Title: How to Safe a Life. Jill MacSweeney just wants everything to go back to normal. With her world crumbling around her, can Jill come to embrace a new member of the family? 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?
To Save a Life
And will she ever be able to find someone to care for her, too? Critically acclaimed author and National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr delivers a heart-wrenching story, told from dual perspectives, about what it means to be a family and the many roads we can take to become one.
I am always in the mood for a good ContempYA these days. Plus, there was this review. Jill and Mandy are the two narrators, as different from each other as the sun and the moon are yet both are equally suffering, struggling to find a place in the world.
Mandy is pregnant and wants a better life for her baby, a life she never had. Jill lost her father a few months back and he was her best friend and main supporter and they shared everything. Ever since then, Jill has been feeling like she lost herself somewhere in the past.
Common Sense says
All her relationships are strained: she turned her back to her friends; she can barely communicate with her boyfriend Dylan or with her mother, Robin. She is angry, defiant, grieving. At first it seems we know a lot more about Jill that we do about Mandy because she is very open in her aggression, in her distance from everybody she loves or cares for. Her narrative is full of suffocating grief, but also full of regret. It is hard not to sympathise with Jill, even when she is turning her back to love and tenderness, because she understands what she is missing, what she is doing and she feels for it.
But Jill is simply trying to find her way, whatever it takes. But that awkwardness, that lack of something becomes increasingly distressing when the story progresses and she reveals more of herself.
It felt like someone was squeezing my heart. How to Save a Life is a thing of beauty.
How to Save a Life
The writing is flawless because despite all this rawness and drama, the story never approaches the melodrama; the emotional state of each character is never cheapened by forced developments, instead feel real and natural.
As real as the characters became to me: I felt for them even when I disagreed with their actions. I felt for them every step of the way, from page one till the very end.
It is hard to express how good this novel is, down to every small detail.
Plus it also has a plethora of great well-developed secondary characters including two boys who are both lovely in different ways and even as they were part of a love triangle neither was turned into a villain to make the choice easier — because ultimately choosing between two people you care for is not easy.
The ending is perfect. It is basically ponies and rainbows and part of me thinks that it may well be too perfect.
But at that point, it was the ending that the characters needed. Heck, it was the ending that I needed, the ending I hoped they would get. Whatever is the utmost in awesomeness, whatever is profoundly good, whatever is right and true, is rock. No matter what. I want it to feel like fate, the way she ended up with Robin.
I want to be in her life like a good dream, like someone who might not always be there but who never really left. Her world should feel full of possibilities and open doors, not full of things that are closed and final.
Rating: 9- Damn Near Perfection.
And a serious contender for a spot on my top 10 this year. Ebook available for Kindle US , nook , kobo. Ana Grilo is a Brazilian who moved to the UK because of the weather.
No, seriously. Glad to know you liked this, Ana!
Sara Zarr is one of few young adult authors I can think of who can take a standard story and translate it into excellent fiction, mostly due to her incredible understanding of the teenage and adult mind. But I like and trust your reviews so I may pick this one up. Everything about that blurb caught my attention and your review just cinched it.
I had automatically disregarded this book just because it got that song stuck in my head but it has now been bumped VERY high on the TBR list. Mandy is a pregnant19 year old girl from Omaha, Nebraska who puts her baby girl up for adoption. But Jill learns to love her in the end.
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Review: How To Save A Life by Sara Zarr
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Learn how your comment data is processed. And How to Save a Life? Is totally rock. Contemporary Sara Zarr Young Adult.
By Ana. Biblibio October 12, at am Sara Zarr is one of few young adult authors I can think of who can take a standard story and translate it into excellent fiction, mostly due to her incredible understanding of the teenage and adult mind. I loved it to little tiny bits. Lori Strongin October 12, at am omg, that quote alone almost had me in tears.
To save a life book review
Thank you so much. The perfect ending? Yes, I shall be reading this. Karen October 12, at pm I had automatically disregarded this book just because it got that song stuck in my head but it has now been bumped VERY high on the TBR list. Liliana September 27, at pm who is the the baby dad.
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