Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff

Published by Philomel Books

Summary:  Trent is about to start sixth grade, but he can’t get past an event that happened to him six months previously: while playing hockey, he a puck off his stick hit a boy in the chest, killing him.  The boy had an undiagnosed heart condition, but Trent is burdened by the guilt that he killed someone.  His guilt manifests itself as anger, at his divorced parents, his new stepmother, his teachers, and his classmates.  His only friend is Fallon, a girl with a scar slashed across her entire face.  As the school year progresses, Trent grows increasingly convinced that he is unlovable and worthless, and his behavior starts to escalate out of control.  But Fallon and a few understanding adults in his life refuse to give up on him, and he begins to understand that others around him are dealing with difficult emotions as well. Grades 4-7

Pros:  Mature elementary school students will find Trent’s story compelling.  All the characters are realistically drawn and sympathetic in their own individual ways.  Discussing this book could help readers understand that behavior is not always an accurate reflection of a person’s character, and that sometimes those who seem most unlikeable are the ones who need the most compassion.

Cons:  There’s a little PG language.

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