Friday, October 28, 2011

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

How to Save a Life
RELEASE DATE: October 18th, 2011
PUBLISHER: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
AGE GROUP: Young Adult
PAGES: 341 


I've never read a Sara Zarr novel, but I'm glad this one got me started. Zarr writes with the same detail grabbing and lyrical imagery that writers like Sarah Ockler, Deb Caletti, and Sarah Dessen, but her story is touched by adventure and romance with an extra twist of 'real life.' 

How to Save a Life is told by the alternate voices Jill MacSweeney and Mandy Kalinowski who both are teenagers getting ready for life in adulthood. Jill has recently lost her dad; and she can't help thinking that her mother is trying to replace one family member with another when she decides to participate in an open adoption and bring another baby into the MacSweeney household. Mandy Kalinowski is pregnant, and running away from her abusive and negligent household in Omaha, she travels to Denver to stay with the MacSweeneys until her baby is born. But she can't help thinking; does she really want to give away her baby? And what if Mandy is actually the one who needs a mother? 

In storytelling that rings with clarity, Jill and Mandy bring together a story of heartwarming and scope and allow us to see what family really is. They are not your typical heroines-Jill is a girl who might have once been good and great, but has dipped into the dark side, bringing with her a collection of piercings and dyed hair, and Mandy isn't the smartest person in the world, nor does she tell the truth. But together, they learn how to change their worlds and their lives, and ultimately Save a Life.


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