In my world, Sara Zarr is easily compared to Elizabeth Scott. While Zarr doesn't have novels coming out quite as frequently as Scott, she manages to keep me captivated from page one and by the end, I am always begging for more.
Sweethearts by Sara Zarr has been one of my favorite books since it's release in 2008. Something about it just... wow. It totally wowed me.
But this review isn't for Sweethearts. This review is for Once Was Lost.
I was skeptical when beginning this book. I am not a religious person, and so the religious and spiritual aspect of this book turned me off. I was afraid to try it, worried that Zarr would disappoint me with a novel that preached to me.
I should not have been worried, and I should have read this when I first bought it.
The religious and spiritual journey of the main character, Samara, is one of my favorite aspects of the book. Like me, she questioned the validity of her God and whether miracles can really happen. She looks at all the bad in her life and wonders how God can possibly exist if he lets such horrible things happen.
Her thoughts were such honest thoughts, and I could truly connect with what she was feeling. My father isn't a pastor, but I know what she's going through. I think that many teenagers could relate to this part of the story, whether they are willing to openly admit it or not. Having questions about faith is just a part of growing up, and that was portrayed in this novel perfectly.
I loved the story, and how it flowed smoothly and easily from page to page. The characters, while I feel they probably could have been expanded on just a bit, were very likable and realistic. And I especially enjoyed how the conflict was presented, built up, and resolved.
This novel was truly wonderful. Anyone looking for a good book about a girl growing up and facing challenges would love this... plus, there is just a hint of romance for those who can't resist.