Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Quiet Middle Grade Novel An Affecting Little Gem

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Everyone knows Trent Zimmerman didn't kill Jared Richards on purpose.  Although Trent hit the puck that struck Jared in the chest, resulting in a fatal response due to the boy's heart condition, Trent certainly didn't intend to cause Jared's death.  It was a heartbreaking accident, a rotten streak of bad luck, a cruel twist of fate.  And yet, Trent can't stop blaming himself.  Guilt and grief eat him up inside, manifesting themselves in an uncontrollable rage that boils just below the surface.  Sketching out his feelings helps Trent a tiny bit, but he knows if he's not careful, his anger will explode and destroy what little peace he still has in his life.

Enter Fallon Little.  The eccentric sixth grader already stands out enough with the big, mysterious scar that mars his face.  So, why does she insist on drawing even more attention to herself by wearing crazy clothes and just being ... weird?  And why can't she leave Trent alone?  Everyone else has learned to steer clear of him, so why won't Fallon?  Instead, she chats him up, tries to sneak peeks at his sketchbook, and invites him to her house to watch boring old movies.  The screwy thing is, after a while, he doesn't really mind.  In fact, he kind of likes being with bright, funny Fallon.  Even if she won't tell him what really happened to her face.

As the kids—each scarred in their own way—grow closer, they both find surprising chances to start over, to mend fences, and to heal.

Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff is a quiet book.  It moves slowly, without melodrama, without pretense.  It simply tells a story about two wounded kids who find strength in friendship.  Through Trent and Fallon, the reader learns some important, but not heavy-handed, lessons about forgiving oneself and healing through helping others.  Although Lost in the Sun doesn't offer a lot of action or suspense, it's a perfect novel to hand to reluctant readers, especially sports-minded boys who can identify with a good-kid-consumed-by-overwhelming-emotions character like Trent.  Personally, I found it to be an affecting gem of a book.

(Readalikes:  Hm, nothing's coming to mind.  Help?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for mild language (no F-bombs) and violence

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a good read. I like when books are simple and beautiful.

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