How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

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Synopsis

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. 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.
 

About Sara Zarr

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Sara Zarr was raised in San Francisco, California, and now lives with her husband in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is the author of How to Save a Life, What We Lost, Sweethearts, and the National Book Award finalist Story of a Girl.
 
Published October 18, 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 353 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Parenting & Relationships. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for How to Save a Life

Kirkus Reviews

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Still reeling from the death of her father, 17-year-old Jill resents her mother’s plan to adopt a new baby.

Oct 18 2011 | Read Full Review of How to Save a Life

Examiner

Jill MacSweeney, a 17-year-old high school senior who is still reeling from her father’s unexpected death almost a year ago, has learned that her mother has decided to adopt the baby from an unwed teenage mother.

Jan 12 2012 | Read Full Review of How to Save a Life

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Teen Reads

Both Mandy and Jill start coming to terms with their past and the challenges of their present as the birth date draws nearer.

Dec 18 2011 | Read Full Review of How to Save a Life

Common Sense Media

Zarr creates some truly tender moments that will stay with teens long after they read this book, such as when Jill's mother tells Mandy the she will love her baby even if Mandy's mother's boyfriend turns out to be the father ("'Either way, this little girl is innocent, and I'm going to love her w...

Oct 18 2011 | Read Full Review of How to Save a Life

Deseret News

Sara Zarr's latest novel "How to Save a Life" is a story of finding family, and moving past grief and dealing with life's changes.

Oct 15 2011 | Read Full Review of How to Save a Life

We Love This Book

Sara Zarr captures both girls’ voices brilliantly and it is impossible not to be moved by their stories, yet she injects enough lightness and humour into the story so that it never becomes depressing or melodramatic.

Jan 09 2012 | Read Full Review of How to Save a Life

The Overflowing Library

Following her story was really interesting and actually a bit heart breaking at times because Mandy is barely more than a child herself and you feel for her especially when you learn about the way her mother has treated her in the past Another things I liked about this book was how the charac...

Sep 07 2012 | Read Full Review of How to Save a Life

WAPL Teens

Jill has lived a life of privilege, never really wanting for anything however with the sudden death of her father has fallen into a pattern where she pushes everyone away from her.

Dec 05 2011 | Read Full Review of How to Save a Life

Palatine Public Library

Two very different girls--17-year-old sarcastic Jill who is grieving the sudden death of her father, and sweet-as-sugar 18-year-old Mandy who becomes pregnant--are brought together when Jill's mother decides she wants to adopt Mandy's baby.

Mar 20 2012 | Read Full Review of How to Save a Life

CLP Teensburgh

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Jan 02 2012 | Read Full Review of How to Save a Life

Teen Voices

Have you ever read a book where you feel like you become one with the character every time you pick it up?

Jun 18 2012 | Read Full Review of How to Save a Life

Reader Rating for How to Save a Life
85%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 138 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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