Daniel: Family of the Lost

Peter Pactor
Friesen Press (2020)
ISBN: 9781525584282
Reviewed by Amy (age 16) for Reader Views Kids (1/2021)

“Daniel: Family of the Lost” is Book Six in the Daniel Series by Peter Pactor. It is a novel set during the Thanksgiving season of 1929, the year of the Great Stock Market Crash.

The story picks up right where “Daniel: Picking Up the Pieces” (Book Five) leaves off with  Chester Alexander (Daniel French) telling the story of his 1929 Thanksgiving to his autobiographer. Daniel has just purchased his school, an apartment building and has become guardian to three homeless boys. Through the older Daniel’s recollections, readers get a further glimpse into the life of thirteen-year-old Daniel and his family. We also find out why Daniel changed his name to Chester Alexander!

Daniel’s family is not your typical family, it’s a family of choice and every member chooses to be a part of this family. Biologically, in the case of Daniel and his own father, yet other members gain admission through friendship and work and school relationships, while others through adoption. This story is all about family – the ups and the downs, remembering the past, and making new memories through traditions old and new. It was a good story to read this holiday season with the similarities between then and now. Almost 100 years ago the world (at least America), experienced a first through the Great Depression, and 2020 makes history with the first (and hopefully last) global pandemic of this century. It’s during these times when everyone needs their family, whether they realize it or not.

This is the third book I’ve read in the Daniel series and I thought it was the most challenging story of the three because of the storyline and a few of the characters. Even though it’s still based during an historic period in time, there wasn’t as much history involved, making “Daniel: Family of the Lost” more of a general novel than historical fiction. But, I did enjoy experiencing all the ways the “family” came together.

With the characters, by now, I’m used to Daniel’s mature and serious nature and that didn’t change much during this book since he’s still 13-years-old. What I had a harder time with was the boys Daniel was adopting. They are three years older than Daniel but acted like they were at least three years younger. I guess this is because of their lack of life experiences but somehow it just didn’t feel real. None of that stopped me from enjoying the story though, because when you enter Daniel’s world it really feels like you’re going back in time.

I’ve heard the saying that not everyone gets to choose their family, but after reading this book, I don’t think that’s true. Anyone with honorary family members will enjoy the experience of “Daniel: Family of the Lost.”

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