Lost in the Sun

Lost in the Sun
Age Range
Release Date
May 26, 2015
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Everyone says that middle school is awful, but Trent knows nothing could be worse than the year he had in fifth grade, when a freak accident on Cedar Lake left one kid dead, and Trent with a brain full of terrible thoughts he can't get rid of. Trent’s pretty positive the entire disaster was his fault, so for him middle school feels like a fresh start, a chance to prove to everyone that he's not the horrible screw-up they seem to think he is. If only Trent could make that fresh start happen. It isn’t until Trent gets caught up in the whirlwind that is Fallon Little—the girl with the mysterious scar across her face—that things begin to change. Because fresh starts aren’t always easy. Even in baseball, when a fly ball gets lost in the sun, you have to remember to shift your position to find it.

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Trent is known is Cedar Lake as that kid... the kid who threw the hockey puck that killed Justin Richards. Not on purpose, but with an accidental blow that stopped his defective heart. Now, Trent is afraid to play baseball, afraid to participate in gym and alienated from his friends. He's mad at his father, who lives an hour away, but meets with Trent and his brothers Doug and Aaron for dinner, even though his new wife, Kari, is pregnant. Trent's mother is supportive, having him help at her kitchen store, checking up on him, making him get counseling in the wake of the accident. Trent even manages to make a new friend, Fallon, who is a bit Stargirl-quirky but fun to be around. Trent has supportive teachers, from Mr. Gorman in gym who doesn't make him participate but gives him other options, to the "wrinkled old crone" Ms. Emerson, who lets Trent water her plants every day and just is there for him.

Still, Trent can't pull it together. He is appalled that his brother Doug is friends with Justin's sister Annie. He manages to purposefully get a B- in every class. He's angry with his mother, won't see his father at all, and even beats up a boy who is taunting Fallon.

This is a mistake, because it makes Fallon afraid of him. Accidentally killing someone with a hockey puck is one thing; it makes Trent afraid of himself. But for Fallon to be afraid of him is unbearable.

Gently guided by the adults around him, Trent knows what he needs to do to regain her trust. He visits her father and offers to "water the plants" so that he trusts Trent. He tries to mend things with his mother, even seeking out her new boyfriend to help him with his baseball. And in a truly inspired literary moment, he sees how much his older brother, Aaron, is trying to help everyone around him, even though he is himself in danger of failing a class. All of these influences help Trent to get over his anger and frustration and begin to move on with his life.
Good Points

The book is gently humorous, and has a lot of appealing scenes that move the plot forward at a good clip. Trent's obsession with baseball will attract a lot of readers to the story, if only for the list of baseball movies that he and Fallon watch. The conflict with his father is one that will resonate with middle grade readers, since issues with parents are part and parcel of middle school.

Fans of Palacio's Wonder, Buyea's Because of Mr. Terupt , Bauer's Almost Home and Jordan Sonnenblick's humorous but introspective work will feel Trent's frustration and breath a sigh of relief when he finally is able to look up and relocate everything he has Lost in the Sun.
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