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How To Save a Life by Sara Zarr

Tuesday, October 18, 2011
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?

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.

Goodreads Summary

The two main characters, Jill and Mandy, could not be any more different.  Jill is slightly too analytical while Mandy can be a bit of an airhead.  Jill has a loving mother and stable home while Mandy is traveling from place to place with no stable home or loving mother.  Jill has lost her father recently and still mourns while Mandy is about to give birth to new life.

This book has a character for everyone.  Between Ravi, Dylan, Mandy, and Jill the reader should be able to identify with at least one character.  Their feelings are raw and exposed, this book is full of them and they are very pronounced.  The reader is likely to get annoyed with all of the characters at some point in the story, but it takes a good writer to evoke any sort of reaction from the reader.  The events in this book range from fast-paced to everyday scenes lapsing into quiet reflections.  This book would be great for young adult/teen readers.

3 1/2 Stars

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