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We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

Lost Cause by John Wilson has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the one of the “Seven: The Series” books.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Seventeen-year-old Steve wants to travel overseas. He’s saved some money, but not nearly enough for the summer trip of his dreams. Then Steve’s grandfather dies and leaves a will with unexpected directives.

Steve, his twin brother, DJ, and each of their five cousins are given unique tasks to complete. Grandpa has left each boy an envelope containing instructions and the necessary financial resources. Steve is delighted to learn his grandfather arranged for him to visit Spain. Grandfather was a pilot during World War II. Steve learns Grandpa was part of the International Brigade, a movement to overthrow a fascist regime in Spain in the late 1930s. Knowing how Steve loves mysteries, Grandpa asks the boy to return to Barcelona and find a way to recapture a time in his life that was full of love, danger and intrigue.

Once in Spain, Steve follows Grandpa’s instructions. He meets Laia, the great-granddaughter of a woman named Maria whom Grandpa loved during his time there. Laia gives Steve an old suitcase. Steve has the key to it in his packet from Grandpa. The kids discover items from the 1930s inside, including Grandpa’s journal. Together, they read the journal and travel the countryside to visit the places that Grandpa wrote about.

Steve develops a new respect for Grandpa as he reads about the man’s passion for his cause and the horrors he endured in an ultimately failed effort to bring down the fascist rule. Steve also grows to care about Laia. He realizes Grandpa had no choice but to leave Maria, but that Steve can hold on to his relationship with Laia. Through this relationship, and by retracing Grandpa’s steps, he recaptures Grandpa’s precious time in Spain and accomplishes his task.

Christian Beliefs

Laia says she was named after St. Eulalia. The Romans demanded that St. Eulalia deny Christ, but she refused. The kids learn about thousands of babies stolen at birth and given to nuns for adoption.

Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

Grandpa leaves tasks for each of his grandsons, hoping to help them grow in courage and take joy in their adventures. Steve’s mom works hard while raising two boys in the aftermath of her husband’s death. She worries about them going to foreign countries alone but complies with Grandpa’s wishes. According to Laia, her parents are now divorced because they married too young.


The words d--n and h--- each appear a few times.

In his journal, Grandpa writes of battles, grenades, explosions, and many dead and wounded comrades. He also fears he has killed a man. While the battle references are disturbing, they are not described in bloody or gratuitous detail. Laia and Steve meet a man who recalls anarchists tying his aunt and others to a crucifix at her church and burning them to death.

The Romans torture St. Eulalia 13 times, once for each year of her age. The final torture was decapitation, and legend says a dove flew out of her severed neck. Laia tells Steve the Spanish are still finding mass graves.


Laia kisses Steve on the cheek. The kids request separate rooms while traveling and staying in hostels. Grandpa and Maria may have had a child together.

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

Political ideology: Communists and fascists fight the Spanish government for power during a volatile time in history.

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

9 to 15


John Wilson






Record Label



Orca Book Publishers


On Video

Year Published





We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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