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Kid Konnection: Once Was Lost

July 2, 2011

Everyone assumes Sam has the perfect life and the perfect family just because her dad’s a preacher.  Sam doesn’t think so, though.  Her mom’s in rehab and her dad seems more interested in his church family than his real family.  Her dad counsels other people, yet their family avoids talking about issues.

When a young girl in their community – a member of their church – disappears, Sam begins to suspect everyone she knows and questions her beliefs.  She feels like her world is falling apart and she can’t figure out how to hold it together.

I loved Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr and simply adored Sam, the protagonist.  Sam’s a preacher’s kid, which isn’t easy in the best of times.  Everyone expects her, and her family, to be perfect and the youth of the church talk and act differently around her.  Sam just wants to fit in.

I was hooked on Once Was Lost from the beginning – it’s a page turning story with fantastic characters.  I think Sam is the main reason I love this book so much.  She’s not perfect but she wants to be good, and she’s starting to have doubts about all that she’s always believed in.  I think Zarr got Sam’s character spot on, because just about everyone has had feelings like Sam and will be able to relate to her.

I liked that things weren’t tied up in a sweet little bow at the end of the book.  Sam’s family was working on making things better, but they weren’t there yet.  The ending showed that these things take time and effort.  I also think the title of the book is perfect – it fits the book in more than one way.  I also appreciated that even though Sam thought she had feelings for a boy, this book is clean, so it can be enjoyed by the younger YA audience on up to adults.  I do think many adults will enjoy this book, because the feelings Sam has aren’t exclusive to teens – I know I did!

For more children’s books reviews, go to Booking Mama’s feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week,  leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

Review copy provided by Hachette Books. I am an Indiebound Affiliate
25 Comments leave one →
  1. July 2, 2011 5:52 am

    I really enjoyed the book too. I agree that Sam is a great protagonist – very easy to relate too. Great review!

  2. July 2, 2011 7:28 am

    Sounds like a nice book. I like that it doesn’t resolve everything neatly- like life!

  3. July 2, 2011 7:31 am

    Haven’t seen this one before – will have to put this on the ole reminder list. I wish there had been YA books like this when I was growing up.

  4. July 2, 2011 8:32 am

    I love Sara Zarr! She is just so great at characterization of younger protagonists. I haven’t read this one yet, but I fully want to read all of Zarr’s books!

  5. July 2, 2011 8:38 am

    I really enjoyed her book Sweethearts & picked up her new one for Fall at BEA. I think I need to get hold of this one as well.

  6. July 2, 2011 8:46 am

    My daughter loves Sarah Dresden. I simply must read one of her books some day.

  7. July 2, 2011 8:49 am

    Sounds like a book that would make me think and I like those. Great review!

  8. July 2, 2011 9:33 am

    I do try to pick my YA books carefully, and this one, yes why not. I think I could enjoy it

  9. July 2, 2011 11:11 am

    You always come up with interesting books that I’ve not heard of before, you’ve done it again this week too.

  10. July 2, 2011 11:13 am

    I have never read a book about a preacher’s kid, but I can imagine that the circumstances that surround this situation probably has some unique elements that I think would be fascinating. I also like that this is a clean book as well, and wouldn’t mind both giving it to Melissa and reading it for myself. Glad to know that you loved it. It sounds great!

  11. July 2, 2011 5:27 pm

    I have read a book once about a preacher’s kid and know how hard fitting in is for them. This book also sounds like it got it spot on.

  12. July 2, 2011 7:20 pm

    I loved this book, too Kathy! 🙂

    I would also like to mention this was last year’s INSPY winner in the category of YA fiction. 😉

  13. July 2, 2011 9:38 pm

    Wow! This book sounds great. Excellent review, Kathy!

  14. stacybuckeye permalink
    July 2, 2011 9:59 pm

    I don’t read a lot of Ya, but this one looks good. It’s nice to see a clean YA book!

  15. July 2, 2011 10:43 pm

    That settles it…I have to read this one. Its been on my wish list for ages….must change that!

  16. July 3, 2011 9:18 am

    Sounds like you loved this book, I LOVE the cover!

  17. July 3, 2011 10:07 am

    I have not heard of this one…sounds good though. Thanks for the review.

  18. July 3, 2011 1:58 pm

    I’m a PK (preacher’s Kid) and I know it’s still positively and negatively effects my relationship with my home church and even my adult church, far away. Interesting stuff!

  19. July 3, 2011 4:28 pm

    I have this one on hold at the library. After your review I really excited to get it.

  20. July 3, 2011 4:32 pm

    This one sounds like a winner, I kept thinking how honest & fresh of a read it must be.

  21. July 5, 2011 9:08 am

    I loved this book too. 🙂 Glad to hear it worked so well for you!

  22. July 5, 2011 9:52 am

    Zarr is a fantastic writer and I’ve had this one on my wishlist for a while! Her book Sweethearts was so moving.

  23. July 5, 2011 12:29 pm

    I read only one by this author and really liked it. Glad to see you found this title to be good as well.

  24. July 5, 2011 7:23 pm

    This sounds like one that Booking Daughter and I could read together.

  25. July 12, 2011 4:47 pm

    Another great review! Sam sounds like a delightful character. I’ll be adding this one to my wish list for sure.

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