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Story of a Girl

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  14,670 Ratings  ·  1,552 Reviews
When she is caught in the backseat of a car with her older brother's best friend--Deanna Lambert's teenage life is changed forever. Struggling to overcome the lasting repercussions and the stifling role of "school slut," she longs to escape a life defined by her past. With subtle grace, complicated wisdom and striking emotion, Story of a Girl reminds us of our human capaci ...more
ebook, 192 pages
Published March 1st 2008 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published January 10th 2007)
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Jun 12, 2012 Tatiana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: Ariel, Annalisa
Update 6/12/12 I think it's even better upon reread. Adding a star

Some books are written about lovable characters who you admire and cheer for. Some are written about flawed characters like Deanna, and the author's purpose in such cases is to make us, readers, not to love, but maybe understand them.

I realize why Story of a Girl received such mixed reviews. Not every reader cares to get to know someone like Deanna. She is a loser, she is a bad friend, she is a slut, right? It is so much easier t
4.5 stars

I know full well how dramatic this is going to sound, but this book broke my heart. Not violently, or loudly, with a single devastating blow; but quietly and slowly, taking it apart piece by painful piece. Whatever emotional sandbagging I’d done in the intervening years proved a poor defence, and in just 192 pages Sara Zarr’s excruciating story had brought me right back to being sixteen again, vulnerable and raw with self-loathing.

What strikes me most Sara Zarr’s writing, and Story of
Emily May
Mar 30, 2012 Emily May rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emily May by: Catie

3.5 stars.

I've taken quite a few lessons from this book and a couple of fellow GR members; basically, I didn't know how strong puritanical attitudes still are in the United States... or, at least, I didn't realise they are quite so widespread even today. I associated them with small communities that share a very conservative/religious attitude and never imagined these attitudes towards sex to be typical of just your average American town. Well, we learn something new everyday...

That aside, I fo
Aug 17, 2012 Keertana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Sara Zarr is a name that crosses every well-read reader’s lips at some point – every well-read reader, that is, except me. Thus, when I saw Zarr’s Story of a Girl sitting quite alone on the shelves of my library, I just knew I had to pick it up; I certainly haven’t regretted my choice. While this was one of the quickest novels I’ve read lately, it packed a whole lot of punch, heart-wrenching scenes, and true character connection in such a short amount of pages. It was provoca
Sep 07, 2011 Catie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is why I can’t read Sara Zarr very often. A few years ago, I listened to Sweethearts and I was absolutely wrecked for days. Wrecked. This book is short, but I believe I experienced my brain’s complete range of emotions in those four hours. And I’m home alone for a bit now, so I was free to pace about my living room, gesturing like a maniac and shouting things like, “No Deanna! NOOO!” and “Oh no you don’t, sir!” and “YES. It’s about fucking time you stood up for her.”

Deanna is a good student
Hay algo muy especifico y grave de este libro que fue un gran nononono para mi, creo que es algo muy personal y no creo que la autora lo haya hecho a propósito, pero es algo que hoy en día no se debe dejar pasar y es uno de los grandes problemas de nuestra "rape-culture". Esto no es una buena manera de mostrar consentimiento en una relación sexual, esto no es un buen ejemplo.
Reseña completa (y rant) en Gracias a los Libros
Jul 13, 2011 Limonessa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-lit
Abandon all hope -Ye who enter here.

This is what I wanted to inscribe on a plate and stick on the front page of the book as I was reading the first half.
Have you read my profile description? Well, I state that I read only what relaxes me. This book is NOT relaxing. It's depressing. At least for the first part. So if you are all about flowers and puppies, happy thoughts and happily ever afters, I warn you that this book will not make you feel better.

Deanna is 16 lives in the blue-collar town of
Crystal Starr Light
Bullet Review:

I'm VERY impressed. Finally, a YA novel I don't want to choke myself after reading.

Some may find the conclusion boring or unimpressive or pedestrian, but I thought it genius and inspired and indicative of real life. Sometimes things get wrapped up (or at least set back on a good track) by a few simple words rather than some cataclysmic battle.

Highly recommended to mature teens.

Don't slut-shame.

Full Review:

Deanna Lambert has kinda a sh!tty life. She got caught having sex with Tommy
We all went to highschool with that girl. You know, the slutty one. Maybe she had sex with her boyfriend in the band room after school. Or with multiple guys in the alley behind the grocery store. Or gave head to a member of the soccer team during a party. Or maybe she didn't? But whether she did or not doesn't really matter. Because these sexual gossip stories and labels are how she will be defined by her peers.

The Story of a Girl is the story of Deanna Lambert, a girl who was discovered to be
Paige Finley
A Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr

I read the book A Story of the Girl by Sara Zarr. This book is crazy. It’s about a girl name Deanna who is claimed to be the biggest skank at her school because her brothers “supposedly’’ Best friend took advantage of her, but as a 13 year old girl she never told Tommy to stop because she said “he made her feel good”. And it “made her feel like she mattered to him”. But that night when her dad found her and Tommy in his truck nothing was the same. Tommy went to scho
Jul 11, 2012 Isamlq rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-favorites
what would have been a thirty minute coffee break this morning morphed into two hours of me ordering one round after another, all because i didn't want this to end. i might have gotten couple side glances too, with maybe imaginary word bubbles of 'what's bugging you and why the clenched jaw?' directed my way.

and how could i not clench my jaws?how could i not breathe deep? really, how could i not when this story of this girl had both angry me and sad me riled up! the only time i wanted to make a
Dec 14, 2007 Courtney rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-lit
Some of the book reminded me of living in a small town where you can’t avoid people you dated years ago, have co-workers who are not your friends, think people were friends when they were drug buddies, where there aren’t many options for employment, and everyone is kinda hanging around after school (although in my situation it was college and not high school that brought this stagnation). There is honesty that combats rumors, there are shunnings that hurt years later and there are questions abou ...more
Apr 26, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

Confession #1: I have a little bit of an Author Crush on Sara Zarr. For me, Zarr's writing style is what I think of when I think 'quality contemporary YA'. It epitomises the kind of style I want in my own writing. (Well, somewhere between Zarr and Marchetta would be nice. And a Ferrari, too, please.) In YA circles she has, as they say, clout. And I just want to be her. Or at least follow her around and watch her write and hope some of her amazingness rubs off on me. Alas, all I can do i
Dear Sara Zarr,

How could you narrate the audiobooks of Story of a Girl, Once Was Lost, and Sweethearts and then NOT narrate How to Save a Life? Don't you have any respect for the "people" who get addicted to hearing you read your own books? I think you should consider the very real possibility that you are evil.


People is in quotation marks because I'm assuming from the level of my outrage that there must be other people out there. For now, though, it's just me. Story of a Girl
Jun 24, 2012 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some books come into my life at a time when I truly get them, when they speak to me as if they're a dear friend reminding me of what truly matters in my life.

Sara Zarr's Story of a Girl is one of those books. It could have been titled Every Person's Story, as there are huge chunks of truth undeniably common to many.

Family, an elusive word. What does it mean to be a family? To be a gear in the mechanism that pushes forward to run and grind endlessly? Sure, being a cog in the mechanism can be pain
Sara Zarr hit the nail on the head with her novel, Story of a Girl. In fact, I finally grabbed a pen and wrote down citations of things that kept striking a chord with me, totalling 29 paragraphs, bits of insights and places where she conveyed most perfectly the character and what it's like to be in that situation.

Ms. Zarr deftly created the environment that would absolutely contribute to each of Deanna's struggles: small town gossips, depressed and absentee parents, teenage impulsiveness, recre
May 08, 2016 Tez rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
CONTENT WARNING: Slut-shaming is a major theme here, told from the POV of the victim.

This is the second book in a row I've read that features a heroine in love with her male best friend who's in a relationship with their other female best friend. Weird coincidence. (Or is this common in YA?)

Sara Zarr has crafted an uncomfortable novel of the less-than-ideal situations that strike families and alter their relationships. Parents laid off from their long-time jobs. Older brother's girlfriend falls
Feb 09, 2012 Alyssa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nasty, nasty name-callers and slut-shamers who care to be educated.
Recommended to Alyssa by: Catie
I came home today to hear that two girls – both who go to school with my sister, who are a year younger than I, and who I’ve never had a full-out conversation with – have called me a slut. Last week, I came home and heard the same thing. Last year, my own boyfriend called me such, in so many words. I’m left to ponder why I’ve been called such a derogatory term; is it because I have had lots of male friends? Is it because I like to wear tight clothing on my skinny days and sometimes wear a lot of ...more
Dec 29, 2007 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teen girls
Like her older brother Darren, Deanna is a big disappointment to her father. When in 8th grade Deanna's father caught her with a high school boy in his car. Nothing has been right since. She dreams of moving out with Darren, his girlfriend and their baby and she hopes to help pay for a move with the earnings from her summer job in a pizzeria. She never thought she'd run into Tommy again, but he to works at the pizzeria and is bent on harassing her. Deanna has a lot of issues to work out and she' ...more
Jan 13, 2011 Cory rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My feelings on this book are mixed. On the one hand, I really enjoyed it. It's probably up there with John Green. It tackles some difficult issues and it does it without seeming melodramatic. But on the other hand, a few characters are underdeveloped and I could do without the poems/vignettes Deanna wrote at the beginning of some of the chapters.

Story of a Girl follows sixteen-year-old Deanna who has a reputation for being the town slut. However, Deanna has only been with one guy, Tommy, her br
If I wasn't reading this book for a reading challenge, I doubt I would have finished it. I think the mark of a truly bad book is one that you don't even remember after a day. This is one of those books.

I had prepared myself for not liking the protagonist; I knew from the book summary that she wasn't a golden girl, and that she had made some mistakes. This isn't so much a problem to me as her personality and the way she talked about her life. The whole book seemed to be "I could have done this li
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Amber Gibson for

Have you ever done something that you wish you could take back? Something that changed your life forever?

We've all been there. We've all done something that we regret. Just like all of us, Deanna was once caught doing something that she wasn't proud of. Unfortunately for her, it almost ruined her teen years. Just one dumb relationship, sprinkled with naiveté and trust, and suddenly Deanna finds herself with the vulgar label of the school slut. It was
Dec 05, 2012 Regina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
God I loved this book. I stumbled on this book by looking at a friend's (Catie's) profile page and seeing that this book was listed as one of her favorites. Well, I can never go wrong with reading one of Catie's favorites. The topic that this story addresses is very sensitive, very personal and done very well. (very very very).

Deanna is taken advantage of by her older brother's friend when she is only in middle school. Her parents know about it, everyone at school knows about it and as a result
Stephanie A.
This book promised to "throw a sharp right hook at the assumptions people make about girls who have sex early." I highly doubted that, since the girl was 13 in the flashbacks and the opening sentences told me it was a deliberate decision on her part, but I pretended to give it a shot. Unfortunately, the book was also very careful to make sure and show me how she had no good reason for having sex early other than being the sort of idiot I despised in my peers when I was that age.

My problem is tha

"This is the last time, the girl thought, that she would remember these things.
If they floated back to her again, she would paddle away.
When the remembering was done, the forgetting could begin."

Story of a Girl is, simply put, the story of a girl, who is flawed, misunderstood and taken for granted, thanks to a promiscuous reputation which she herself helped create. There aren’t many things about Deanna Lambert that are likeable, but that’s okay, because you still understand her.

I’ll be honest
This book was so good it made me cry. When she was thirteen, Deanna's father caught her having sex with a senior in the backseat of a car. Two years later, it's still the biggest story in the small town of Pacifica, where everyone knows everyone else's business. Her reputation has been trashed at every angle since then, embarrassing her and her family. Deanna has to deal with overcoming her past, clearing up the muddled relationships she has with her friends and family, and asserting the person ...more
Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr is set in the small town of Pacifica, California. Deanna Lambert is seventeen years old and lives at home with her parents, her older brother, Darren, his girlfriend, Stacy, and their baby girl. At the age of thirteen Deanna's father caught her in the back seat of Tommy Webber's truck. Since then her father hasn't been able to look her in the eye, choosing instead to ignore her or talk about her like she doesn't exist. To make things worse, Tommy went to school and t ...more
Jun 14, 2012 Dominique rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dominique by: positive reviews
Shelves: did-not-finish
Teen sex and bullying happens a lot.
Years ago, when I saw this book in the school library and read a bit of the description, I was pretty annoyed with the subject. Years later, now that I was more aware of how teen sex and taunting can affect people, I decided to give it a chance. Unfortunatley, it wasn't what I expected.

A 13-year-old and a 17-year-old? Are you kidding me? Stoned? Not even having any affections with each other, whatsoever?! Most teen sex stories I've read from actual teenagers h
Jul 01, 2008 Marisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: problem novel girls
Recommended to Marisa by: Carol and others
So, I usually don't read books in one sitting, but that's exactly what I did with this one over the weekend. The first page of the book sums up the plot much better than I ever could:

"I was thirteen when my dad caught me with Tommy Webber in the back of Tommy's Buick, parked next to the old Chart House down in Montara at eleven o'clock on a Tuesday night. Tommy was seventeen and the supposed friend of my brother, Darren.
I didn't love him.
I'm not even sure I liked him.
The car was cold and Tommy w
I'm having a hard time rating this book for some reason. I want to give it somewhere between 3 and 4 stars, I think. As some of you know, I really did NOT like the only other Sara Zarr book I have read, Sweethearts, and I'm worried my feelings for this book are tainted by that. I'm the first to admit I did not go into reading this book unbiased. But I think overall, it was pretty good.

I didn't love the main character, Deanna, but I didn't hate her either. And I'm not sure that was the point exac
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Sara Zarr is the acclaimed author of four novels for young adults: Story of a Girl (National Book Award Finalist), Sweethearts (Cybil Award Finalist), Once Was Lost (a Kirkus Best Book of 2009) and How to Save a Life. Her short fiction and essays have also appeared in Image, Hunger Mountain, and several anthologies. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband, and online at ...more
More about Sara Zarr...

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“Forgetting isn't enough. You can paddle away from the memories and think they are gone. But they will keep floating back, again and again and agian. They circle you, like sharks. Until, unless, something, someone? Can do more than just cover the wound. ” 272 likes
“That's how you know you really trust someone, I think; when you don't have to talk all the time to make sure they still like you or prove that you have interesting stuff to say.” 173 likes
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