Thursday, November 17, 2011

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

Title: How to Save a Life
Author: Sara Zarr
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers
Acquired: Received free for an honest review
Age Group: Young Adult
Grade: 88% or B+
Buy It: Amazon

Jill MacSweeny just wishes everything could 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. And when her mom decides to adopt a baby, it feels like she's somehow trying to replace a lost family member with a new one.

Mandy Kalinowski understands 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, one thing she's sure of is that she wants a better life for her baby. It's harder to be sure of herself. Will she ever find someone to care for her, too?

As their worlds change around them, Jill and Mandy must learn to both let go and hold on, and that nothing is as easy—or as difficult—as it seems.

My Thoughts::
I don't normally read books like this. I mostly aim for the unbelievable and extraordinary circumstances of dystopians, disasters, and the paranormal. But a couple of years ago, this kind of book was my favorite, so I decided to delve into one again to see how it is.

Throughout the book I greatly preferred one character, and point of view, greater. The girls viewed each other so differently than who they really were, it was surprising. I easily got annoyed at Jill for how she judged Mandy and how relentless and stubborn she was even when it was obvious that she was wrong. I also got annoyed at Mandy because she sounded very preachy at times, as if she knew the answers to everything. Mandy's character bothered me the most, but she also influenced and impacted me the most.

The reason why I don't read this kind of book a lot anymore, is because I enjoy a lot of action, suspense, and mystery while reading. Surprisingly, I had some of this with this novel. But instead of it all being outward, the suspense and mystery were about the characters and their feelings. Because of this I wasn't bored. I had to work and pay attention to really get to know the characters, they weren't shallow and transparent like I've encountered before. Several characters in this novel developed and changed by the time I finished and by then I liked them all.

This book made me think about how I judge people when I first meet them. Just like Jill judged Mandy without knowing anything about her background or the things that she went through. You can't pass judgements on people before you know them. I also thought about how hard it would be to become a teen mother, or have a parent pass away.

Overall I think that How to Save a Life was an interesting read that wasn't afraid to address some serious issues such as death and teen pregnancy. I'd recommend this book to Sarah Dessen fans or just those who like novels that have some twists and turn which we often see in life.

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