Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Luster of Lost Things

*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts and opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links.*

I am a sucker for a pretty cover and this one just tugged at me. It kind of reminded me of my son and his beloved stuffed dog that he's had since he was a baby.

The Luster of Lost Things - Sophie Chen Keller

Walter Lavender Jr. is a master of finding. A wearer of high-tops. A maker of croissants. A son keeping vigil, twelve years counting.

But he wouldn’t be able to tell you. Silenced by his motor speech disorder, Walter’s life gets lonely. Fortunately, he has The Lavenders—his mother’s enchanted dessert shop, where marzipan dragons breathe actual fire. He also has a knack for tracking down any missing thing—except for his lost father.

So when the Book at the root of the bakery’s magic vanishes, Walter, accompanied by his overweight golden retriever, journeys through New York City to find it—along the way encountering an unforgettable cast of lost souls.

Steeped in nostalgic wonder, The Luster of Lost Things explores the depths of our capacity for kindness and our ability to heal. A lyrical meditation on why we become lost and how we are found, from the bright, broken heart of a boy who knows where to look for everyone but himself. 

You know what I love? That this book has an obese golden retriever. I don't know why but that is absolutely endearing to me. I am so in love with this book because I could absolutely picture quiet Walter sitting in this bakery, going on missions to find things. Walter has a speech disorder but his quietness makes him an excellent finder. The really magical thing is when the desserts inside of the Lavenders (his mother Lucy's dessert shop) come alive. The Lavenders is an enchanted little shop after Lucy's kindness was noticed by a stranger in need, the stranger leaves a magical book that basically blessed the little shop.

The story takes a turn when the book goes missing, along with the magic, and business essentially dwindles. On the edge of losing it all (and keep in mind Lucy is a single mother raising Walter so this is their only form of income and security since Walter's father is long gone), Walter is determined to find the book and help his mother. So begins a transformation in Walter as he learns he's capable, gains confidence, and finds the courage inside of him. (Which begs the question, is the book meant to be a blessing to Lucy but also to Walter in a different way?) I absolutely loved this book and so many times I wanted to hug little Walter and tell him what a special kid he is. The other great thing is this story has SO many great characters that Walter meets along the way, all in various stages of loneliness. Walter helps them all in different ways, a trait he has learned from his mother, no doubt.

If I had to criticize this book at all, I would say that in spots it is a bit sluggish and slow to read. I feel like this would make it hard for kids to stay tuned in but for adults it wouldn't be an issue. What I do love is that it's a great book for classroom discussion and so many books out of Penguin Random House have a reading guide that you can use when gauging student's reading comprehension. I really loved this book and I could pick out ten kids that I know that could benefit from the little lessons and observations this book gives. If you have a kiddo aged 10 and above, I think easily they could get into this and enjoy it. I used it as a read aloud for my two older kids (ages 9 and 12) and they also enjoyed it.

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