The Red Couch: Once Was Lost Introduction



Summer makes me think of beach reads and beach reads often have me turning in the direction of YA. There are plenty of articles out there arguing why you should or shouldn’t read Young Adult (YA) fiction. I’m firmly in the camp who believes you should read whatever gives you enjoyment or from which you can learn.

YA is by no means synonymous with all things fluffy and frivolous. Think of the themes evoked in Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, for instance. Grief and loss, consumerism, good vs evil, the role of family. YA can cover it all.

Case in point: this month’s selection Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr. Sam is 15 and she’s a normal teen in so many ways. And yet she’s also a pastor’s kid. Her mom is in rehab for alcoholism and a young girl from church was abducted. In the middle of it all is Sam’s sense of having nothing and no one to hold on to, not even God.

I don’t know about you but I had my fair share of doubts when I was growing up. Who am I kidding? I have my fair share of doubts now!

I think back to my own teen years and a wave of angst and doubt and insecurity washes over me. I was so desperate to know I belonged, desperate to know if God was real, desperate for people to care.

And even though I did have people in my life who cared and pointed me toward God, some things I had to figure out on my own. In some ways, reading Once Was Lost was like flipping through my old diary. Though our circumstances were entirely different, the universal themes rang true.

I related and I’m pretty sure you will, too.

If you’re not yet convinced, here’s the book description on Amazon:

Samara Taylor used to believe in miracles. She used to believe in a lot of things.

When your father’s a pastor, it’s hard not to buy in to the idea of the perfect family, a loving God, and amazing grace. But lately, Sam has a lot of reasons to doubt. Her mother lands in rehab after a DUI and her father seems more interested in his congregation than his family. When a young girl in her small town is kidnapped, the local tragedy overlaps with Sam’s personal one, and the already worn thread of faith holding her together begins to unravel.

In her third novel, acclaimed author Sara Zarr examines the coexistence of affliction and hope, and what happens when everything you thought you believed–about God, your family, and yourself–is transformed.

As you read Sam’s story, consider how you would respond to her circumstances. Think about what your faith was made up of “then” vs now. Ponder what gets you through difficult times. The answers might surprise you.

This month we have two treats planned for you. First, we’ll be sharing an interview with the author Sara Zarr on Wednesday, Aug. 26. Second, instead of a discussion post, we’ll discuss Once Was Lost in our Facebook group. You can RSVP here or just plan to show up Sunday, Aug. 30 at 6pm PST/8pm CDT/9pm EST.

September’s book is The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo.

Are you reading Once Was Lost with us? Share your thoughts so far in the comments.

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