Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Faith takes a front seat in National Book Award finalist Zarr's (Story of a Girl) hard-hitting third novel. When 13-year-old Jody Shaw is kidnapped in broad daylight, her abduction rocks the once secure town of Pineview and her church community ('A thing like this changes the way you think about everything and everyone, and you can never go back'). Her disappearance provides an eerie backdrop to protagonist Samara Taylor's personal drama: her mother's alcoholism, which prompted a four-week stint in rehab, and her father's refusal to focus on anything (his marital problems, the inappropriateness of his relationship with a 26-year-old church member, his parental responsibilities) other than his role as pastor to a flock in need. Sam's questions regarding God's existence ('Do you just decide that you do believe, no matter what, and then force your mind shut when doubts try to come in?') and her place in the world feel all-encompassing, aptly mirroring the mood of her close-knit community as they trawl for answers in Jody's case. Beyond delivering a gripping story, Zarr has a knack for exposing human weakness in the ordinary. Ages 12 up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Praise for Once Was Lost
"Zarr sets a hard task for herself here: interweaving a number of strong story strands and giving them equal weight...add to the story's depth." (starred review)--Booklist
From the National Book Award Finalist ("Story of a Girl") comes a novel about a local calamity and a personal tragedy paralleling in the eyes of a 15-year-old girl as she begins to question the faith she always thought she'd have.
About the Author
Sara Zarr was raised in San Francisco, went to high school in Pacifica, California, and now lives with her husband in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is the author of Sweethearts and the National Book Award finalist, Story of a Girl and can be found on the web at www.sarazarr.com.