Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff (2015)

lost

A melancholy tale of a boy who acts out because of guilt, loneliness, and low self-esteem after causing the accidental death of a peer.

Recommended grade level: 5-8

Pages: 304 (for ISBN 9780399164064)

Genre(s) and keywords: realistic

Tone/Style: melancholy

Pace: leisurely

Topics: causing an accidental death, emotional problems, divorced parents, lost friendships, new friendships, brothers

Themes: reasons for misbehavior, coping with guilt, managing anger and other emotions, opening oneself to be helped by others, coping with feelings of inadequacy, earning trust

Summary: Seven months ago, a freak accident on Cedar Lake left one kid dead, and Trent Zimmerman with a brain full of thoughts he can’t shake. Even playing baseball doesn’t make him happy anymore. It isn’t until Trent gets caught up in the whirlwind that is Fallon Little—the girl with the mysterious scar across her face—that things begin to change. Because sometimes, like when a fly ball gets lost in the sun, you have to find a way to shift your position to get what you want. (Source)

Who will like this book?: Readers with high emotional intelligence and who appreciate artful writing will find this book perceptive and touching. Kids with behavior problems may see themselves in Trent.

Who won’t like this book?: The leisurely pace and lack of true action may turn off some readers. Some may be frustrated with Trent’s self-sabotage, failing to understand why he thinks and does what he does.

Other comments: There are a lot of books about grief and overwhelming emotion in girls, but not as many where the main character is a boy. This book may serve as an introduction to the problem novel for reluctant male readers.

Sequel(s):

Readalikes: Gary Schmidt’s The Wednesday Wars and Okay for Now also delve into the deep emotions of middle school boys.  For other tales of boys acting badly, try Crash by Jerry Spinelli or The Fall by James Preller (recommended for grades 7 and up).

-Kylie

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