Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Review: How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

Title: How to Save a Life
Author: Sara Zarr
Release Date: October 18, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher

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.
Review: This is my third book by Sara Zarr so I knew what I was going to get: an exceptional story with complex characters and an enjoyable read. That is exactly what I got with this book. How to Save a Life is an emotionally, sad book that deals with loss grief and love.

I really liked the plot of this novel. It’s told from the point of view of Jill, who is still grieving for her father (who died) and has shut everyone out of her life because she doesn’t know how she feels. Mandy, the other POV is a pregnant teen who doesn’t really know what she is doing but wants nothing but the best for her child. This novel is super emotional and sad and begins in a rather sad place but ends in a very bright and happy place.

I’ll admit it: I didn’t like Mandy at first which is why I didn’t automatically love this book. She was a really different character and I had a hard time connecting with her. She was more naive than I would have liked and it seemed to me that she didn't really understand or what to understand...anything. Jill, on the other had, was a really strong girl and she was grieving really hard for her dad and didn't really know how to act around people, often hurting them without meaning to. I really liked the love interests and I loved that one of them was Indian! Books should be more culturally diverse!

Overall, How to Save a Life was a book that dealt heavily on family relations, which was such a breath of fresh air. It's a story about loss and grief and moving on but realizing that you'd be surprised at where you find love and solace. Sara Zarr writes an amazing, emotional and heart filling novel. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!

Overall: 5/5
Cover Comments: 4.5/5—I'm on a little fence about this cover. While I LOVE the simplicity of it and all, I'm not sure who the girl is supposed to be? BUT it does bring the story's emotions out.

1 comment:

  1. I've only read Zarr's debut, but I thought it was brilliant and amazing and I went out and bought her two later releases. I've been watching this book too and it looks amazing as well and I SO need to just get reading! :P SO glad that you ended up loving this one!