Monday, February 13, 2012

Kara, Lost by Susan Niz

Kara, Lost by Susan Niz

Kara is sixteen and she is a runaway living on the streets of Minneapolis.  Kara runs, partly because her family doesn't understand her. She turns to her older sister for help but she has a controlling boyfriend who won't let Kara stay there.  She has no choice but to try and make it on her own.  She doesn't have an ID of any kind, therefore getting a job or a place to live will prove difficult.

There are predators that prey on young vulnerable teens on the streets.  Kara is naive and isolated and that makes her vulnerable.  Kara is very trusting and yet has some street smarts as she is able to procure a job washing dishes and a small apartment in a really bad neighborhood.  She makes friends and dreams of returning to school so she can get off the streets.  She is lonely and unsure of herself.  Kara struggles to be self sufficient.

Kara's story is based on the author's real life experience as a runaway teen on the streets.  Kara, Lost is well-written and believable.  Reading the book reminding me of my own story as a runaway for one week, living in my car, which I parked in front of my boyfriends house.  It was January, bitter cold and my boyfriend's mother refused to let me sleep in the house.  I brushed my teeth and washed up at the local Perkins then drove to work or school.  I went back home.  Kara didn't.

The ending of the book was so powerful and scary, it seriously took my breath away.  No teen should have to endure the streets alone.  I couldn't sleep after reading the ending of the book and spent most of my night thinking about it.  Kara, Lost does not read as a typical Young Adult novel.  Susan Niz penned each word with precision and fore thought and what emerged is a gritty, raw novel that takes time to absorb.  Kara, Lost is not cheesecake, it is torte of magnificent proportions.

Note:  I am not sure why I used this analogy but it seriously works.  There aren't any cheesecakes or tortes mentioned in the book. But there are egg rolls.  LOL.

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