Sunday, April 26, 2015

Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff

Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff. 298 p. Philomel Books/ Penguin Young Readers Group (USA), May 26, 2015. 9780399164064. (Arc courtesy of the publisher)

I have occasionally wondered, usually in response to a news article, how one learns to live with oneself after accidentally killing another. I can't imagine it and I'm an adult, supposedly with a lifetime of coping skills. Lisa Graff revisits the tragedy from Umbrella Summer. In Lost in the Sun, we learn how Trent deals with the aftermath of being the one responsible for killing his friend. 

Understandably, the twelve-year-old is consumed with guilt, has withdrawn from family and friends, and suffers panic attacks when faced with trying to play any sport. Although he saw a counselor for a while in the beginning, he no longer does. He has continued to follow her advice to keep a journal but finds himself filled with rage that erupts in frightening ways. He's raging at his father, his new homeroom teacher and his gym teacher, who happens to be his ex-best friend's uncle and coach of the intra-mural baseball team. Luckily, he is close with his brothers and his mother, with whom he shares a passion for the Dodgers. But even they are at a loss as to help Travis. It seems he has also snagged the attention of Fallon, a girl who dresses a bit oddly and has a mysterious scar. She has every intention of making Travis her friend and he reluctantly goes along.

Trent's voice is immediately engaging. Trent's a likable kid who has walled himself off from the world and trying to find a way out. His guilt and rage are palpable. He's in pain and the people around him who love him can do nothing to ease it because there is no timetable with grief. Only he can forgive himself. So they wait. But now, as the rage boils over, he's in danger of hurting himself and others.

Graff tackles the unimaginable and makes the subject manageable. Students who read this unflinching portrayal of grief and forgiveness will walk away changed. I can't recommend this one enough. 


  1. I have an ARC of this on my TBR shelf and have wondered about it, so thank you for your honest review. Graff's last book, Absolutely Almost, was at times painful to read, and yet I was glad she wrote it. Lost in the Sun sounds like it may be the same way. She has become such a wonderful but hard hitting writer.

  2. I agree. I fell in love with Sophie Simon and each one I've read since is better than the last. No wasted words. Dialogue that rings true. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Hope you enjoy it.

  3. Following your blog might be dangerous too me, this is the second book added to my wish list from your blog today. I do like it when an author tackles difficult subjects.

  4. Mari, I promise you won't be disappointed. Thanks for stopping by.

    1. You are welcome, and thanks for sharing all these interesting and lesser known books(at least those I have seen so far have been unfamiliar to me). Should one start with Umbrella Summer then?

    2. Not necessary, though it's a lovely book. I'm going to try to reread it now.