Monday, September 7, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading 9/7/15

Thank you to SheilaJen and Kellee for inspiring and hosting the #IMWAYR meme.

One of the most moving books that I've read recently is Lisa Graff's Lost in the Sun.  It was not until after I'd read it that I realized that it is actually a companion book to Graff's Umbrella Summer (published in 2000) which I haven't yet read.  

In Lost in the Sun, Trent is entering middle school after a disastrous 5th grade.  In a complete freak accident, a hockey puck that Trent hit struck another boy and killed him.  Trent is pretty much wrecked by this experience, but doesn't really let on that it bothers him as much as it does.  Instead, he acts like a bit of a jerk, to both the adults and the kids around him.  His parents are divorced and his mom is reaching her wit's end with his behavior, while his dad is preoccupied with a new wife and the arrival of a new baby.   Trent is left more or less on his own to deal with his complicated feelings until he befriends Fallon.  Fallon is a WONDERFUL character: witty, charming, slightly mysterious, tough, and smart.  Trent initially starts hanging out with her to dodge his weekly get-together with his dad, but even he becomes charmed by Fallon and a special friendship develops.  As readers, we know that something intense has happened to Fallon - she has a huge scar on her face and deals with others' curiosity about it by making up fantastical stories about how she got it.  But, whenever anyone prods too deeply about it, she briskly makes it clear that the subject is off limits.  

The fragile  friendship between Fallon and Trent is just one of my favorite things about Lost in the Sun.  I actually also really love the way Trent is pretty much a pain in the neck to all his teachers at school; he refuses to participate in any class and his teachers have very realistic reactions - a combination of exasperation, compassion and patience. 

The ending of this book made me cry and although I've read some other reviews in which readers were disappointed by it, I thought it was perfect.  This book may not be for every reader - it includes some heavy issues (grief and guilt, primarily) and Trent is not a typically "likable" kid.  For me, though, it has just enough humor to temper the sorrow and the relationships are so realistically drawn that I now feel like I know everyone in Trent's orbit.  Clearly, it is past time for me to read Umbrella Summer!

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