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ONCE WAS LOST by Sara Zarr Kirkus Star



Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-316-03604-7
Publisher: Little, Brown

The abduction of 13-year-old Jody Shaw has absolutely devastated the small, close-knit community of Pineview, Calif. Though the Shaw tragedy has affected everyone, readers see it through the eyes of 15-year-old Samara Taylor, whose father is the Shaws’ pastor and spokesperson. Even before Jody goes missing, Sam is floundering—her mother has spent the last few weeks at a facility being treated for alcoholism, and her father is having trouble coping. When Jody disappears, Sam’s faith in God and in both of her parents is further challenged. Her new friendship with Nick Shaw, Jody’s older brother and a potential suspect in Jody’s disappearance, could either lead to her salvation or destruction. Which will it be? And what becomes of Jody? Bold-faced newscasts periodically interrupt the narrative, providing updates on the Shaw case and maintaining a sustained sense of urgency. This rare combination of in-depth character study and gripping mystery relies on a strong sense of emotional truth to do justice to some tough subject matter without graphic or violent scenes. Riveting. (Mystery. YA)