Friday, March 2, 2012

Book Review: How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
Publisher: Little, Brown
Publication date: October 2011
Pages: 352
Source: Library
For: Fun (and cause I heard much raving about it)

Jill is trying to find a new normal after her father died, and she copes by pulling away from everyone she loves.  Until her mom decides to adopt a baby, probably in order to replace the missing part of their lives.  Mandy is pregnant and doesn't want to stay where she is with her mother who doesn't care, wants to give her child a better life.  When these two girls' lives intersect, can they find a way to get along?

Things I Liked:
This book felt so real.  I mean, I don't read a lot of realistic fiction, but this book reminded me of why it is so good.  The characters are flawed and struggling and reminded me so much of how I feel sometimes that it really drew me in.  The story is fascinating and difficult and makes you want to cry and rage against all that is wrong in the world.  But it is Jill and Mandy that keep you reading, keep you hopeful, keep you invested in the story.  At first, you think they are so different they will never get along, but as it progresses you begin to see things that are the same between them.  I just loved how slow and steady and real the development of their relationship felt.  A wonderful book that reminds us all how it is to learn to trust, to deal with grief, to do hard things.  Loved it!  Some of the lovely writing:
The hardest thing of all is loving my mom without him to show me how.  Loving, maybe, isn't the best way toput it.  Obviously, I love my mom.  Understanding, appreciating, showing kindness and compassion and basic friendliness toward - which, you know, are the things that express love, because otherwise it's just a word, right? - those are the challenges. p 4
It's the quiet kind of crying that can go for hours, when over and over again you try to stop, try to tell yourself it's going to be okay, but another part of yourself can't stop thinking about the thing that's breaking your heart. p 97
Things I Didn't Like:
You know, I'm not sure I could come up with something I didn't really like.  I guess maybe the ending felt a tiny bit too neat, but there didn't seem to be any other way to end it (that wouldn't make you gag).  Just fantastic.

Reminded me of Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr
A bit like Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly 

s-factor: !@# 

regularly throughout, and one f-bomb

mrg-factor: XX 
not explicit, but it definitely plays a part

v-factor: none 

Overall rating: ***** 

What was your favorite thing about this one?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. I've got this one bought and signed. Now if I could just get it read.

    1. Those ones always make me guilty. Still working on starting Inheritance. :)


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