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How to Save a Life, by Sara Zarr

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Okay, so I am completely NOT contemporary girl. I don't like books about issues. But man, Sara Zarr just gets me every single time. This book was just amazing. I think, me being me, that if I were in either position of these two girls (one pregnant, one whose father has died and whose mother is adopting the pregnant girl's baby), I would want to read escapist fantasy to take a break from my situation. But for someone who's NOT in this situation, I love it, because it makes me see into someone else's life, to be less judgmental of someone's poor decisions because maybe they really don't get how it all works, and to be aware that we're all learning from each other. That's the magic of the book, for me--that you never know who around you is watching you, trying to figure out why you have something that works, when they don't. We are all clueless in some things and we have it together in others, and I loved how the dual POV let you see that.We're both Jill and Mandy. You can break cycles if you watch someone and learn from them who knows how to do it better. And you can help others if you open up and share. Such an honest, heartfelt book--I hope it does save a lot of lives.
#1 - June 07, 2012, 07:17 PM


Books that do that are the very best types of books.  :reading2

*adds to her TBR tower*
#2 - June 07, 2012, 07:35 PM

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I really, really love Sara Zarr's books. I will read this one on your recommendation.  :)
#3 - June 07, 2012, 08:07 PM

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Having worked with teen girls for many years, it felt very real--like I could have met these two girls in real life somewhere.
#4 - June 07, 2012, 08:09 PM

We read this for a book club I'm in, and we all loved it... and had a wonderful discussion too.
I think Sara Zarr is amazing.
#5 - June 07, 2012, 08:09 PM

One of the things I loved most about this book (and there were several) was how alive EVERY character seemed. Mandy's mother never appears "in person" and yet she's a fully drawn character and her advice to her daughter as to how to navigate the world is crucial in developing the story.
#6 - June 08, 2012, 05:39 AM

I loved this book too! Sara Zarr is becoming one of my favorite authors and I don't
read much contemporary either.
The dual POV was so well done. She writes with such honesty and respect for her characters.
I can't wait till her next book.  :)
#7 - June 08, 2012, 07:43 AM

I am a contemporary, realistic fan (huge fan) and I love Sara's writing. I loved this book so much. Let me pile on my recommendation for How To Save A Life.
#8 - June 08, 2012, 08:48 AM

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I loved this one, too. Easily one of my favorites from last year. Sara Zarr is the best.
#9 - June 08, 2012, 10:33 AM

Okay. You've all convinced me. I'm putting it on my list as well. Thanks!
#10 - June 08, 2012, 12:44 PM
LOUD LULA, Two Lions 2015


LOVED this book. Can't wait to see what Sara does next! :hearts
#11 - July 16, 2012, 11:41 AM

Just finished reading this, my third Sara Zarr novel.  (The fourth is waiting in my library book bag.)  It was very well done and quite moving.  I found it interesting that the dual point of view let us in on each character's secrets, which, instead of spoiling the suspense of not knowing what's going on in these character's minds, actually added to the suspense of the plot, at least for me.  I kept wondering when Mandy would reveal (I won't say what) or when/if Jill would come clean about (again, I won't say what--read the book! :drum:)

I would love to read a sequel of this book, so Sara, if you're reading this, please consider picking up with these characters in a few years!  I want to know what they'll be doing down the road!  And thanks for writing another very real book that uses a light touch with some heavy themes.  Well done!
#12 - July 17, 2012, 08:11 PM


This was my first Sara Zarr novel, and I was completely blown away. Mandy in particular struck a chord with me. I read it in audio, and the two narraters were a perfect contrast to each other.
#13 - July 17, 2012, 09:19 PM


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