Excerpt from Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Once Was Lost

by Sara Zarr

Once Was Lost
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2009, 224 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2011, 224 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Pam Watts

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


“Yes,” Mom said, smiling back, drawing a perfectly but modestly home-manicured finger through a piece of hair that had fallen across her face. “It does wonders with grocery lists.” But when the guy was gone, Mom said to me, “I guess we’re not supposed to live in the twenty-first century,” and tucked the phone into her purse, out of sight.

There’s a lot of stuff like that we deal with. Those are just examples.

Now Dad pulls the car right in front of Main Street Hardware, and as he turns off the engine there’s a little rattle coming from under the hood. I look at him. He’s pretending not to hear it. After Mom’s accident, and every thing else, the last thing we need is car trouble.

The bells on the door of the hardware store jingle as we go in. A wave of air-conditioned air feels too cold at first, raising goose bumps on my arms, but then it’s like heaven.

“Charlie, hey.” Cal Stewart, who owns and single-handedly runs the hardware store, greets us. Or I should say he greets my dad and nods politely at me. “What can I do for you?” I like Cal, even though he never remembers my name. He’s got woolly dark hair that’s just starting to go a little gray, and wire-rim glasses that make him look smarter than most people in Pineview, and he’s a lot nicer than the old couple he bought the store from a few years ago.

Dad and Cal discuss the ceiling fan issue, and I take advantage of the chance to walk the aisles of the store, running my hand over the different-size chains that hang from spools, looking into bins of glittering loose nails in every size, examining a dozen kinds of spackles and glues. There’s something to make or fix or connect every thing.

When he’s done talking to my dad, Cal walks by the other end of the aisle and catches sight of me.

“Can I help you find something?”

“I’m thinking about doing something different in our backyard.” “Let’s go to the outdoor section. Near the front.” My dad is up front, too, talking on his cell, something about the music for tomorrow’s service.

Cal asks me, “So you want to do something different. Different how?”

“It’s so hot,” I say. “Everything’s kind of . . . dying.” He leads me to a spinning wire rack of thin gardening books, many of them dusty and with pages that are starting to yellow from the sun. “Here’s one on desert gardening. Technically, Pineview is high desert and not true desert, but it’s got a lot of info on plants that don’t need much water.”

“Xeriscaping.”

“Right.” He hands me the book. “Is this for 4-H?” “No,” I say, surprised that he remembers. “Just for my house.” The last time I came here was to get wooden dowels. I dropped out of 4-H before I finished that project, which was supposed to be me and Vanessa teaching crafts at the Dillon’s Bluff Senior Center, but my mom wasn’t doing so well the day she’d promised to drive us to do the setup, and my dad was busy with church, and instead of telling the truth I told Vanessa that I’d given my mom the wrong date and Vanessa got mad and I dropped out rather than let her down again. Anyway.

“You’ll probably need some of this,” Cal says, leading me through the store to a pile of black plastic sheeting.

“What for?”

“To smother those water-greedy plants you’re trying to replace.” He hands me a bulky, folded armload of it.

“Ready, Sam?” my dad asks, eyeing what I’ve got and, I’m sure, calculating the price.

I nod. Cal rings us up and Dad pays with a credit card. We both exhale and try not to look too surprised when it goes through.

Excerpted from Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr. Copyright © 2009 by Sara Zarr. Excerpted by permission of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: A Gentleman in Moscow
    A Gentleman in Moscow
    by Amor Towles
    It is June 21, 1922, and 33-year-old Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is convicted of being a class ...
  • Book Jacket: I Contain Multitudes
    I Contain Multitudes
    by Ed Yong
    If a stranger were to accost you on the street and tell you that, from birth, you have never been ...
  • Book Jacket: Night of the Animals
    Night of the Animals
    by Bill Broun
    Debut novelist Bill Broun is a gentle, exquisite literary surgeon. His protagonist, 90-year-old ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Under the Udala Trees
by Chinelo Okparanta

Raw, emotionally intelligent and unflinchingly honest--a triumph.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.