Goodreads: Lost in the Sun
Published: May 2015
Seven months ago Trent killed a boy. Not on purpose–no one knew that he had a bad heart or that being hit in the chest with a hockey puck could end his life. But now everyone in Trent’s small town seems to hate him. And Trent can’t blame them–he hates himself. Then he meets Fallon Little, the girl known for the scar across her face. Can her friendship help him start again?
Lisa Graff’s story of a boy trying to rebuild his life is real and raw, tackling the aftermath of a traumatic event head-on and never shying away from portraying the more difficult moments. Trent is hurt and guilty and afraid–but most of all he is alone. Trapped in a cycle in which he relives the moment where he caused a death and imagines a world in which he never shot the fatal hockey puck. Trent struggles to make others understand his pain. But recovery does not come easily when some dismiss his guilt and others will always seem him as nothing more than the kid who killed Jared.
Trent narrates the story and his voice plays a key role in making the story convincing. Honest and fresh, he sounds like a real middle schooler attempting to find his way in the world, a kid who tries to do good but who sometimes, as another character points out, shoots himself in the foot. His believability makes the story all the more poignant; readers want to root for him, even with his flaws.
Graff further grounds her story in reality by illustrating the various ways in which others respond to Trent’s accident. Some, like his father, ignore his pain because they believe he needs to stop living in the past. Other adults like his counselor attempt to help but ultimately do little to aid him. And some make his guilt worse by blaming him for a death and refusing to trust him. Adults in this world are multi-faceted and diverse. Not all of them can solve a kid’s problem or even want to, despite the age-old advice to “tell a grown-up”. Sometimes, the story acknowledges, a kid has to figure things out for himself.
Despite the weighty material presented, Lost in the Sun is never a depressing read. Graff invests her characters with heart and her story with just the right amount of humor, to indicate that life goes on even when terrible things happen. Her sensitivity makes this book shine.