Last week, I did something I haven't done in a long time. I cheated. An editor friend recently hooked me up with a much-coveted advanced readers copy of Once Was Lost, the third novel by Sara Zarr, a writer who repeatedly blows me away with the emotional richness of her stories. But alas, as much as I've been waiting and waiting for that ARC, it came at the worst possible time. May has been a crazy-busy month. I totally did not have time to read anything that wasn't a manuscript. And yet I totally couldn't wait any longer and NOT read it. So I dove in. And...it was as great as I expected (isn't it wonderful when an author doesn't let you down as a reader, not even for a minute?). Rich, nuanced, totally human characters that I thoroughly believed in. Deep ideas about questions that don't have easy answers. Complex, REAL, confusingly muddled relationships and situations that made me ache. I think that's what I love about Zarr's writing--she writes thoughtfully about stories and characters that feel so very honest and alive.
But you're waiting for the confession, aren't you? So here it is. Once Was Lost is also totally full of suspense. And I had a limited amount of time, and really needed to be spending some of it sleeping, instead of reading past 2 a.m. So I skipped to the end to find out what happened. I've since finished it for real, and I don't think the reading experience was too scarred by my late-night, non-linear bout of weakness--in fact, I think I could even claim that it's a compliment to Sara Zarr that I HAD to know what happened before I could fall asleep. But, tell me I'm not the only one who sometimes does this? And, hey, guilt loves company--what's the last book that made *you* cheat?