Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

In the rock-paper-scissors of life, love is rock.

As if Jill MacSweeney's life isn't complicated enough dealing with her grief from the unexpected death of her father, now her fifty-something mother wants to adopt a baby to fill the void left in her heart by her deceased husband. Jill's mom Robin decides to take the open adoption route and soon 18-year-old Mandy Kalinowski from Omaha, Nebraska is staying with them, ready to give up her baby to Robin in just a few weeks. Jill is less than thrilled, and she does very little to hide her disdain from her mother or from Mandy.

Told in alternating points-of-view between Jill and Mandy, readers find out very quickly that there is a great deal to dislike about both girls: Jill's iciness and tactlessness, and Mandy's frequent and numerous lies.

As the story progresses however, and the girls' stories begin to intertwine, both become more empathetic to the reader.

This is one of those books you end up liking more than you think you will. When I first started listening to the audio, I wasn't sure what to expect, but by the end, I found myself shedding some tears. Sara Zarr subtly and seamlessly finds a way to make you eke out a place in your heart for these characters you were certain you would continue to dislike throughout the entire novel.

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
Published: October 18, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown
Pages: 347
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Audience: Young Adult
Disclosure: Library Copy

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