but at least I thought it would give you some exposure so my writer friends could come and visit here. I've really loved reading through your blog.

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