Once Was Lost, by Sara Zarr. The summary:
As a pastor's kid, it's hard not to buy into the idea of the perfect family, a loving God, and amazing grace. But lately, Sam has a lot of reasons 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 goes missing, the local tragedy overlaps with Sam's personal one, and the already worn thread of faith holding her together begins to unravel.Mini-review:
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, your family, and yourself--is transformed.
Sara Zarr is one of those authors who tends to write books (“Story of a Girl,” “Sweethearts”) that I appreciate but don’t fall in love with--like, I enjoy them once but don’t read them again, or if some asks me I’ll be like, “It was good” but I don’t go out of my way to recommend them to everyone I meet. And “Once Was Lost” falls into that category too--it was good, but we’re not setting a wedding date or anything, ya know? But it was definitely a solid book--well-written, great characters, tough issues--and I honestly can never figure out why I don’t adore Sara Zarr, since those are all the things I love in a book; we just don’t click I guess. I thought it was pretty gutsy for Zarr to deal with teen spirituality, since it’s a subject most YAs don’t ever deal with; and Zarr deals with it fairly well--it doesn’t feel like the author’s pushing one way or the other about religion, but still Sam’s struggles feel honest and understandable. Overall, a really great book, especially considering it deals with religious faith, a fairly taboo YA subject; the ending was maybe a little too perfect, but since I like happy endings I was willing to overlook it.
The quote, pg. 100:
All I can do is nod. He touches my hair. I look at him. Considering everything, he might actually be doing his best. I’m disappointed but also know that if I really thought about it, I could probably come up with at least as many times he’s kept his word as times he hasn’t. Most of all I want to believe--in him, in God, in our family--the way I used to. It used to be that there was always one of them I could count on. If Dad was lost in his work, Mom and I had each other, even if it wasn’t perfect. If Mom was lost in her drinking, Dad would pull us together and get us back on track. And I was always sure God hovered around there among us, somehow.
Right now it’s like we’re three islands, and nothing but oceans between us.