Once Was Lost
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2009)
Reviewed by Avni Gupta (age 15) for Reader Views (12/09)
When I found out that I was going to be getting “Once Was Lost” by Sara Zarr, I was really excited. I had already read “Sweethearts” by Sara Zarr, and I thought that it was amazing, so I was really, really looking forward to reading “Once Was Lost.” As soon as I started reading, I was hooked. Zarr made the plights of Samara, the main character, so realistic, and portrayed so vividly, that I felt as though I was in the book searching along with Samara.
This book starts out with Samara talking about how her mother is in rehab. Samara is still coming to terms with this fact and can’t help but feel alone when her father decides that he needs to take on more things while he is the pastor of the church. During this time, a girl at the church goes missing. Her disappearance causes Samara to think about more than where they can find her, like where she can find herself.
This book was really cute to read, and many a times, I found myself relating with Samara because of her feeling like there was no one there for her when she really needed someone. At the end, I was really happy with the progress that Samara made in finding out who she was and what made her the person that she was.
Also, the cover of this book was so adorable! I loved how the cover used a flower for the ‘o’ in lost. The symbolism was greatly appreciated by me, and normally, I hate symbolism. The flower was a symbol of her journey and self discovery.
Another thing that I was really happy with was the fact that “Once Was Lost” was the perfect length. It did not drag on too much, but at the same time, it did not move so fast that I had no clue what was going on. At 224 pages, this book was a great weekend read for me, and I definitely think that everyone else needs to experience this great new novel by Sara Zarr!