How to Save a Life
By Sara Zarr
Oct. 18, 2011
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 352 pages
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.
Critically acclaimed author and National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr delivers a heart-wrenching story, told from dual perspectives, about the many roads that can lead us home.
— Amazon.com description
I can’t stop thinking about this book. And that actually shocks me. Because it’s about teen pregnancy. Which I don’t like to read about. Which is why it took me months to read it after I picked it up at BookExpo America earlier this year.
But here’s the thing, it’s also by Sara Zarr. The woman who brought me Cameron Quick and one of my favorite book covers of all time (Sweethearts). So why did I ever doubt her?
No clue. I’m such a fool. Instead of being preachy and all made-for-TV-movie-ish, this book is equal parts serious and swoony. And it’s more than just a book about a kid who got knocked up. It’s also about death and hope and BOYS and family.
Jill and Mandy, our narrators, did piss me off sometimes. But in a good way in which I’m like “Wow, I think this book is challenging my emotions and thought processes. Sneaky Sara Zarr!”
But, okay, honesty moment: One of the real reasons I can’t stop thinking about it is because Sara Zarr has created a boy who, in my opinion, seriously gives Cameron Quick a run for his money. SERIOUSLY I LOVE HIM.
I’ll let you figure out who he is for yourself because that’s part of the fun of the book, but seriously, don’t make the same mistake I did — read this book STAT. It’s a keeper.