How to Save a Life: Book summary and reviews of How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

How to Save a Life

by Sara Zarr

How to Save a Life
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2011
    352 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Woven together from two simple threads, the resulting tapestry is as beautiful as it is real. A story that will resonate beyond its final page." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. Filled with so many frustrations, so many dilemmas needing reasonable solutions, and so much hope and faith in the midst of sadness, Zarr's novel is a rich tapestry of love and survival that will resonate with even the most cynical readers." - Booklist

"Starred Review. Zarr crafts intimate and authentic portraits of two vulnerable teens struggling to cope with uncertain futures...their slow, cautious efforts to build trust and better understand the meaning of family are expressed with the deepest compassion and kindness." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. The imperfection of the characters and the uniqueness of their situations come together in a compulsively readable novel. Zarr has established herself as an author who must not be missed." - VOYA

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Reader Reviews

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Lauren M,

Wonderful Read
I loved this book....Wonderfully written. Great story line that keeps you wanting for more! I didn't want it to end. I cried and laughed and fell in love with the characters! Highly recommend this book!

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Author Information

Sara Zarr Author Biography

Photo: Jeffrey Overstreet

Sara Zarr is the acclaimed author of five novels for young adults, most recently The Lucy Variations. Her sixth, a collaborative novel with Tara Altebrando, came out December 2013. She's a National Book Award finalist and two-time Utah Book Award winner. Her books have been variously named to annual best books lists of the American Library Association, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, the Guardian, the International Reading Association, the New York Public Library and Los Angeles Public Library, and have been translated into many languages. In 2010, she served as a judge for the National Book Award.

She has written essays and creative nonfiction for Image, Hunger Mountain online, and Response as well as for several anthologies, and has been a regular contributor ...

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Name Pronunciation
Sara Zarr: Sarah Zarr (rhymes with car)

Other books by Sara Zarr at BookBrowse
  • The Lucy Variations jacket
  • Once Was Lost jacket
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