Friday, August 25, 2017

Book Review: Lost in the Sun

Two excellent tween reads in a row! How fortunate I was to have stumbled onto these titles. Lisa Graff''s novel, Lost in the Sun, is a sure-fire hit for boys who struggle with the intensity of emotions or who have a great love of baseball. While boys will especially relate to the main character, I believe again that this book (like the crossover appeal of The Thing About Jellyfish) will hold equal appeal to boys and girls.

The burden Trent carries threatens to crush him and he is sure the crushing will be deserved. At the end of winter in his fifth grade year, Trent agreed to play a simple game of hockey. Somehow the game ended up being not so simple, though. When he connected with the puck and sent it flying, it hit the chest of Jared Richards and, because of an unknown heart defect, Jared died. Now Trent must face the emotional fallout and the alienation he feels from everyone else in town because he is sure they hate him. As Trent deals with his guilt and pain, he finds solace in the complicated love of family, the unusual friendship of Fallon Little (a girl with a story all her own), and the unexpected support of his most disliked teacher.

This novel is sure to resonate with kids as it focuses on the troubled waters of split families, sibling rivalry, and trauma recovery. The grown-ups portrayed in the book may have their own hang-ups and weaknesses, but mostly they are solid role models and often give out sound advice. Even the bad advice (for example, the father counsels that "sometimes you only get one chance") causes the reader to think about things and reason for themselves what they believe about life and second chances. While the book never brought me to tears, I did ache inside for the pain Trent carried around and wished him all the best in his genuine friendship with Fallon. Teacher resources can be found on the author's website.

No comments: