cover image All the Lost Things

All the Lost Things

Michelle Sacks. Little, Brown, $27 (288p) ISBN 978-0-31647-545-7

Sacks (You Were Made for This) delivers another gripping domestic tale, but doesn’t quite pull off the challenging task of telling it from the point of view of seven-year-old Dolly Rust, whose father suddenly takes her on a life-changing road trip. From the moment their so-called “adventure” begins, a sense of foreboding permeates; as they get farther from their New York home, Dolly’s constant companion, a toy horse named Clemestra, becomes less of a comfort and more of a purveyor of uncomfortable truths as she begins speaking to Dolly. For Dolly, there’s joy in doing something so unexpected and fun, staying in a nice motel, eating junk food and having her father to herself. But her dad starts acting angry and frustrated, gets drunk, and they stay in seedier and scarier places as they head farther south and off the beaten path. Using such a young narrator becomes tedious as Dolly continually makes observations in capital letters, which are sometimes beyond her years and other times too childish. Unfortunately, the dénouement and the quick resolution comes off as pat and unsatisfying. Still, the author is adept at generating tension and showing the inevitability of the past (and the law) catching up, making this a passable family suspense novel. (June)