Google+ Reading Teen: How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr: Book Review

Monday, December 19, 2011

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr: Book Review

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (October 18, 2011)
Language: English
Buy the book: Amazon
Jill MacSweeny just wishes everything could go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she's been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends--everyone who wants to support her. And when her mom decides to adopt a baby, it feels like she's somehow trying to replace a lost family member with a new one.

Mandy Kalinowski understands what it's like to grow up unwanted--to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, one thing she's sure of is that she wants a better life for her baby. It's harder to be sure of herself. Will she ever find someone to care for her, too?

As their worlds change around them, Jill and Mandy must learn to both let go and hold on, and that nothing is as easy--or as difficult--as it seems.

Critically acclaimed author and National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr delivers a heart-wrenching story, told from dual perspectives, about the many roads that can lead us home.
I enjoyed this book very much.  In fact, I finished it in two days while visiting with my daughter and family because I wanted to know what was going to happen to these people.  The story is told in an alternating style between the two main characters.  Both are teenage girls, 18 and 17 years old, and bother are at major turning points in their lives.  The characters are written realistically and sympathetically.  Neither of them are perfect and neither of them are villains.  They are young women with their own strengths and weaknesses who meet each other at a pivitol time in each of their lives.

While the problems the girls face are completely different, both are living life from a place of fear and a lack of trust.  Both have learned that life can throw unexpected obstacles in your path and you don't always know how to deal with them.  One of the things I liked most about the book, however, was that there was always a feeling of hope for better things to come.  I liked the people in this book and had hope throughout my reading that a good outcome awaited them.  I was not disappointed.

Book Doppelgangers:  I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg-Sloan, Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
Sexual Content:  Heavy
Profanity:  Heavy
Violence:  (a girl is sexually molested by her mother's boyfriend)\
For more details, check out How to Save a Live on Parental Book Reviews.

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