How To Save A Life (October). She's one of my favorite authors. When I open one of her books, I know I'm always gong to read about a hard-hitting issue in a very realistic, responsible, and sensitive way. And she really hit it out of the ballpark with this one.
The narrators are teenage girls from very different places who have one thing in common--they're in a lot of pain.
Jill MacSweeney is still reeling from the sudden death of her father. She's alienated herself from her friends and boyfriend. She isn't really sure who she is anymore. And all she really wants is for things to go back to the way they were before.
Mandy Kalinowski has never felt loved or wanted by anyone, especially her mother, who cares more about booze, unstable boyfriends and superficial things. When she finds out she's pregnant, Mandy knows she doesn't want her child to grow up the way she did.
Their worlds collide when Jill's mom decides she wants to adopt a baby, and Mandy answers her online ad.
Soon, Mandy is living in Jill's house, bonding with her mom, preparing for the baby, and getting on Jill's nerves. She doesn't trust Mandy. And she thinks her mom is trying to replace her dad with this new baby.
What unfolds is an oftentimes heartbreaking story of love, healing, and unexpected family.
As with all of Sara Zarr's books, I took my time reading. I cared so much about the characters that I didn't want to rush the story. I wanted to absorb every moment and feeling. When I read the last page, I hugged the book to my chest, sad to say goodbye to Jill and Mandy but smiling at how much they'd grown and everything they had to look forward to.
Brilliant writing, raw emotions, flawed (but likeable) characters, an all too real plot, and a ray of hope in the midst of sadness, make How To Save A Life one of Sara Zarr's best books yet.
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