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Once Was Lost

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Samara Taylor used to believe in miracles. But her mother is in rehab, and her father seems more interested in his congregation than his family. And when a young girl in her small town is kidnapped, her already-worn thread of faith begins to unravel. (Young Adults)

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.

6 pages, Audiobook

First published October 1, 2009

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About the author

Sara Zarr

22 books1,272 followers
Sara Zarr is the acclaimed author of ten books, most recently Goodbye from Nowhere, and Courageous Creativity: Advice and Encouragement for the Creative Life--a book on creativity for the young and young-at-heart. She’s a National Book Award finalist and two-time Utah Book Award winner, and is the host and producer of the This Creative Life podcast. Her first book, Story of a Girl, was made into a 2017 television movie directed by Kyra Sedgwick. She lives with her husband and cat, Mr. Donut, in CA and UT.

How I use goodreads: To log books I read in a year, books I want to read, and books by authors who were on my podcast, This Creative Life. (Those also turn up on my read shelf though I haven't necessarily read them!) I don't use the rating system but I will jot some notes about the books if I remember!

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 801 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,990 reviews298k followers
March 30, 2012

The more I read by Sara Zarr, the more I think I understand her and the more I begin to appreciate what it is she does. She doesn't take sides, she isn't emotionally manipulative, she releases a whole bunch of complex characters that aren't typically likeable and allows the reader to receive them however they choose. I think this is why I failed to appreciate Story of a Girl, because the issues targeted in it are very important to me and I wanted the author to fight for Deanna, to stand up for her - and that's just not Sara Zarr's style. I get that now.

Once Was Lost, on the other hand, is an absolutely perfect novel to use this technique in. I am an atheist, but I cannot stand anyone who preaches their religious views in novels, whatever they may be and regardless of whether or not they agree with my own beliefs, I don't wish to have any idea rammed down my throat. Sara Zarr is the reason I was able to stomach a book that has a very heavy focus on religion, because she never attempts to put ideas in my head. In my review of Story of a Girl I remember commenting that I wished I knew where the author stood on the problems in the book because it wasn't obvious. And again with this novel, I do not know where Sara Zarr stands when it comes to religion, but this time I feel the novel is better for it.

The novel becomes about the characters and their emotions and suffering and recovering, it is not a book about whether or not God exists. The religious aspect is an important part of showing how Sam loses her grip on her perfect life and what she'd previously believed in. The main questions are: will Sam recover what she has lost, not just her religion but her life, family and happiness? How will she do this? Will she ever become the person she once was?

Though I don't think this was as strong a novel as How to Save a Life, it has cemented my love for Sara Zarr and I can't wait to see what she writes next.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,404 reviews11.7k followers
March 7, 2011
Once Was Lost is a book about faith. About losing it and finding it.

Yes, I know how it sounds. Nothing can stop me from reading a book quicker than knowledge that I am about to delve into some "Christian fiction." I am not a religious person and dislike being preached at.

But in this novel Samara's waning faith in God is similar to a non-religious person's belief in the good in the world. Sam feels hopeless. Everything seems to fall apart - her house, her family (Sam's pastor father is distant and neglectful, her mother is in a rehab and unapproachable), her friendships. The final straw is the disappearance of a 13-year old neighbor which forces Sam to lose faith in all the people around her. Is there anything solid in this world? Anything at all good? Anything worth holding on to? Anyone she could trust? Sam is lost and doesn't think that there is a point in it all, that there is anything worth believing in.

What I liked the best about Once Was Lost is its subtlety. Writing books about depression, despair and loss of direction in life is a tricky thing. Many authors fall into writing melodrama. Zarr managed to write a nuanced, deep and touching story about depression without resorting to over-angsting and a story about faith without being preachy.
Profile Image for Neil (or bleed).
982 reviews749 followers
March 11, 2021
Actual rating: 3.5

“I wonder how you're supposed to know the exact moment when there's no more hope.”

I have read 5 books from Sara Zarr (including this one) and I can say that this book is my least favorite. Not that it wasn't good. It was good. I bet some people will like it more than I do. (Actually, some Goodreads people liked it more than I do haha). It's just that I didn't get attached whole-heartedly with the main character, who is Samara. And sometimes, I did feel I can't connect with the story either. I mean, one moment I understand what is happening and the next moment, I don't.

But even though with what I've mentioned above, I did feel the emotions within this book and its characters: the pure sadness, worry, anger, suffering and recovering, that really moved me in one way or another. Besides, these flawed and complex characters made the story engaging to read.

What We Lost is still a compelling read for me, despite my issues with it, which tackled serious life and spiritual issues and will remind you of what you lost.
Profile Image for Janina.
214 reviews526 followers
September 9, 2011
Street Corner TBR Pile reduction challenge #7 (Olivia)

I seldom read books about faith and religion, simply because, as what you could consider a non-believer, they are rarely something I can relate to.

In this case, I have to say, Sara Zarr really succeeded in creating a very relatable heroine, not only for people who can identify themselves with her faith, but also for everyone else. This book does not preach, and although Samara's situation is closely linked to her disappearing faith in God, her doubt and uncertainty are universal. They are nothing only a person of faith experiences, but rather something anyone has to deal with sometimes. Now and then, I was thrown off by the biblical references (Sam comparing her situation to stories in the bible), but mostly because that is something I am unfamiliar with (and also something I would never do). But I think for her as a pastor’s daughter, this was a part of her everyday life, something she grew up with.

This story is a quiet one, unravelling slowly, without much "action" or drama. But it is also a story that lingers, with a message I thought about and characters that became very dear to me. The first half of the book was slower for me, the sadness and desperation sometimes hard to take, making my stomach hurt from the pain Sam experienced. The second half was a much quicker read, with shimmers of hope shining through every now and then, making me hope for a change for the better. I am amazed at how much feeling Sara Zarr succeeded in packing in such a small book.

Recommended if you are looking for a different, quieter YA contemporary. I will definitely read more by this author.
Profile Image for Nomes.
384 reviews373 followers
May 21, 2011
Author Sara Zarr goes from strength to strength with her writing. Story of a Girl and Sweethearts are both beautifully told quiet and courageous stories but I think Once Was Lost is my favourite so far.

While the religious premise may make some mainstream readers hesitant, it is so honestly portrayed that it's not about religion at all, rather one girl coming to terms with faith, hopelessness, searching for the truth and trying to find her place in the world: not issues unique to Christians, rather relevant to everyone regardless of religious belief. There was nothing preachy about it (phew!)

It's a subtle book, unfolding in layers which continually drew me in until it got to a point where I felt deeply invested in the characters lives. It is the kind of book where I held my breath and somehow felt touched and empowered after completion.

Zarr has an amazing talent and teen voice. Her stories may not feature "original" twist-y premises or jaw-dropping OMG climaxes. Rather they feature layered, flawed and achingly real characters in circumstances that are relate-able ~ her stories feel like the truth and challenge me as a reader. They cause me to think beyond myself and to hope. Once Was Lost felt simultaneously effortless to read yet there was constance depth bubbling away under the surface.

This was completely absorbing and absolutely touching and the kind of YA contemp that keeps me coming back to the genre for more.

Also: I should mention her prose is just lovely: simple and flowing and occasionally quietly metaphorical. Gorgeous.

Profile Image for Erin.
232 reviews103 followers
March 10, 2012
I am in love with this book.

Dear Sara Zarr,

The only other book I have read by your magical self is Sweethearts. Maybe I need to read it again, because I don't remember liking it that well and we are clearly MEANT TO BE.

Love, Erin

Yep, didn't feel like writing the whole review in letter form cause who does that? (I say that with love toward all of you fine reviewers who do just that.) ;)

But, unfortunately, I can't put my feelings about this book into words very well right now. Maybe ever. I'll try anyway:

1. Sara Zarr is a poet. I notice this especially after reading The Maze Runner, which, while not badly written, was clearly not written by a poet. Sara dwells on her words with love. The descriptions and inner monologue are rich and multi-faceted, while the dialogue is realistic and glorious to read. So many of these characters were truly hilarious. And, in many cases, cuddle-worthy.

2. The romance killed me. Oh my dear goodness. For a long while I was not really paying much attention to the relationship between Sam and Nick, happy with the two of them being friends and sharing their unique pains.


3. More importantly than any of that (although the above two factors have made me a Once Was Lost fan TILL KINGDOM COME), was the simple fact that Sam's story hit me. Hi guys, just the local Christian going to a Christian college here, letting you know that Sam's faith/doubt issues are pretty much the most amazing thing ever. I want her to be my best friend, and I will punch Erin in the face for her (which is a weird thing to type, my name being what it is), and I... dah, I don't know. As soon as I finished the last page, I started daydreaming about the fine day when I will officially own this book. And read it until the binding falls apart.

That is what it deserves. Read it read it read it read it.

I open my eyes and look past Erin, past Daniel, through the leaves of a nearby tree and into the sky. I attempt to see past the sky, and into God's heaven, from where he watches, doing nothing.
Profile Image for Cara.
279 reviews719 followers
November 14, 2009
"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."

I am at a total loss as what to rate this book. But one thing I can say for sure is that it gave me a lot to mull over and analyze, that I even thought about how I felt at the age of 15 again.

At Samara's age I can remember being very contemplative like she was in the story. She feels the urge to mature and to fully grasp the understanding of the things she always relied on, but is struggling so much because of what is happening around her. Her father is the pastor of a local church in Pineview, and her mother is in rehab. There is the whole thing about being the pastor's kid, and how she is treated differently because of it. Things are going on as "normally" possible, but something happens that shakes the whole town. Jody, a local girl from the chruch, is kidnapped.

This book tackles the sensitive issue of religion, and Zarr did this with ease. When talking about religion in books it can come off preachy, and you can just imagine eyes rolling. You see actual substance, and you never feel this is an anti-religion book though some people may see it that way because of the doubt that Sam harbors.

It touches a lot of subjects without being heavy handed. The feelings that Sam has really come through to you, and though I was close to being annoyed at her she would do something redeeming. Sam is fairly mature and I appreciated that she could see why her father, mother or anybody for that matter would do certain things, but she never excused them for it. With Jody being taken away you see how the paranoia can get to people. The whole town sees everybody in a different light, and I had to keep guessing who did it, though this isn't necessarily the book's focus. It's real focus is how this event affects everyone in the town and specifically Sam. What can be admired about the author is how she can write scenes that hold lots of hidden meaning without much being actually said. Sometimes what is not said speaks louder than what is.

After reading the review I obviously had only positive things to say and it is one of those books that make the gears in your head turn. Delivered the message with much heart that even though you feel lost you can find your way.
Profile Image for Reynje.
272 reviews962 followers
September 16, 2013
I am a big fan of Sara Zarr’s work (see: Story of a Girl and How To Save a Life), particularly the quiet emotion that permeates her strong, character-driven stories.

Once Was Lost is no exception.

For a novel that deals with questions of faith, Zarr approaches the subject matter with accessibility and lack of agenda. Sam’s struggle with belief is relatable because it’s anchored in very human emotion and circumstances: while a small community is shaken by the disappearance of a young girl, Sam’s own family is grappling by her mother’s alcoholism and her father’s increasing distance, absorbed into his work as Pastor. Sam also doesn’t quite see herself as belonging; she’s “Pastor Charlie’s daughter” the one who doesn’t get invited to parties, the one everyone is “good” around. With with her mother’s DUI and subsequent admission to rehab, Sam becomes even more alienated from her peers, unable to confide in them and disclose the true nature of her mother’s absence.

Sam struggles to reconcile the concept of a loving God with the widening spaces within her family and the devastation wrought by Jody Shaw’s disappearance. As the community draws together for support and comfort, Sam finds her grasp on her faith slipping. Questioning what was once a constant in her life causes a hopelessness to settle into Sam’s thoughts; without the anchor of belief in God, how does she interpret and navigate the world around her?

Once Was Lost addresses the question, from Sam’s perspective, of whether doubt and belief can coexist in her world. It’s handled in a subtle, tactful, manner – this undoubtedly a book about faith and religion, but there are themes here that will resonate with a wider audience than those who subscribe to a belief system similar to Sam’s. The relationships in the novel, between family and between friends, are particularly well drawn and nuanced. Sam’s growing isolation, exacerbated by her father’s preoccupation with his congregation, echoes the sense of alienation often experienced in adolescence: Sam isn’t quite sure where she fits in, if she is the person she had always thought herself to be. Then there’s the emotional impact of Sam’s mother being in rehab, and what this means after years of glossing over her alcoholism, and her father’s apparent inability to see his daughter’s emotional struggle.

As with Zarr’s other novels, there are no absolutes and not necessarily all the answers. Her characters experience, feel, live with palpable emotion; but they don’t necessarily behave or make the choices the reader would expect. I love that Zarr has enough respect and faith in her characters to write them this way, allowing them to be thorny and complicated, while keeping them close to the reader, making their conflicts real and relatable.

Once Was Lost is a quiet, moving novel – rich with authenticity and meaning – that addresses a complex issue in an approachable and balanced manner.

And maybe one day I will get around to reviewing Sweethearts..
Profile Image for Brooke.
136 reviews29 followers
August 22, 2019
**April 17, 2019***
That was an enjoyable story; I’m glad I found this book I didn’t know I had yesterday 😂

**May 14, 2019**
(Rounded up to 4 because I didn’t hate it.)

Get ready for a long-winded review because I took a lot of notes for some reason🤷🏻‍♀️😂

This book follows the life of a 15 year old girl named Samara, the daughter of a pastor. This story is about how Sam’s life turns upside down and she begins to question her faith when her mother gets sent to rehab after an accident— leaving Sam with her Forever-Too-Busy-For-Family-Father; and she questions it even further when a young girl from her church goes missing.

❗️NOTE❗️: This isn’t an “In-Your-Face-Shoving-Religion-Down-Your-Throat” sort of story either, so if that’s what you’re thinking because you saw “pastor” and “church”, you can stop thinking it now. I promise it isn’t like that.

‼️READ THE REST AT YOUR OWN RISK Because My Notes And Opinions Are Sometimes Detailed And May Unintentionally Reveal Something— You’ve Been Warned‼️


•LANGUAGE🗣: Not a lot to report here, only at one point does one character apologize to another for being an “a**”, and one or two uses of the word “crap”.

•VIOLENCE🔫🔪: It really wasn’t a violent sort of story, but just in case these mild/brief mentions bothers anyone, I pointed them out 🤷🏻‍♀️
A 13 year old girl is stolen, but it’s not detailed at all on the exact events or what goes on while she is in captivity (it’s really not bad).
A character has a low moment where they just sort of break down and jump out of a vehicle and ends up falling down a hill and getting cut up from the impact of the rocks, but they’re okay— and again, not ‘violent’ per se, but still putting that little accident out there.
In the end, the captor kills them self by fatal gunshot — only mentioned by a news anchor in a recap of the whole missing person case, there’s not a whole scene about it or any sort of details.

•DRUGS/ALCOHOL💊🍷: There was NO drug use in this story.
The protagonist’s mother has a drinking problem though, and receives a DUI (this part isn’t actually in the story— it’s only mentioned) after getting into a car accident. Other than that, there’s only a few mentions of how the mother would drink a lot in the past and about her being in rehab.

There was only one kiss in the entire book. This wasn’t a romantic kind of story. (Sex is only mentioned one time when the protagonist is discussing how people avoid/don’t include her in thins because she’s the pastor’s daughter and they don’t want her telling on them if they swear, drink, sleep around, etc.

⬇️Our Main Focuses Of The Story Are⬇️:

•Sam’s Mother: She has a drinking problem and after colliding with a pole and receiving a DUI, the authorities strongly suggested rehab for 30 days. And she seems to not want any contact at all with her family for the most part.

•Living Life As A Pastor’s Kid: everyone treats her different because her father is a pastor (they don’t invite her places, they avoid her outside church, act extra good around her, etc.). Expectations are high. Basically it sucks from her perspective.

•Jody Shaw Goes Missing: 13 year old girl disappears without a trace one Sunday after church on her way to get ice cream. It affects the entire community, so they all band together to search for her. She’s missing for about 12 days.

•Sam’s Relationship With Her Father: seemingly not all that great. He’s helpful and good at listening and being there at the drop of a hat for anyone else, by not so much for his daughter.
In my opinion, it didn’t seem like he knew how to be a parent at all without his wife around. Sad.

•Nick Shaw: Jody’s older brother. So, Sam likes all these things about this soon-to-be college boy. He’s considerate, sweet, kind, cute, nice to be around— basically all the girls LOVE Nick. Sam sort of does? Lovey-Dovey-ness really isn’t important to this story, or in the storyline at all. So the kiss that Sam and Nick share that is never explained or really revisited is sort of random and unnecessary to me... But like, at the same time, I expected the kiss. This isn’t a love story though.

•Everything That Is Broken: The Air conditioner, the fan, the ice cube dispenser on the fridge, the TV, their backyard (honestly, that yard was talked about so often and I don’t even know if it ever got fully revived🙃).

⬇️Other Points and Notes I Made While Reading⬇️:

•Sam is very closed off about her feelings. At one point she mentions -internally- that she thinks she’s depressed. That didn’t get revisited ...

•I did NOT enjoy Vanessa’s character AT ALL. Instead of a 15 year old girl, she reminded me of an 11-12 year old. Idk. She was just REALLY annoying and whined a lot. And her whole attitude and everything took me back to those middle school days, which I did not ask for— so, NO THANKS👏🏻

•However, I was curious about Daniel because I actually liked him— I wish he’d been around more than Vanessa🙄

•I feel like we didn’t really get to know all the characters all that well, it felt like ... okay, let’s just pretend for a second that this book is a swimming pool and the water is the characters— in this story, you just barely dip your toes in the water. You hardly touch the surface at all.
I dunno, maybe that’s good enough for some people, but for me, characters and character development are things that I care about a lot. I just wasn’t feeling like I got very much about who the characters were, and so because of that, I didn’t really connect with any of them.

•Alright, so was Sam’s dad having an affair or ALMOST having one with Erin?? Because I’m not sure which thing happened there. You kinda have to infer.. honestly I’m not sure. I can’t tell. I really don’t know

•To be honest, I didn’t really get into the whole mystery aspect of the story. I wasn’t tryna figure out “Whodunnit?” The whole time. In fact, I didn’t try to figure it out at all. So I didn’t have any sort of “ah-huh!” moment or an “oh, I never would’ve guessed” moment when the captor was revealed.

⬇️ALL IN ALL (basically to summarize)⬇️:

➡️It wasn’t an intense mystery, nor do I think it was intended to be. So basically, if you’re looking for a thrilling suspenseful mystery story, that’s not what this is.
This story is more about self discovery, and trying to keep faith when hard times make you question it.
Profile Image for Cassi aka Snow White Haggard.
459 reviews159 followers
July 18, 2012
I have a weakness for books with intelligent discussions of religion, especially books like Once Was Lost with accurate portrayals of doubt. They speak to my life experience, especially since losing my grandfather 2 years ago. At times, faith is a struggle. Faith is a central theme without the book feeling overly religious or anti-religious.

As a pastor's kid, Sam's family is supposed to be perfect. Her father is the young hip pastor of the only growing church in her small town. Her mother is a functioning alcoholic, except she's not functioning very well anymore. When her mom crashes the car and is sent to rehab, that leaves Sam and her father. Only her father's so busy being a pastor he's not around very much to be a father. So most of the time it's just Sam.

When Jody Shaw, a young girl from Sam's youth group, goes missing the doubts that are piling up begin overwhelming Sam. She struggles with the big questions and since her father is so busy helping Jody's family and her mother's in rehab, Sam is left to deal with her faith on her own.

The way this story handles faith struggles is realistic and intelligent. Sam has doubts and questions but feels guilty for having doubts and questions. Because of her family, she doesn't really feel like she's allowed to ask those questions. It's very internalized. You can feel the aching loneliness of lost faith and longing for a miracle so vividly in this novel.

In this book lost does not have just one meaning. It's about a girl literally lost, missing presumed kidnapped that everybody's looking for. But it's mainly about Sam, lost without anyone noticing. It's also about her mother, lost in the alcohol and away at rehab. There are many kinds of "lost" in the world and the book does a good job exploring the theme.

I recommend this on audiobook. I'm normally wary of author-narrated books but Sara Zarr does an excellent job.
Profile Image for Valerie.
249 reviews74 followers
December 2, 2009
This isn't one of those books that just slaps you in the face with happy feelings at the end and I usually go for those types of books. So I wasn't sure I'd like this book because I usually don't like depressing books. Don't judge me, okay! It wasn't depressing but I wouldn't say happy. However, I was surprised to find that I liked this book and even more that I in a way appreciated it. I'll admit that I was on the fence of give this book 4 stars but I decided not to for these reasons:

Sam has her world just breaking all around her and she has just shut down from everyone and everything. She doubts things that she had always believed and questions go whirling around when a girl disappears from her church. I know that maybe some people might not like her expressing her doubts but it really didn't bother me all that much. Sam conveys that her life is bad without sounding whiny, a definite plus. And even though she is down for much of the book I never felt hopeless, just more somber.

What made me want to give it 4 stars was the father. I HATE him. Even after a week since reading the book I still resent him. He's a horrible father and a selfish son-of-a...dog. Sam was mature enough to accept him for being human and making mistakes even though she doesn't excuse him for not being there when she needed it. And she also does the same for her mother. I doubt I'd be so mature. But that is what I really liked about the book. I could really see everyone as a real person and I therefore could feel the unfairness of everything and really feel angry; with the blood rushing, my hands clinched, and the desire the throw the book across the room because I needed to hit something in my frustration. And I could feel very sad too.

Another reason I could appreciate the book so much was I could really get the symbolism of things that I could usually only get if I had a teacher explained them to me. I could see the symbolism in the weather, the broken stuff in the house, the yard and so many other things. I liked it that I could recognize them without having to read into every little thing. There is so much truth in Zarr's story, almost every character says some true at one point of another.

The ending was good. I still hate the father but maybe I could learn to accept it -this is a big MAYBE.
Profile Image for Hallie.
954 reviews123 followers
February 12, 2014
Here's my LJ write-up, minus a bit of irrelevant book-burbling. (Also minus some formatting, no doubt, so the original is here.) (Edited as I noticed a horrific number of typos, when I went to check whether the title of this book had been changed to "What We Lost". It has, and why the change, I've no idea.)

Last night I started (and stayed up way too late to finish) Sara Zarr's Once Was Lost, which was just wonderful. Still too close to it to do much beyond a bit of raving, but it's at least somewhat quote-enriched raving.

Sam is the fifteen-year old daughter of a pastor in the small - really small - town of Pineview, where everyone knows pretty much everyone, and those in the congregation especially know the business of the pastor and his family. Except for the bit about her mother's having been sent to rehab after getting in an accident while DUI. Sam's father keeps promising he'll tell the congregation, and then Sam will finally be able to stop covering up and hiding. But Sam's dad is a lot better at always knowing the right thing to say, and taking the time to say it, to his congregation than he is to his own family. Or than he is with the congregation in this one case. And with her mother in rehab, Sam is lost and depressed already, when she hears the news that a girl from the town - from the congregation, in fact - has been abducted. Sam has to try to cope with the shock and fear and grief without help from her mother, her father or God, all of whom seem to have left her in one way or another.

The doctor or minister parent who has time for everyone except his or her own family is a bit of a cliché, perhaps, but Zarr makes Sam's dad, like her mother and Sam herself, so beautifully real that it's anything but cliché. It's also not about satirical point-scoring or finger-wagging, and that may be even more important. (Yes, those of you who've heard this once too often are probably right in guessing that a major contrast for me is the feminist-children-neglecting mother in DWJ's Conrad Fate, who still makes me very cross.)

I think I've said before that one thing I really, really liked about Sara Zarr's previous book, Sweethearts, is that it treats the important adults in the teen protagonist's life as older but not essentially different from the teen. So often the parents seem to be there either to get in the way or be downright harmful to the protag's coping, learning lesson, seeing things from new perspective, whatever. But the lesson learning is only the task of the teen, while the parent has either been there, done that or been there, missed the chance. I like adults who keep on being open to change, learning lessons, assessing who they are and who they want to be, becoming. Obviously a YA book shouldn't be all the story of the adult(s), and this certainly isn't, but Sam's parents are fantastic characters. I completely fell for the mother on reading this:

Mom always says that doubt is just another way of expressing faith, and sometimes I'd hear her mutter things to God, like, "Thanks a lot. I guess we'll chalk that one up to character development," or, "I eagerly await your explanation for this in the hereafter, assuming there is such a thing."

The picture we get through Sam's narrative of her mother's rather sudden slide from drinking way too much to keep herself together in the face of the constant scrutiny and having to live up to her position as pastor's wife, into drinking way, way too much and no longer managing to keep it together is both credible and infinitely sad. It's a neat trick to develop sympathy for a character only seen for much of the book through the memories of another character for whom the reader feels primary sympathy, and Zarr manages admirably.

Sam's narrative is occasionally an extremely difficult position to inhabit, as for example when she fails repeatedly to respond to her best friend's desire for her to share her feelings about her mother's being in rehab, about the abduction, about having been sent to live with her friend's family. Completely understandable given what we know about Sam - and some of it pretty classic child of an alcoholic behaviour - but still worrying, when we feel Sam's vulnerability and isolation already, and fear she may cut herself off the few friends she does have.

All this is powerful stuff, and there's a central part of the plot that concerns the girl who's been abducted, the search for her, the impact on her family and the people in the town in general, and the information filtering through that the chances of finding her alive drop dramatically after the first 48 hours. Even though I knew what the book was about, I was still knocked sideways right along with Sam when she hears the news of the abduction on the TV. The chapters are headed Day 1, etc (the abduction actually happens on Day 2), and again Zarr does an amazing job of depicting the reactions of all involved. The older brother of the girl taken was particularly good, I thought. But despite the tension and the heartbreaking grief and anxiety everyone feels, somehow the book struck me as never using manipulative tricks to get the reader involved.

One of my favourite songs is Sufjan Stevens' 'Casimir Pulaski Day' (can be heard here), with its heartbreaking ending 'And He takes, and He takes, and He takes'. Once Was Lost addresses that sense of loss and anger - outrage even, that God has 'taken everything', and also marvels at the strength of people who can have hope and faith despite that. And maybe, just maybe, some of them will have the chance of facing the task Sam imagines Lazarus must have faced, of rebuilding your life after having spent time in the tomb.
Profile Image for PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps .
2,338 reviews227 followers
July 4, 2019
I usually like Sara Zarr, but couldn’t connect to Sam or WHAT WE LOST. Written in 2009 the attitudes felt dated. Additionally, resolutions were simplistic and uninspired.
Profile Image for Suad Shamma.
693 reviews159 followers
November 23, 2012
"Samara Taylor used to believe in miracles. She used to believe in a lot of things."

That's what it said on the cover of the book.

What they failed to mention however, was that Samara Taylor will spend the entire book whining about every aspect of her miserable existence.

My God, I could not wait to finish this book. Sara Zarr is the most boring author (aside from Mary Balogh) I've ever read for. She is just boring. Boring. Boring. Boring. Her writing skill is mediocre at best, her characters dull and dreary, and her plot unstimulating and dry.

Sam spends 217 pages complaining. She complains about her life. She complains about her friends. She complains about her dad. She complains about her mom. She complains about the dead plants. She complains about going places. She complains about food. She complains about time. She complains about school. She complains about her existence. She complains about her home. She complains about her friend's home. She complains about her age. She complains about her alarm clock. She complains about Erin. She complains about the weather. She complains about the disappearance of Jody. She complains about herself. She complains about church. She complains about her thoughts. She complains about the neighborhood. She complains about the people. She complains about God.

I mean, at one point, I just really wanted to grab her, shake her hard and ask her to please - for the love of God - just STOP!

It couldn't possibly get any worse than this story. The disappearance of Jody was written atrociously, with nothing clarified, nothing making sense. And those little snippets of news were weak, the characters, the suspects, the investigation were horrible. The way she suddenly showed up at the end in a "sort of limping jog" after vanishing for two weeks was the worst scene ever written. It's like Zarr suddenly realised, "oh wait! I need to give my readers a happy ending!" and just put a couple of sentences together about how Jody was suddenly found. No explanations. No build up. No climax. Nothing.

And one minute Sam's mom isn't answering phone calls or taking messages. One minute she doesn't want to come home. And then the next minute she's doing well and is coming home and is even almost back to normal. And Erin and Sam's dad...really? You could see that coming miles away, it was that badly executed, and that predictable.

You read this book and you feel nothing. For any of the characters. Nothing.

This is a book about God, about imperfection, about life, about valuing oneself and one's home and family. It's a book about having faith and believing despite the evil that may surround us. And yet I sat there reading it and I felt nothing. It left me uninspired and hollow.

It felt like Zarr just wanted to write a book about God and her thoughts on God, so she quickly strung together a few story lines to go with that. In fact, this, to me, felt like a short story that they later decided to extend into a full-blown novel.

And it makes me angry. It makes me angry because this received raving reviews - reviews that made me go out searching for this author's books. And when I finally found them, I bought not one, but three of her books. And upon reading just one, I am hugely disappointed and put off from reading anything else written by her. If I had not actually bought "How to Save a Life" and "Story of a Girl", I would never pick up another book by Sara Zarr, no matter how good the reviews are.

Lucky for her though, she gets two more chances.
Profile Image for Marjorie Light.
18 reviews5 followers
October 4, 2009
Glad I found ONCE WAS LOST By Sara Zarr

Oh, Sara Zarr! I have been waiting all of my life for this book. This is the book I longed for when I searched the shelves of my local library; the one I could only dream of while perusing the big bookstore when we went to the city. You did it, although too late for the girl I used to be, the teens of today will find it. And love it.

In her latest novel, ONCE WAS LOST, Zarr shows the truth of growing up as a child of faith – one immersed in the church. Although my father wasn’t a pastor like the father in the novel, other relatives of mine were and our lives revolved around our religion. What Zarr does – through the eyes of the main character, Samara Taylor – is deftly illustrate the way a church family can simultaneously feel like a cozy comforter and a smothering blanket. Samara has to pretend all is right in her world, even with her mother secretly stashed away in rehab and her father keeping other secrets. When a tragedy strikes at the heart of the youth group, Samara finds the fabric of their lives ripped open and exposed.

It is appropriate that this book debuts during the Banned Books Week because there will surely be some short-sighted people who won’t see this book for what it truly is. It is not an attack against religion. ONCE WAS LOST is a beautifully written novel that accurately portrays the way a youth group is an extended family, the way the congregation treats their pastor, and the unconditional love that you can find. Although Samara, like most teens, has questions, the answers that she finds by novel’s end will lift your heart.

More than once this novel brought me to tears with its revelations into Samara’s life and I wanted it to go on and on. ONCE WAS LOST shows struggle and redemption, forgiveness and transformation. Sara Zarr is a decidedly skilled writer who weaves themes of family, love, and faith throughout a novel that families should embrace and discuss. Thank you, Sara Zarr for writing this novel. This is life. This is truth. This is what faith looks like.

ONCE WAS LOST on sale through Little, Brown and Company. Get a copy from an indie bookseller today!

Profile Image for Sesana.
5,327 reviews343 followers
October 31, 2011
Sorry to say, but this was a bit disappointing. I love Sara Zarr, she's very talented, and she was writing well in this book, too. There's just way, way too much going on in a short (210 pages) book. Samara's mother has been bundled off to rehab, her father isn't dealing with it, she's having a crisis of faith, she suspects her father's having an affair, a girl she knows has been kidnapped, and she's developing a romance with the kidnapped girl's brother, who has a girlfriend. That's a lot for any book. And when the book is only 210 pages, it's too much. Nothing has the space it needs to develop. (This is all aside from my distaste at having a kidnapping as a subplot.) All of the conflict is very neatly wrapped up without much difficulty or conflict for anyone, and nobody ever has to deal with any of the fallout from the major stuff that's going on. And Sara Zarr is not exactly known for too neat, too easy endings. I'd probably be less disappointed if I hadn't admired her other books so much.
Profile Image for Sandra.
94 reviews15 followers
October 29, 2012
This review was first published on Clear Eyes Full Shelves

A perfect flower graces the cover of Sara Zarr’s Once Was Lost. Its soft pink petals top a long, graceful stem. One perfect petal drifts from an otherwise unmarred blossom like a tear falling to the ground. 

Blemished  perfection symbolized as a lone teardrop perfectly represents Sam’s life.  Samara, Sam to her family and friends, lives in a cushioned and beautiful world of her family’s creation. Her father’s a pastor, her mother’s a lovely woman, active in her church and liked by her peers. 

Yet, a darker side coexists within this dubious heaven.

Fifteen-year old Sam’s secure life in small town Pineville shatters following two events. First, her mother’s DUI lands her in rehab for  alcohol addiction. While Sam struggles with the pain of her mother’s illness and absence, she grapples with embarrassment when asked about when her mother will return; worse yet, she’s confused by father’s unwillingness to be forthright with his congregation about the reason for his wife’s absence. Sam’s appalled by what she perceives as an inappropriate relationship between her father and the attractive and lively youth minister, Erin.

Hypocrisy rears its ugly head. Sam’s father has serious and undeserved trust issues when it comes to her friends and her activities. No dating. No internet. No freedom. Sam’s accepted her father’s dictates until she sees his personal hypocrisy. Do what I say like a mantra flows from her father’s lips. 

There’s no reason to doubt or mistrust Sam’s choices or her friends. There’s every reason for Sam to doubt and distrust her father’s choices and his friendship with Erin. Her father accepts meals consisting of his favorite dishes made by the youthful and attractive Erin. It feels wrong to Sam. To Sam her father’s stepping over the line that defines marriage. Worse, Erin’s doing her utmost to win Sam over.

Then, in the midst of her family’s crisis, a thirteen-year old member of Sam’s church youth group disappears. One minute she’s with her family—the next, she’s gone. A second crisis in Sam’s life brings her faith in the goodness of an all-seeing, all-knowing God into question. 

The book’s title can be found in the opening lines from the hymn Amazing Grace.  Sam’s experience  differs widely, early in the book  from the song’s words of promise.

I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see. 

Sam grapples painfully with a newly found soul searching coupled with seeing hypocrisy in her father. She feels lost and blind to trusting in faith.
It’s not difficult to live in a sacred bubble when nothing happens to cause doubt or questions. The bubble begins to wear when Sam’s religious faith and the reality of the harshness of life collide.

Complex issues spin into the texture of Sam’s life. She loves and supports her mother’s commitment to find herself, which she lost in expectations from her husband and his church congregation. Sam loves her father but sees him stumbling into a faith-shattering fall from grace. She feels attracted to the missing girl’s brother, yet does not know how to deal with this new emotion. She fears for the missing teenager and cannot understand how a loving God could allow this to happen. 
How can there be a loving God watching over them when an innocent child might be in the grip of a dangerous kidnapper? Sam’s questions and doubts lead to jaded tears of doubt falling into her once-perfect life. Sam’s soul searching road toward a new found understanding is best summed up in lines from Amazing Grace.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

Sara Zarr’s gift of writing doesn’t come wrapped in a simplistic bow.

Instead, Zarr’s writing comes packaged in the complexity of human experience. When all hope seems lost, it somehow rises up again. I did not come to the end of Once Was Lost feeling there is no grace or white dove with its promise of hope.
Once Was Lost brings you along with Sam through her many dangers, toils and snares. It brings you with her on a journey of understanding, forgiveness and love.

Profile Image for Lucy .
343 reviews34 followers
June 15, 2009
Samara Taylor is the daughter of popular, charismatic Pastor Charlie. Everyone loves Pastor Charlie, who always knows the right thing to say and always has time for everyone. Everyone except his family. Everyone except Sam, who is alone after her mother's quiet drinking problem resulted in a DUI which landed her in rehab. Sam, who is not even sure if she believes in the God she always took for granted anymore.

And that's when tragedy strikes. A girl goes missing from their small town, and suddenly, nothing is the same. Things that Sam took for granted as safe suddenly seem threatening. And her father--and her faith--feel more distant than ever.

Sara Zarr is a master at the quiet novel that grips your heart. Even in this book, where the plot revolves around a sensational story of a missing girl, the heart of the book is still Sam's very personal and very real struggle with her faith, her family and herself.

The realistic portrait of a small town marred by tragedy--the way it changes everything, makes you mistrust things you once took for granted--it comes alive in this book. More importantly, while the central mystery never loses its hold on the reader, it also never overshadows the more interesting story--Samara's crisis of faith. It takes a very skilled writer to weave a novel that has room for both plotlines and lets the much quieter story be the more significant one.

I devoured this book in a few hours. It's a very quick, compulsive read, and Sam's honest voice pulls you in and doesn't let go. This is one of the more honest teen novels I've read in a long time--I can't recall another novel that dealt so frankly with a genuine crisis of faith. I think this is going to be a book teens come back to.
Profile Image for Library Lady.
118 reviews
July 5, 2010
Book+ ****

I've heard it said by many that authors shouldn't narrate their own work. I mostly believe this to be true. Sometimes it works-- as in the case of "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman-- but with this book, it doesn't. Zarr may understand the emotional intensity of her work, but she doesn't know how to convey that vocally.

However, her only so-so reading didn't detract from enjoyment of the story at all. I've gone to church my whole life-- quite literally-- and I was extremely active in my youth group in jr.. high and high school. Many of scenes and moments at the church that Zarr describes rang very true to me. Sam's personal crisis of faith and struggle also rang true for me. I personally believe that every child who is raised in the church will go through a crisis of faith at some point. Some will be huge and horrible, and some will only be small and relatively painless. But I do believe that this crisis of faith is necessary for true faith to take root. By the end of the book I won't say that Sam has come to full belief, but I do think she's maybe a little more open than she may have been at the beginning. And that is one of the many things I think Zarr did well with this book-- faith is a journey, not a destination and we've gotten to see Sam at one stop along her journey. This was very realistic and well-done to me and I was really glad for it.

I felt many of the characters and relationships were also very believable and believably done. This is a great book for those who've grown up in the church or just for those who are curious about faith. There are no easy answers, and Zarr doesn't attempt to give us any. I also liked how Sam's relationship with her father was portrayed. I did wish that she would have been more vocal about her feelings and maybe confronted him about his relationship with the youth pastor, since it did affect her and was her business to some respect. But I also understand that that was not Sam's personality.

By the end of the book, Sam is at a better place. Maybe not fully healed, but definitely better. Her life will never be the same, but hopefully she's come through to the other side with open eyes and an open heart and a willingness to keep trying and questioning and discovering her faith.
Profile Image for Lawral.
169 reviews23 followers
Shelved as 'read-but-unowned'
July 12, 2010
Poor Sam. She needed a hug throughout almost this entire book, and not the one-armed youth leader kind. She sufferes from knowing a lot of people but being close to very few. She's also dealing with the absence of her mother, and her mother's long-time alcohol abuse, all alone. Her dad doesn't want to talk about the situation, or at least he doesn't want to talk about it with Sam, and Sam can't talk to anyone else about it either, not even her best friend Vanessa, without hurting her father's reputation. They just keep telling people her mom is "sick" and not letting anyone in the house. Luckily for Pastor Charlie's image, no one wants to come over anyway since it's August and their air conditioner is broken. When Jody is kidnapped, Sam is clearly upset (she's mad at life, not heartless), but it does give her something besides her mother and crumbling family to focus all of her energy/super-power-strength-worrying-skills on.

It's when the youth group is all gathered praying for Jody's safe return that Sam realizes that she doesn't know anymore if anyone's listening. How could a just and loving God let Jody be kidnapped? How could He let Sam flounder through her life feeling so abandoned and alone? Sam struggles through this by herself as well. A daughter who may have lost her faith could be more damaging to Pastor Charlie's reputation than a wife in rehab. But Sam's doubt isn't a rejection of God. She desperately wants to feel the closeness and comfort that her youth group friends feel, especially when she has such a lack of both in her day-to-day life. She just can't muster it, and so she feels isolated and wrong. Though Sam's situation would undoubtably be helped by talking to her church friends or youth leader, the fact that she doesn't feel she can go to them is ultimately realistic. Even if she had sought guidance, this is something so personal that she has to deal with it alone.

And she does, with the search for Jody, a budding relationship with Nick, fights with Vanessa, and unreturned voicemails left for her mother all buzzing in the background.

Though it is a heavy read, I highly recommend Once Was Lost, especially for regular youth group attendees.

Book source: Philly Free Library
Profile Image for Maggie.
616 reviews1 follower
August 14, 2010
I didn't really connect with this book. At first it was interesting with Sam, the MC, questioning her faith, which I think a lot of people can relate to. But then the plot took an unexpected turn and I wasn't sure what to make of it. I guess it was kind of like a parable because the event is something that certainly tests people's limits.

Sam was a frustrating character. She was too angry/sad in a way that I don't think really corresponded with her personal issues. Not that she didn't have stress in her life, but there were some instances where I really thought she was overreacting.

I thought the situation with Nick, the sort of love interest, came out of left field. I wasn't sure why he reached out to her so many times, especially since he was 18 and she was 15. Isn't that against the law? But I digress.

I think this book was on the right path but never really got there. At least not for me. I wanted more depth, more interactions with the other characters instead of just Sam's internal monologue with her repeating the same questions over and over. It was okay overall. I can't say it was a bad book but it just didn't move me or grip me like other contemporary YAs that I've read recently. Unfortunately, I now have this habit of comparing every contemporary YA to Sarah Dessen who is just so good at hitting all the right notes. I think that's kind of unfair to other authors, but I can't help it. I think other people will connect with this more than I did because, like I said, it was not a bad book, just not the right one for me.
Profile Image for Sara.
1,404 reviews69 followers
April 18, 2010
This author has been nominated for lots of awards (maybe not for this book, but at least for her previous ones), but at the end of this book, all I could think was, What's the point? The plot moved slow, nothing seemed to happen, and I couldn't see a reason that this story needed to be told at all. The only reason I even finished it is because the book was pretty short.

The plot: Sam is 15 years old; her dad's a pastor in her small town and her mom's recently been sent to rehab, so she's got some baggage. After a girl in town goes missing and Sam grows frustrated trying to get in touch with her mom, Sam starts questioning why things in life are the way they are.

The plot was extremely quiet and, like I said above, nothing seemed to happen for pages on end. The characters were okay but not particularly memorable, and I grew frustrated with the way Sam kept questioning things around her but never spoke up about them. It felt like there wasn't enough plot for this book (which is saying something, seeing how it was only about 200 pages) and so scenes were just stretched, even though nothing really happened, time and time again. What is the point?? I have no clue. The whole book was pretty forgettable. Even the end, which seemed to tie things up neatly, left a lot unexplained and lacking, like the "plot" had just run out of steam and needed to come to an end.
Profile Image for Rachel.
34 reviews
October 20, 2009
This book is about a girl who's father has always been a pastor and everyone has always viewed her as her father's daughter the god girl. Only thing is her mother has always been a secret alcoholic and made her doubt there is a god in any fashion. Now her mother is staying at New Beginnings a rehab facility and her father doesn't want to give her the time of day. A local girl goes missing and Sam starts to connect with her older brother. Only thing is he's a suspect and shes forbidden to be alone with him.
This book is seriously depressing. Sam has so many problems but she never confronts them. The whole time I just wanted her to start yelling and cussing at people. All she wants is her mother and father to be together again but all the while she suspects her fathers cheating with her youth pastor. It also deals with the fact that everyone thinks shes this spiritual person but all the while is the complete opposite. With her viewing it as all ridicules and I definitely connected with that. If you don't want to cry and feel miserable I wouldn't read this.
Profile Image for laaaaames.
524 reviews97 followers
June 7, 2009
Three point five stars.

I liked it a lot but I didn't feel it was up to the level of Zarr's last two books. Sam's turn back to faith came too quickly and easily and appropriately-timed to me. I wanted more from the Erin story. I wanted more Vanessa/Daniel drama. I guess I wanted more from a lot of this. It's a slim little volume and I think it could have used more, more, more.

That said: her prose is lovely, as always. Loved all the red herrings. Loved the constant feeling of suspicion and dread. Loved the gardening (which is saying something because godDAMN I hate anything to do with plants and the outdoors). Loved how flawed everyone was with few bad people in the mix, period. Nick was especially fascinating to me, and I admire the restraint with him! Had I written this book I swear he would have ended up splashed across every page.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 28 books5,675 followers
September 22, 2009
Sara Zarr has a real gift for getting into the heart of a teenager. Her characters are so unbelievably real, that you simply cannot put the book down until you know what's happened to them. This book was no exception, in fact, it's my favorite of hers so far. A beautiful book about faith and family and life. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Profile Image for Leigh Kramer.
Author 1 book1,204 followers
August 22, 2015
In some ways, reading Once Was Lost was like flipping through my old diary. Though our circumstances were entirely different, the universal themes rang true. I couldn't help but reflect on what I'd do if I were in Sam's shoes and I completely related to her doubts and fears. Compelling read.
Profile Image for Britt.
102 reviews
April 1, 2012
This was a pleasant surprise as it's not a book that I would normally read. Zarr's writing is pitch perfect and she weaves completely believable plots and characters.
Profile Image for Alex Black.
688 reviews50 followers
April 6, 2020
I very nearly gave this book five stars. As I was finishing up, I thought about it, but honestly if I have to think about it, that book probably isn't five stars. But this one was close. It's genuinely the first book I've read this year that I've loved (excluding rereads).

A lot of this book is about religion and I think it's important to state right off the bat that I'm not religious. Sam is a pastor's kid and this book deals with a combination of her family issues, a missing girl from her church, and her struggles with faith. It makes up a large section of the book. But despite the faith focus, it's not a book I would shelve in the religious fiction section. It's a book about a girl who is religious, not a religious book. Like the point of the book isn't her finding faith, even if it is a big part of the story. The point of the book is just Sam's character. It's a subtle distinction, but one that I think makes the book readable for people like me who aren't religious.

I would also highly recommend this if you're looking for a YA book that handles religious well. It's never preachy or pushy. Religion is just a part of Sam's life which makes it a part of the book and it's really well done. I think it's easily become one of my favorite contemporaries dealing with religion.

The missing girl storyline was such a weird subplot. It's strange to say, but I almost feel like this book would have been stronger without it. It does have an effect on Sam perspective and life, but I don't feel like it truly changed the story in any consequential way. If it had been removed, I think it largely could have been the same story with a few tweaked details. And I think a little less drama would have helped, if the focus had been solely on Sam's life instead of Sam's life and also this huge hunt for a kidnapped kid. That may have been the main thing keeping this book from being five stars.

I'm not sure how I felt about the ending. I wasn't sure while reading it and now, the next day, it's still a question in my mind. I think it wrapped up too many things and had too much closure. This is a book I could have seen with a more open ending, letting the readers draw their own conclusions. It could have just ended right after the climax. But it kept going and going and there was still a decent amount of book left. I did feel a little negative toward that, but also I liked seeing Sam's life wrap itself up. I liked having answers to all my questions, at least on a surface level. I guess I just think it was too much in such a short period of time and maybe we didn't need all of it.

The list of other things I loved is too long because it was very nearly the rest of the book. I loved Sam's relationship with the youth group leader at her church and how that changed over the course of the book. I loved her overall struggle with being the pastor's kid, and how it was mirrored by her mother's struggle being the pastor's wife. I loved how she didn't feel allowed to question her faith out loud for fear of reflecting badly on her father. I loved her mother's growing role in the book, starting out as completely absent until she's even more present that Sam's physically present father.

I'm sure there were many more, but I thought this book was just spectacular. It's a really wonderful story and I was completely invested the whole time. I'd highly recommend this if you're interested in ya contemporaries that focus heavily on coming of age, family issues, or societal expectation. I wouldn't recommend picking this up based on the fact that it includes a kidnapped girl because it's not a huge focus of the story, and I think that could throw a lot of people off. But for what it is, it's fantastic.
1 review1 follower
October 30, 2018

The violence that occured in the story did not happen before it began. As a young girls life seemed to be falling apart in her home/family life things ended up getting worse for her when a girl she knew in her home town was kidnapped.
Throughout the book many people were suspects in the disappearance of the young girl but was seeming impossible to find the one responsible for the kidnapping. When the reader discovers who is responsible it’s more unexpected than anything else. As the reader reads further in the book the details of certain people make them think that they could be the kidnapper until the end when the suspect is found.
The narrator in the story would be the detective in the story but doesn't know more than the reader, everything the narrator feels or thinks is explained in the book. The reader follows along the whole time and is always on the same page.
This story did keep the reader interested and curious throughout the book because along with the missing girl there were also other problems such as the girls mother in rehab, her dad was always ‘busy’ with a girl from church and much more that always kept the reader wondering what will happen next or if the readers suspicions were true or not.
I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys reading books about faith and good endings. I would not recommend this book to someone who likes mystery with a brutal story line.
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