Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Review: How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

How to Save a Life
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
Jill MacSweeney just wants everything to 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. You can't lose one family member and simply replace him with a new one, and when her mom decides to adopt a baby, that's exactly what it feels like she's trying to do. And that's decidedly not normal. With her world crumbling around her, can Jill come to embrace a new member of the family?
Mandy Kalinowski knows 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, she knows she wants a better life for her baby. But can giving up a child be as easy as it seems? And will she ever be able to find someone to care for her, too?
Publishes in US: Oct 18 2011
Source: Publisher for review
My Review:
   How to Save a Life is an emotional, character driven novel, that I found myself very much enjoying.
   The two main characters, Jill and Mandy are very different, from their backgrounds, their views on life, and their attitudes toward life. This book smashes them together under the weirdest of circumstances, and I slowly learned more about them and why they act the way they do. Ms. Zarr did a wonderful job making their voices distinct, and unlike some books with dual perspective, I had no problems switching from one to another and keeping the characters individual.
   I could identify pieces of myself in both characters, but I didn't fully relate with one or the other. Meaning that I didn't understand some of their trains of thought like I might if I just fully connected/related with one character. (Reading this it sounds like a negative thing, but its not... none of it is in the writing or characterization, I think that Ms. Zarr did a terrific job, I'm just trying to convey that I'm different from the characters--hope that makes sense.) I admire the strength in Mandy, and the self-realization and the courage in Jill--even if it's a very hard road for her and those around her as she comes back into herself.
   This is a very neat take on teen pregnancy, adoption, and even has an interesting love triangle twist. I was very surprised at how some things turned out, happy at others, even if I did expect it, and left wanting to know more about the characters and what happens next even after the last page... And I say that in a good way, I was attached to them, and did not want to let them go! I think that the plot lines were well tied up and I was satisfied with the ending, I just wanted to know more if that makes sense.
    I'd love to hear what you think of my review and/or the book!


  1. Aww, this book sounds like such a touching read! I'm a sucker for a good love triangle, especially one with a twist. Usually I'm more of a paranormal fan, but I think I might pick this one up!

    Awesome review, Brandi! I'm really glad you liked this one! :)

  2. I've been really into contemporaries lately especially ones like How to Save a Life. This book sounds like a great read and I'm glad that you enjoyed it. Now I must add it to my TBR list and hope I can borrow it from my school's library--or better yet buy it from the book store;)

    Great review and happy reading!

  3. Ooooo I love character driven novels, they're always my favorites! While I'm a little tired of love triangles, sometimes I think they're done really well and of course serve their purpose by emotionally confusing me and sucking me into the drama of it all:)

  4. Awesome review. I am definitely looking forward to reading this one. I don't know why, but stories of teen pregnancy really interest me. Maybe it's the whole kids-having-kids thing, having to grow up much too fast when they're not ready to fully leave childhood yet. But whatever it is, this one is already added to my TBR list.


  5. Hi!

    I've just finished PREGNANT PAUSE and have heard many good comments about HOW TO SAVE A LIFE. Thanks for your review, which makes me want to read the book even more!

  6. I thought the romance was rather fast too, but overall, I really enjoyed Virtuosity too! haha, I kept waiting to see if Jeremy would break my heart or not too... Great review,
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