Saving Lonesome Carsten

Young Adult - Social Issues
85 Pages
Reviewed on 02/22/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Saving Lonesome Carsten is a slice-of-life drama novel by Emily Stalder Johnson. After recently moving with her family to her new home, junior high schooler Kacey Harlow finds a kindred spirit when she meets Carsten Hayes, a shy kid who instantly opens up to Kacey. However, a couple of months later, Kacey notices Carsten seemed to be more withdrawn than ever. Kacey suspects Carsten to be having some issues at home. When she questions him about it, Carsten sounds defensive. She shares her suspicions with her parents, but they seem oblivious to Carsten's troubles at home. Meanwhile, a fall down the stairs leaves Carsten with a broken wrist. Kacey realizes that she may have to take drastic measures to free him from his abusive family.

A heartbreaking story about friendship, child neglect, and physical abuse, Saving Lonesome Carsten is emotional and, at times, even tragic, yet surprisingly poignant and full of warmth. Author Emily Stalder Johnson sheds light on the sensitive topic of child neglect and abuse and handles it with a sense of nuance, depth, and authenticity that makes the narrative all the more powerful and hard-hitting. The characters are two seventh-grade kids whose friendship lies at the center of the story. Kacey and Carsten are well-developed and likable personalities that you can't help rooting for. I thoroughly enjoyed their dynamic. The fact that Kacey goes out of her way to make sure of Carsten's safety speaks volumes about the strength of their friendship. Saving Lonesome Carsten is an enthralling slice-of-life drama that I recommend very highly.


5.0 out of 5 stars Touching
Reviewed in the United States on May 25, 2021
This is one of those stories that warms the heart. A tale of two friends, one helping the other when times turn rough.
Kacey is a brave young girl with a big heart, who happens to be friends with Carsten and notices something is off with him. Concerned, she pulls out the stops and proves she will go to the ends of the earth to help her friend in his time of need.
With a wonderful voice, the story unfolds in a way that is easy to connect to both characters. It highlights relevant topics of today, showing how easily abuse and inner turmoil can be hidden behind closed doors.
With our youth struggling to make sense of this world in all its disarray, this is a book I would recommend to any parent.

Amazon Customer

Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Teens should read this!
Reviewed in the United States on July 8, 2021
Verified Purchase
Emily Stalder Johnson captures the sometimes heartbreaking issues that teens face. The message I take from it is don't ignore suspected abuse, whether it's happening to a close friend or just an acquaintance. Well written with an important theme.