Lost for Words

( 7 )

Overview

My New Year's resolution: I'm moving on from everything that's happened. I'm not going to talk about it, think about it, let the memory pounce upon me like a waiting tiger, nothing.

All Sophie wants to do is forget. But it's not easy now that everything's changed. The house feels too big, school drags on for too long, lights are too bright, the room spins, and her hands get sweaty for no reason. And she can't remember why she was ever best friends with Abigail, who is obsessed...

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Lost for Words

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Overview

My New Year's resolution: I'm moving on from everything that's happened. I'm not going to talk about it, think about it, let the memory pounce upon me like a waiting tiger, nothing.

All Sophie wants to do is forget. But it's not easy now that everything's changed. The house feels too big, school drags on for too long, lights are too bright, the room spins, and her hands get sweaty for no reason. And she can't remember why she was ever best friends with Abigail, who is obsessed with parties and boys. Only the new girl, Rosa-Leigh, with her prose poems and utter confidence, might understand. But talking to her seems impossible.

Lost in memories of the life she once had, Sophie retreats into herself. But there's only so long she can keep everything bottled up inside before she explodes. Maybe by confronting the tragedy of her past she'll figure out how to fix her future.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
After a traumatic summer during which her sister, Emily, was killed, shell-shocked 16-year-old Sophie returns to her London high school feeling increasingly removed from her best friend Abigail (who is hanging out with a more popular crowd and becoming alarmingly thin) and her mother (who has been dealing with Emily's death by isolating herself and collecting lost objects). Reflective Sophie reluctantly takes her therapist's advice and begins to write diary entries and poems, which make up the novel. She bonds with a new friend, Rosa-Leigh, and tries to function normally, but her anger, fear, and sadness resurface throughout. Adult author Kuipers's (Life on the Refrigerator Door) first YA novel delicately details the complexities of the grief process. Through Sophie's perceptive narration, readers get well-developed images of the many characters ("The older one had this twinkle in his expression like he knew stuff," is Sophie's impression of one of Rosa-Leigh's brothers), yet Sophie is a relative cipher. The circumstances of Emily's death--left a mystery for most of the book--have taken a toll on her that goes well beyond the loss of her sister. Ages 12–up. (May)
Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) (Starred Review)
“This novel is gorgeous, heart-ripping, important.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“The emotional portraits of Sophie and those around her ring true.”
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“The emotional portraits of Sophie and those around her ring true.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“The emotional portraits of Sophie and those around her ring true.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"The emotional portraits of Sophie and those around her ring true."
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Sophie, 16, begins her second semester of high school feeling isolated and out of sync with her fellow British classmates. After witnessing the death of her older sister in a train bombing, she finds school pointless, her mother useless, and her friends a waste of time. Sophie begins to skip classes and leave early from parties only to become absorbed in memories of Emily. She is helped by a new student from Canada, who challenges her to write poetry, read books, and attend poetry slams. Despite anxiety attacks and overwhelming feelings of guilt, Sophie eventually saves herself through her journal entries and her words. The entire book is a series of journal entries as the protagonist describes life without her sister. Kuipers allows readers to gauge Sophie's feelings through her innermost thoughts and reactions to daily events. The teen's vocabulary and diction make the novel an easy read, great for reluctant or struggling readers. Touching and realistic.—Mary-Brook J. Todd, The Ensworth School, Nashville, TN
Kirkus Reviews
Unable to deal with the tragedy that killed her sister, Emily, Sophie retreats into herself, refusing to talk about her grief. Her mother, drowning in her own pain, is unable to help Sophie heal. Sophie tries to navigate the confusing drama of high school while suffering through flashbacks, irrational emotional outbursts and panic attacks. Her therapist encourages her to write about her memories in a journal, which forms the narrative, but it is her new friend, Rosa-Leigh, who introduces her to the world of poetry. Through her poems and her frank discussions with her new friend, Sophie is able to start healing. British-born Kuipers takes the 2005 bombing in the London Tube as her springboard and artfully manages to make Sophie's tale achingly real and yet still hopeful. Her distinct, first-person voice and quirky details shine through the dark tragedy, giving familiar themes a fresh take. More than just a story of one girl, this is a look at a family trying to rebuild after their lives have been literally blown apart. (Fiction. 14 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061429224
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/11/2010
  • Pages: 210
  • Age range: 13 years
  • Lexile: HL650L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

ALICE KUIPERS is the bestselling, award-winning author of three previous novels, Life on the Refrigerator Door, The Worst Thing She Ever Did and 40 Things I Want To Tell You, and the picture book Violet and Victor Write The Best-Ever Bookworm Book. Her work has been published to critical acclaim in twenty-nine countries. She lives in Saskatoon. Find her here: www.alicekuipers.com

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Literary YA

    Sophie's keeping a diary as form of therapy to help her overcome her sister's tragic death. She makes entries about her daily life, her panic attacks, her disconnected friends and her grieving mother, and as she writes she discovers her own love for words.

    Some difficulties I had with the book came from the fact that Sophie's life is totally wrapped up in the post-traumatic stress of seeing her sister die in the London subway bombings, yet Sophie doesn't actually write anything about the circumstances of Emily's death until far, far into the novel. There was a reason for this withheld information, of course, because Sophie's so troubled that she refuses to think or write about the tragedy, but it made me less sympathetic to Sophie's pain, not even knowing exactly what it was she was grieving over. When the moment finally came, Emily's loss did feel raw and shocking, so the emotional chord was eventually struck.

    The author is English, as is the story, and the cultural details of the language are pleasant to read--I love comparing the subtle differences between American English and British English. I couldn't connect with Sophie as a main character, as she felt too distant to be fully embraced, the story does have a hopeful end. Fans of literary or serious fiction should enjoy it.

    Poetry bonus: Emily Dickinson quotes! "And then the windows failed, and then I could not see to see."

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 21, 2010

    http://readingangel002.blogspot.com

    This was a truly griping story of a young girl who is trying to deal with the unbearable grief of losing her sister. Sophie is completely devastated, and her therapist tells her to keep a journal, which is what this book is. Every day Sophie goes through life trying to forget the fact that her sister is dead. Her mother walks around in a daze and barely talks to her. It's been a year spent in a house that is completely quiet.

    Sophie's love for her sister was completely touching. I felt for her through every page, any little thing that reminded her of her sister brought a fresh wave of pain that was heart breaking. Sophie's best friend is pulling away from her and hanging out with other girls because she just doesn't know how to reach Sophie. Around this time, and new girl, Rosa-Leigh, shows up, and her and Sophie become fast friends. Rosa-Leigh was probably my favorite character in this story. She's from a huge family, and she's completely sympathetic to Sophie's pain, but she's also very blunt in telling her when she's acting like a snot to other people!

    My main complaint with this book is that the author didn't tell us what actually happened to Sophie's sister until almost the very end of the book. I think it was supposed to be a big dramatic reveal after all the little hints brought up throughout the book, but to me it just ended up being very frustrating.

    Overall, I was touched and invested in the story from beginning to end, and I definitely recommend it to all of you YA book lovers that enjoy an emotional tale!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2012

    Yo

    Yo this book is cheap like no mans buisness 100 something pages i bought the book and finished the same day i bought it what a waist if $10.00

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2011

    amazing

    this is an amazing book. thereis so much meaning an symbolizism behind ir. a great read. i love the explicit conversatioms because it reallh helps with the mood of the story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.com

    LOST FOR WORDS is the latest novel by Alice Kupiers.

    Told in diary format, LOST FOR WORDS is Sophie's attempt to forget what happened last summer.

    When I first picked up the book, I didn't know what the event was that Sophie alludes to at the beginning of the story. None of the synopsis I read had given any indication what Sophie was trying to run away from. But because I loved LIFE ON THE REFRIGERATOR DOOR so much, I wasn't that concerned about being in the dark from the first page.

    Ms. Kupiers unfolds the story at just the right pace to keep the reader anticipating what will happen next, while at the same time frustrating the reader to give you more details NOW!

    As the story unfolds, Sophie slowly reveals the events of the previous summer with her shoe laces, the train, her sister, Emily, and the aftermath. Her friends don't know how to reach Sophie, Sophie and her mother have a strained relationship, and Sophie herself is unwilling to open up to anyone, including her therapist. It's through her diary entries that the reader comes to know what's going on in her mind, and her inability to cope with what she experienced the previous summer.

    LOST FOR WORDS is a tragic novel, but deeply moving and relevant in these unstable times. Though the novel takes place in England, the events can and have happened in other places around the world. Once I started the book, I didn't want to put it down.

    If I have any negative comments on the story, it would be purely cosmetic. The book is also being published in Canada and the United Kingdom under the title of THE WORST THING SHE EVER DID. Not only does that title make more sense to the story, the cover artwork on that edition ties in much better. But that being said, Ms. Kupiers is definitely an author I'm going to keep an eye on. This is the second book by her that I consider a winner.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2014

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