Once Was Lost

Book: Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr

Book Info: Published by Little, Brown Books For Young Readers; 217 pages; hardcover

Source: borrowed from the library

Genre: YA/Contemporary

Find Out More: Goodreads~Barnes And Noble~Amazon~Sara Zarr

Goodreads.com Summary: Samara Taylor used to believe in miracles. She used to believe in a lot of things. As a pastor’s kid, it’s hard not to buy in to the idea of the perfect family, a loving God, and amazing grace. But lately, Sam has a lot of reason 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 is kidnapped, 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, about your family, about yourself—is transformed.

I have mixed feelings about Once Was Lost.

I like that Sam’s personal problems are overlapping with the disappearance of a girl she knows from church.  I like the issues that come up, and that Zarr just presents them as they are.  You definitely get to come up with your own conclusions and thoughts about what happen.

But I felt like a personal tragedy overlapping with a larger one was forced, and it just didn’t work for me.  It felt like Zarr heavily relied on stereotypes, because the characters fell flat.  The pastor possibly having an affair with the youth group leader who helps out while Sam’s mother is in rehab after a DUI…the father, unable to communicate with his daughter…Sam having a couple friends, who act differently around her than they do everyone else…definitely predictable.

I think people can relate to Sam questioning her faith, but other than that, it was just hard to connect with any of the characters.  It also moved really slow, and not much happened.  Overall, it gets a 2 out of 5.

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