Kathryn's Reviews > How to Save a Life

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
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May 13, 11

bookshelves: realistic-fiction, young-adult, own, signed
Read from May 09 to 12, 2011

Try a little tenderness...

There comes a point when everyone needs saving. When the grief and the loneliness and the struggles become to much for you to bare. But letting someone help you--love you--is almost as hard as finding your way on your own.

When Jill MacSweeney's father died, she lost her best friend, her greatest supporter and her inspiration. She's alienated her friends, kept her boyfriend at arms-length and made sure her mother knows that nothing can ever make up for her father's absence.

Mandy Kalinowski has never had a home. Sure, her mother always had some boyfriend or another who was willing to put a roof over their heads, but she doesn't know what it feels like to belong, to have a place your heart can reside. When she finds out she's pregnant, she wants to make sure her child has all the love she needs, which is why she's depending on Robin MacSweeney to provide for her baby.

While this story is told from two perspectives, it's really the story of four women who are lost and hurting and looking for home. It might have been Mac who died in a car accident eight months ago, but it's Jill and Robin and Mandy and an unborn baby who need to be saved. And somehow, as they work to save each other, they might just save the most important life of all--their own.

Every word is beautiful and every character is real. I wanted to read this book with a highlighter so I could mark all my favorite passages, and I wanted to hug and cry for and laugh with and talk to all of these women.

No one understands losing yourself and finding home again like Zarr. She writes with such a raw emotion that you come to understand every character and see yourself within the pages of all of her books. Yet this book is different from her others in that it's a little more romantic, a little more hopeful, a little more lighthearted. It still deals with powerful and sad issues (death, abuse, adoption, unfaithfulness), but it's done in such a way that every tear you want to shed is happy. It just keeps getting better and better with Zarr.
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