Review: Once Was Lost

by Sara Zarr

Summary*: 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.

Review: I realize some of you may shy away from a 'Christian' YA book, but Sam's story really is awesome. There's mystery, love, struggling, family issues, kidnapping... everything you could want in a YA book. There's tension and excitement. It's clean, but real.
If you can't tell already, I really liked this book. From the title to the gorgeous cover, Once was Lost is everything I've wanted for a long time. A good, not crappy, not cheesy, christian novel. There's way too many of the crappy ones.
The plot arc is exciting. I was glad Zarr inserted a little something other than just 'spiritual growth' to keep the book going. The kidnapping was great and had a nice twist at the end. The ending was open and left room for thought.
But though I really liked this book, there was no 'wow' factor. Nothing that kept me after I closed the book. Nothing that left me thinking. Really thinking. It might be because I don't struggle anymore with my salvation, and I know I'm saved, but I just wish there might have been something... I don't know... more.

4 Stars
224 Pages
TBR October 1, 2009
*contains no inappropriate material

*Summary taken from Amazon because this book has not yet been released.


  1. There definitely need to be more good Christian YA books. You're right, there are a lot of crappy ones. I've been looking forward to reading this book for awhile. Can't wait for it bo be released!

  2. You posted this just in time, EmilyRuth! I just got asked to review this book and I was hoping there wouldn't be anything bad in it. Thanks. :)

    And I absolutely love this review and how sure you are. There are a lot of crappy Christian novels (and a lot that don't have the right message) and I'm glad this book is not one of them.

    This may not be an appropriate question but I've been wondering this for a while. What demonination are you and your family? We are LCMS Lutheran. (I was just thinking about things you've said on RandomBuzz ...)

  3. I love Sara Zarr. I can't wait for the release of this novel.


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