Reviewed by Dawn Mirafuentes

By Sophie Chen Keller
336 pp. G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

Walter Lavender Jr. isn’t your average 12-year-old boy. He’s a vigilant and amicable son, one who willfully makes croissants for his mother’s enchanting dessert shop — The Lavenders. Although his communication disability confines him in his own bubble of imprisoned thoughts, he does have a definitive character hallmark: an uncanny ability to find lost things — with the exception of his lost father. So when the magical book at the core of the shop’s nebulous charm disappears, Walter’s carefully constructed world falters.

He sets off on an adventure, the epoch of his “finding”, and surreptitiously his overweight Golden Retriever Milton tags along. Together with intrepid faith and gut instinct, they brave the labyrinths of New York City, and along their fantasy-laced excursion they meet a string of odd and eccentric band of rogues and misfits. Consequently, Walter sees more than he ever expects to find.

The Luster of Lost Things is a poignant self-explorative odyssey viewed through the lens of the guileless, and self-effacing Walter Lavender Jr. The narrative strips off of your cynicism, and undresses the veils of your calculatedness. It upends readers to peel back the layers of human interaction, to peruse beyond the surface, and see a visceral reflection of ourselves in others.

Readers are in for a vividly euphoric treat, as The Lavenders dessert shop features a myriad of enchanting desserts ranging from fire-breathing marzipan dragons, to crawling vol-au-vent mice, to slices of olive oil cake and delectable madeleines, all seamlessly enticing your taste buds, trickling down to the crevices of your sweet tooth. Dreamy desserts aside, the book magically transports you to the nooks and crannies of New York City as well. So desserts, NYC, and a pudgy Golden Retriever, what’s not to like?

In addition to a moving narrative, Keller’s storytelling is a juxtapose of lexical rhythms and melodies, and her writing style boasts a wistful dreamlike expression. Quintessentially, a bed of prose blanketed in velvety soft poetry. Moreover, readers will find comfort and delight at how the storyline switches gears from realism to fantasy, and with such graceful nuance.

Ultimately, the narrative is a beautiful amulet for those who feel a little lost, yet in hopeful search for a sliver of luster, and aren’t we all?


The Luster of Lost Things by Sophie Chen Keller is available at Fully Booked Stores. To reserve a copy, email us at

Dawn is a former ICU nurse, but now runs a customized cakes and pastries business. She is into fitness, adventures and plant based eating. She has a dog named Penguin, and above all else, she’s still waiting for her Hogwarts letter. You can find her on Instagram @dawnmiraf.

[Thoughts and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fully Booked. Then again, we love our authors anyway.]

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