Tuesday, October 25, 2011

review: How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

pub date: October 18, 2011
publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
pages: 341
appeals: adoption, teen pregnancy, realistic fiction
content: swearing, sex though not descriptive, abuse

I love me this book. Love, love, love! Passionately.

The characters in this novel are so real and flawed and believable and whole and awesome. I loved them all.

I loved Jill and Mandy. Their perceptions of the world and how they dealt with crap was so believable. Their struggles and how they dealt with horrible stuff and how they grew. Their insights into their world were so great. They're like real people to me now. I was really pleased with where they ended up, too. I usually find Sara Zarr's endings a little...unsettling, but this one was fantastic. It was actually happy. All the secondary characters were just as amazing. All the little details and peronality quirks were so tangable. Jill's father was dead, and he was a solid character in this book as if he was sitting in the leather chair in their family room.

I feel like I'm just blabbering and not saying anything (but I guess that is what I do when I review). It's an amazing story of growth and love and acceptance and moving on. It's beautifully written. Once I started it I didn't want to put it down. I was at work and all I was thinking about was lunch so I could read more, and after lunch I was counting down the hours till I could go home and read more. And then when I did go home and finish the book, I just hugged it to my chest because I was sad it was over. (not really, but you know what I mean)
This is a must read book. Please read! You are totally missing out if you don't pick it up.

Jill MacSweeney just wants everything to 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. You can't lose one family member and simply replace him with a new one, and when her mom decides to adopt a baby, that's exactly what it feels like she's trying to do. And that's decidedly not normal. With her world crumbling around her, can Jill come to embrace a new member of the family?

Mandy Kalinowski knows 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, she knows she wants a better life for her baby. But can giving up a child be as easy as it seems? And will she ever be able to find someone to care for her, too?

Critically acclaimed author and National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr delivers a heart-wrenching story, told from dual perspectives, about what it means to be a family and the many roads we can take to become one.

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