Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Luster of Lost Things” as Want to Read:
The Luster of Lost Things
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Luster of Lost Things

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  1,019 Ratings  ·  290 Reviews
In this story for readers of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and A Man Called Ove, when all seems lost, he finds what matters most.

Walter Lavender Jr. is a master of finding. A wearer of high-tops. A maker of croissants. A son keeping vigil, twelve years counting.

But he wouldn’t be able to tell you. Silenced by his motor speech disorder, Walter’s life get
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 8th 2017 by G.P. Putnam's Sons (first published April 8th 2017)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Luster of Lost Things, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Luster of Lost Things

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
This is a beautiful story. I don't often feel that way when finishing a book, but this one has special meaning for me. This is the story of Walter Lavender, Jr., a 13-year old boy who has never met his namesake because he lost his father before he was born. His world is decidedly small, despite living in New York City, because he has a speech problem. He knows what he wants to say but struggles to say the words aloud. The more he becomes frustrated, the more his words sound like gibberish. He's ...more
Cindy Burnett
I love the positive vibes generated by this story. Walter Lavender Jr is a sweet, thoughtful kid who sets out on a mission to find a magical Book that has been taken from his mother’s bakery. The Book is responsible for creating magical desserts that keep Walter’s family bakery in business. I really enjoyed the first third of the story. Once Walter heads out on his adventure, the story really slowed down for me. However, overall I did enjoy The Luster of Lost Things. Thanks to NetGalley and G.P. ...more
Jenny Baker
Nov 19, 2017 rated it liked it
The Luster of Lost Things is one of my November selections for the Pick One For Me challenge with the group A Million More Pages.

This is a cute magical realism story with both touching and laugh out loud moments. It was a fun read, but I kept putting it down for some reason. There were a few boring moments, but then there were moments when the book kept my attention.

The narrator, Walter Lavender, Jr., is an intelligent boy who struggles to speak, and finds lost things, including the magical bo
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was glorious! Sweet, magical and very very special.

Journey with Walter and his dog Milton as they try and track down a missing book, the book that means success or failure for the bakery that is their entire world.

Along the way Walter must shake off the shackles that he has placed on his self, jump, step and dance out of his comfort zones and embrace the craziness of friends and acceptance.

Totally gorgeous. Was so sad when it ended, as it filled me with a soft glow, like a great hug, a fat
Barb (Boxermommyreads)
So I finally managed to finish "The Luster of Lost Things" yet I've put off this review because I think it's going to be a hard one to write. Prior to reading this book, I looked at a few other non-spoiler reviews and a lot of people mentioned liking the first part of the book, which has most of the magical realism elements in it, and feeling the second part, Walter's quest, dragged the book down. I feel pretty much exactly the opposite but what else is new?

Walter Lavender Jr. is a young boy who
The Lit Bitch
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When I got this book in the mail, the sweet dog on the over sitting with a little boy totally did me in. We all know how I feel about covers with animals on them…I’m a complete and utter sucker!

What a way to lure readers….so cute and charming was this cover. Plus I love the blue and gold accents. Basically this was an easy yes for a review based on the cover.

But the question for me was when can I work it in to my schedule? I was already pretty tight for early fall reviews so I had planned on Oct
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't think of another way to describe this book than cozy and warm. The writing wraps you up in a blanket and makes you crave freshly baked desserts and a friend to share them with. Loved this book and the characters in it, especially Walter Lavender Jr.
Amanda - Cover2CoverMom
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
You can read all of my reviews on my blog -> Cover2CoverMom

The Luster of Lost Things falls into the magic realism category.  Magic realism can be a very difficult genre to do in my opinion.  When done right, magic realism gives us a touch of magic, while still staying grounded in reality.   Far too often I have read a magic realism book that crosses the line from enchanting, to just plain weird.  ((I’m looking at you Little Nothing))  It really is a fine line.  I feel Keller did a good job o
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With a hint of magical realism, this sweet story follows 12 year old Walter as he searches for things, both physical and not.

Walter has a disorder where he has trouble speaking. His words get jumbled and he keeps to himself, his mother, and his mother's chocolate shop where chocolate mice jump rope with licorice, and other desserts do other magical things. He spends is spare time helping people find missing objects, from musical instruments to thimbles.

Then, one day, the book of drawings that
Emily  at Reaching While Rooted
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 ...more
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 rounding up. They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but I can, I knew instantly this book was for me. A sweeping story, magical, bittersweet, heart pattingly good. The beginning delighted me, full of food and whimsy, the adventure wanned a bit for me, meeting sad underground souls was heartbreaking. I am sure if you knew NYC this would be extra delightful. I thought it was a fanciful journey in life's lessons with delicious side dishes. I visited the authors webpage, she is beautiful ...more
Charlotte Miller
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs-2-read
The Luster of Lost Things by Sophie Chen Keller is a beautifully written, magical tale that should not be missed. Charming, sweet, and filled with wonder, this book is an absolute delight and highly recommended.

(Advance Reading Copy obtained by request from First To Read.)
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is likely me and not the book. It seemed well written but I never connected with the characters. I liked the magical realism aspect but the execution failed for me.
Danielle Steenrod
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was absolutely stunning, magical, and whimsical. I adored it! This is the story of a thirteen year old boy, Walter Lavender, Jr. He has a motor speech disorder. This disorder causes him to rarely speak out loud, for he is afraid of his words coming out jumbled and being made fun of for it. He keeps a notebook where he writes down all his perceptions of the world and the people around him. This book is not told by saying, rather than by perceiving. We see and notice everything Walter Jr ...more
Sarah Swann
3.5 stars This was an adorable book. I loved the magical elements in the bakery and how it literally came to life. I want to go there! When Walter when out on his adventure, those were the parts I didn't enjoy quite as much. Which I think is opposite how how I should have been feeling. But I loved Walter and his character development was great. Cute book!
Lolly K Dandeneau
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
via my blog:
“It’s strange,” he says, swallowing with difficulty, “to miss something you never had.”

There are times you need to read something uplifting, which is not to say that several characters don’t suffer or have sad stories to share. Walter Lavender Jr. is on a quest to save his mother’s enchanted West Village shop, The Lavenders. A special book that is the heart and magic of the place- bringing delicious desserts to life, has gone missing and now a n
I should have liked this more. The writing was beautiful, it had an interesting setup, the story was inventive, but I never felt engaged in the characters. I like whimsy, but "The Luster of Lost Things" was like trying to cure hunger with a meal consisting only of cotton candy.
Stacey Kennedy
Five magical stars for Sophie Chen Keller's The Luster For Lost Things !
This is a review of a NetGalley ARC

Twelve year old Walter Lavender Jr.'s world revolves around lost things. His father is lost after the plane he was flying went down at sea, his voice is lost due to a motor expressive aphasia and he is incredibly talented at finding others' lost things. Following her dream, his mom, Lucy, opened a bakery when he was a baby. The two struggled to get by until one night Lucy lets in a vagrant
Emily Polson
The Lust of Lost Things lost me pretty early on.

The beginning of this book hooked me--great title, lovely prose, and an interesting premise. Unfortunately, the plot quickly becomes a formulaic plodding forward with a few events and characters that required a little more suspension of disbelief than I was ready to give.

The book seemed to be trying to have the heartfelt, young-boy-with-a-missing-parent-on-a-mission plot of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, with the poetic prose of All the Light
Sep 27, 2017 rated it liked it
The beginning was fantastic. I personally found the ending a bit flat and did not live up to my expectations with how wonderful it started. Very anticlimactic.
Karen Mace
I found this to be an entrancing, magical read of a boy who finds meaning in the world by finding lost things. He suffers with a speech disorder which stops him from communicating with the world in the normal way, but his silent life allows him to listen and helps him witness more than the rest of us normally see. He lives with his mother in a bakery that they've turned into a magical world that is thriving, until the special copy of a book that came into their possession goes missing. Then thei ...more
Sue Shepherd
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub-w-w
A magical novel that keeps you enthralled till the last page.
Jul 10, 2017 marked it as print-in-book-too-small-for-my-eyes
I received this via Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review. All my opinions are my own.

Was enjoying but the print in the book is hurting my eyes:(
Shaz Goodwin
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Everyone underestimates 13 yo Walter Jnr’s understanding because of his silence (he has motor a motor speech disorder) and although this contributes to his bullying at school and his feelings of embarrassment, he sees it as a positive. It makes him free to observe and notice things that others don’t. As much as I loved this strength of character, I felt sad that as a witness to life, he wasn’t really participating in his own life and with so much to give …
Nikita Bala
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book filled me with joy and wonder and excitement and made me want to be kinder. It's really special and I heartily recommend it.
Oct 16, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Luster of Lost Things by Sophie Chen Keller is the story of Walter Lavender Jr, a 12 year old boy who has the knack of finding lost things. He lives with his mother who runs a bakery in New York City. The title implies that there is ‘luster’ in the lost things. There is not. I found the story dreadful and not magical at all. But worse than that, the book is depressing and dreary. Walter wanders the city looking for a magical book and finds the most lifeless and lackluster characters imaginab ...more
Sandy Harris
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
THE LUSTER OF LOST THINGS was magical in the first half but lost much of its luster in the second half with its predictable plot and slow pacing. It definitely was a struggle to finish the novel. While I did enjoy the imagery of the language and some of the quirky characters, I had a hard time with Walter Jr., the main character in the novel. His “voice” seemed inconsistent and was more distracting than enlightening. It just felt like a key ingredient was missing...
Thanks to Penguin First to Re
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall a delightful book. Nice to read a book with a "feel-good" ending. There were some things I didn't particularly like, but overall the parts I liked overshadowed these enough to make reading enjoyable.

Enjoyed the focus on the impact of stories in creating others ongoing stories. The story from the father with the emphasis on kindness was touching. "he realized that by showing a little kindness to the people he came across, he could make his life a little brighter and it would matter that h
Alisha Marie
I absolutely loved and adored the beginning of The Luster of Lost Things. An enchanting main character? A magical bakery with sweets that come to life? These are all things that I love. So, why 3 stars? Well the rest of this story wasn't as enchanting as the beginning.

The Good: Again, I loved the premise of the magical bakery and the writing was so evocative that I felt like I could taste all of those wonderful treats (seriously, though, the minute I'm done with this review, I'm going to the bak
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“There is no need to worry about becoming lost when the truth is, what’s lost is bound to be found, by the person who stays brave enough to open their eyes and see.”

Walter Lavender Jr. is such a relatable character in so many ways. The book is hard to read without something in there resonating with a feeling you’ve personally encountered. Everyone struggles to find their voice, both literally and figuratively, and their place in this world. Sometimes you feel like you don’t belong. This book wa
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Sophie Chen Keller is the author of The Luster of Lost Things. She was born in China and raised in Ohio and California. Her short fiction has won several awards and has appeared in publications such as Glimmer Train and Pedestal. After graduating from Harvard, she moved to New York City, where she currently resides with her husband and a not-so-secret cabinet of sweets.

Find Sophie online:
More about Sophie Chen Keller

Fiction Deals

  • Mercy Among the Children
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Darkness There: Selected Tales by Edgar Allan Poe [Kindle in Motion]
    $1.99 $0.99
  • An Empty Cup
    $3.99 $1.99
  • I Like You Just Fine When You're Not Around
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Abby's Journey
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Underground River
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Word Game
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Fraulein M.
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Sister of Mine
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Bury What We Cannot Take
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Chomp
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Searching for Grace Kelly
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Bricking It
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Fifth of March: A Story of the Boston Massacre (Great Episodes)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Starfish
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Thunder and Rain
    $9.99 $2.99
  • All Grown Up
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Light of Hidden Flowers
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Olive's Ocean
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Ecstasy
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Elephant Keeper's Daughter
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Virtues of Oxygen
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Home to Harmony (Harmony #1)
    $11.14 $1.99
  • Dog Crazy
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Towers of Tuscany
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Who We Were Before
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Reluctant Midwife (Hope River, #2)
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Sin No More (Reverend Curtis Black)
    $10.39 $1.99
  • The List
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Lost & Found
    $5.74 $1.99
  • A Watershed Year
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Savage
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Designer
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Novice: A Story of True Love
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Go Away Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Leaving of Things
    $4.49 $1.99
  • Train I Ride
    $6.99 $1.99
  • We'll Always Have Paris: Stories
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Hidden Flower
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Greyhound
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Lisette's List
    $11.99 $1.99
  • This Burns My Heart
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Journeys of Socrates
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Annie on My Mind
    $9.99 $1.20
  • An Absent Mind
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Book of Ruth
    $18.99 $1.99
  • Smoke
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Sisterhood of Blackberry Corner
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Covenant
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Digging In
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Confessions of Catherine de Medici
    $11.99 $12.99
  • The Traveling Vampire Show
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Long Way Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Going Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • In Between Days
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Girl in the Glass
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Super Sad True Love Story
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Prayers and Lies
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Go the F**k to Sleep
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Fat Chance
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Just a Couple of Days
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Boleyn Inheritance (The Tudor Court, #3)
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Girls from Corona del Mar
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Daughter of Union County
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Fighting Ground
    $6.49 $1.99
  • Embers
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Sugar Men
    $3.99 $1.99
  • You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down: Stories
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Last Storyteller: A Novel Of Ireland
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing
    $5.99 $1.99
  • A Dog's Purpose (A Dog's Purpose, #1)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Temple of My Familiar (The Color Purple Collection)
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Vengeance Road
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Ungifted
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Julie of the Wolves
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Mrs. Saint and the Defectives
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Stiltsville: A Novel
    $10.99 $1.99
  • To the Bright Edge of the World
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Patriots
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Flicker of Old Dreams
    $9.99 $1.99
  • All the Good Parts
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Food of Love
    $3.99 $1.99
  • So Long, See You Tomorrow
    $11.99 $2.99
  • A Scattered Life
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Every Ugly Word
    $3.99 $1.99
  • A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Desert God (Ancient Egypt, #5)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy (Bloody Jack, #1)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds (Malayan #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • An Amish Buggy Ride
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Old Yeller
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The Secret Healer (The Secret Healer #1)
    $3.49 $0.99
  • Elizabeth Street
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Gates of Rome (Emperor, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Unkillable Kitty O'Kane
    $4.99 $1.99
  • It Is Well
    $4.99 $1.99
  • A Sinful Calling (Reverend Curtis Black #13)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • On a Cold Dark Sea
    $4.99 $1.99
  • My Lady Viper (Tales from the Tudor Court #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Kings of Broken Things
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Edward Adrift
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Restaurant Critic's Wife
    $3.99 $1.99
“It can be hard to see the important parts of your own story. It helps when someone listens and can see those parts for you.” 1 likes
More quotes…