The Luster of Lost Things by Sophie Chen Keller

The leaves are starting to turn on the trees here, and as much as my heart desires to prolong summer, Autumn is undeniably on its way. My daughter enters Kindergarten this Wednesday, and  my morning runs are starting to take on a slight chill to them. With the changing weather and season of life it has been the perfect time to curl up with something cozy and heartwarming, and The Luster of Lost Things by Sophie Chen Keller is just that sort of book. Easily a 5 Star novel (seriously, I didn’t even hesitate) this book is bound to be one of my top ten fall reads.

Twelve year old Walter Lavender Jr. finds things. His life revolves around The Lavenders, a magical sweet shop in Manhattan that connects people, but one that only appears to those that need it. Coping with a speech disorder, Walter quietly goes through life searching for connection, and his missing father. But his quiet haven is disrupted when the thing that matters to him the most disappears. Now Walter must go on an epic journey through New York City with an affable golden retriever sidekick in search for the Book that has infused The Lavenders with its magic, before the shop is lost for good.

The prose in this book is whimsical with a poetic touch. Keller’s words come to life and sweep you away into the magic corners of New York City and Central Park. Hints of magical realism give the story a nostalgic fairy tale feel, like your favorite children’s book left to age, and the lessons that Walter Lavender Jr learns along the way are sure to pull at any person’s heart.

Having lived in New York City for two years, I felt that Keller’s book did a good job at capturing the spirit of the city. Her descriptions of Manhattan drew me back to my runs in Central Park and rides on the subway to the point where it felt like it was yesterday. There were also some autobiographical underpinnings that the author explains in her video below, particularly in conjunction with Walter’s speech disorder and her own language barriers as a Chinese immigrant that gave the novel a personal touch.

If you are in need of a warm encouraging novel that restores your faith in the power of kindness and people,The Luster of Lost Things is the perfect thing to slip into your fall reading stack.

*Thank you to First to Read, Penguin, and author for providing me with a free copy in exchange for a honest review. All opinions stated here are my own.


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