How To Save A Life

Paperback | October 30, 2012

bySARA ZARR

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Jill MacSweenyjust 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 Kalinowskiunderstands 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.

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From the Publisher

Jill MacSweenyjust 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 Kalinowskiunders...

Sara Zarr was raised in San Francisco, California. She is the author ofHow to Save a Life,What We Lost,Sweethearts, and the National Book Award finalistStory of a Girl. She is also the coauthor ofRoomies, with Tara Altebrando.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1 inPublished:October 30, 2012Publisher:Little, Brown Books for Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0316036056

ISBN - 13:9780316036054

Customer Reviews of How To Save A Life

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from how to save a life Sara Zarr nailed both perspectives of the two characters perfectly. Could not put this book down at all. Amazing.
Date published: 2016-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Wondrous Coming of Age Story Sara Zarr's How to Save a Life is an incredible story about perspective. It depicts the lives of two severely different girls who share one simple connection that brings them both together in unforeseen ways - a baby. Jill, one of the protagonists, still mourns the loss of her father, who passed away only a short six months ago, and because of this has been drawing herself slowly out of the lives of everyone she knows and loves. However, when her mother brings the news that she will be adopting a baby into the family, this brings Jill into a complete fit of shock, bewilderment and immense disagreement. Enter Mandy, our second protagonist, who is a young pregnant woman with no other choice but to give up her child for adoption. A Wondrous Coming of Age Story I've never thought anything of Sara Zarr other then how wonderful a writer she truly is. Sara Zarr has proven time after time how talented she is at conjuring up an emotionally riveting tale that keeps you entranced with it's gruesome yet life learning moments right through the end. With her latest novel, How to Save a Life, she doesn't deliver anything less then her best. Zarr's protagonists, Jill and Mandy, were both exceptionally easy for me to connect with. Jill was a stubborn girl with a one track mind, very different from Mandy who was real, well behaved and focused. The two girls were a wonderful contrast to each other, which was beautifully displayed between their dual point of views that steadied the pace of the novel into something easily digestible, though admittedly at times I found that the novel's events progressed a bit too slowly. Despite How to Save a Life's slow progression and pace, I found myself really enjoying the in depth detail that Sara Zarr presented, giving the reader a wonderful view of both character's pasts and emotions. More then that, though, I was truly surprised at how the novel wrapped up in the end. It wasn't what I was expecting at all, and I thought the way Sara Zarr left it was just about perfect. Talk about keeping a reader on their toes, wow! Sara Zarr's How to Save a Life is unlike any other coming of age story you've read before. It's powerful, emotional, detailed, and exciting - you'll want to dive into it again just to meet her wonderful characters all over again.
Date published: 2011-11-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Emotionally-Charged Contemporary Novel! How to Save a Life marks the first time I've ever read a novel by Sara Zarr, but it most certainly won't be the last after reading her latest release! It's a coming-of-age story filled with hope and overcoming grief, but it also places value on the bonds and love that tie a family together. Sara Zarr has truly written a wonderfully compelling novel! I'll admit, I have a tendency to shy away from stories involving pregnancies, but there was something so emotionally-charged about How to Save a Life that I found myself immediately drawn in and curious to learn more. Jill and Mandy are two completely opposite girls... and their outlooks on life are so very different from each other. It offered a wonderful contrasting view on how Mandy's unborn child would forever change both of their lives. For Mandy, it's a chance to give her child the happy childhood she always wanted... and for Jill, she sees it as her mother trying to replace her beloved father who passed away almost a year ago. Mandy is a well-intentioned, if not naive, girl who's trying to do the right thing for everyone... even if that means her future beyond giving birth is still uncertain. Despite having a negligent mother who dismissed her worth, there's a certain sweetness to Mandy that I'm glad never hardened. And then there's Jill, who's angry and bitter that her father could be taken away so soon. For months, she's been pushing everyone away, including her boyfriend and friends, unable to face their consolations... and she doesn't see how her mother adopting a baby is going to solve anything. Not when it isn't going to bring her father back. You would think that with alternating viewpoints, it may have been difficult to get into the story... but Sara Zarr made it so easy to slip right into both of their emotions. If you're looking for a strong, character-driven contemporary novel that will touch your heart, then I'm sure How to Save a Life may just be a perfect novel to read next. The ending may have been pieced together a little too conveniently... but then again, I don't think I would have wanted it any other way. There's nothing more satisfying in a novel than seeing characters you care about finding the happiness they deserve. You can also read this review at: http://midnightbloomreads.blogspot.com/2011/10/how-to-save-life-by-sara-zarr.html
Date published: 2011-10-20

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Editorial Reviews

* "Another heavy-hitting page-turner from Zarr....A must read."
-School Library Journal (starred review)