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|Sara lost and found|
Author: Castleman, Virginia
When their mother abandons them and their father ends up in jail again, ten-year-old Sara and her mentally troubled sister are thrust back into the foster care system.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.00
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 182020
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 3.70
Points: 13.0 Quiz: 67262
Kirkus Reviews (11/01/15)
School Library Journal (01/01/16)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 01/01/2016 Home is an alien word to Sara. Would it be the house her mother ran away from? Or would it be one of the foster families she is shuffled to every time her father gets too drunk to come home? Sara is forced to create a home for herself and her sister, Anna, wherever they may be, stealing paper towels to eat (it tricks the stomach into being full) and helping Anna through bouts of anger. The two stay with three families, each loving but never good enough. While Sara tries to hide Anna’s secrets, she also tries to escape her own. Will they ever find a place to live in forever? Castleman uses her own experiences in the American foster-care system to inspire the trials through which Sara goes. The first-person, present-tense style lets readers live through Sara’s thoughts and connect with her on a fairly deep level. Though the sisters ford difficult valleys, the story never strays into the overly mature, bringing just enough realism to pack an emotional punch. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 01/01/2016 Gr 4–6—Ten-year-old Sara and 12-year-old Anna find themselves alone and abandoned. Their father is a struggling musician on the road with a down-and-out band; their mother abandoned the family some time ago. Now the sisters sleep alone on dirty mattresses in an empty apartment. There is no food; the girls eat paper towels to quiet their hunger. Their social worker, Ms. Craig, intermittently places the sisters in foster care. Sara is wise beyond her years and feels responsible and overwhelmed. Anna shows signs of trauma that have left her uncommunicative and violent. After their father's arrest, the sisters are permanently removed from their parents' care. The two girls vow to stay together always, but that is becoming more difficult. This semiautobiographical tale follows the sisters as they struggle to grow up amid abandonment, dysfunction, and parental addictions. These issues are all handled empathetically, and the writing is clear and affecting. The girls end up in various foster care situations, and this duality of their journey is where the story becomes strained. While the representation of the dysfunction that is shared by Sara and Anna is authentic, the ease at which their new lives come together is not convincing. Once Anna is placed in a residential treatment center, Sara's life quickly falls into place and she finds the perfect family and friends. Those seeking a more balanced tale of survival in the foster care system should seek out Jacqueline Woodson's Locomotion (Putnam, 2003). VERDICT A solid secondary addition to middle grade collections seeking more contemporary stories.—Sada Mozer, Los Angeles Public Library - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.