Diane Ferbrache's Reviews > How to Save a Life

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
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Sep 15, 12

bookshelves: death, family-stories, young-adult, teen-pregnancy, audiobooks
Read in September, 2012

Mandy is 18 and pregnant. Emma is 16 and struggling to recover from the sudden death of her father. When Emma's mother decides to adopt Mandy's baby, Emma's life is about to change drastically again.

Told in alternating chapters in Mandy's and Emma's voices, the reader (or listener, in this case) learns each girl's story in bits and pieces. Mandy has not been completely truthful with Emma's mother, but there are reasons for her lies and half-truths. Emma is skeptical of Mandy's story, but her mother is not willing to hear her. When she enlists a friend to find out more about Mandy, and then reaches out to the girl herself, Emma learns as much about herself as she does about Mandy.

The audiobook was wonderful! I listened to it on my car radio while driving to and from work. The young actresses who read each part made the book come alive. This is a touching, somewhat believable story but for an older (more sophisticated?) reader it can be a bit predictable. I didn't mind, though, because the telling of the girls' stories was so captivating I found myself sitting in my car just listening long after I had arrived at my destination. Isn't that the mark of a "5 star" book.

Sara Zarr is a young bright author. I've read a couple of her books and had a chance to meet her at a librarians' conference a couple of years ago. She is a shining star in YA fiction.
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