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Understandably, the twelve-year-old is consumed with guilt, has withdrawn from family and friends, and suffers panic attacks when faced with trying to play any sport.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.