Here is the official blurb from the publisher:

STORY OF A GIRL by Sara Zarr

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 capacity for resilience, epiphany and redemption.


At the tail end of 2009  I was going through a reading drought where I read a lot, but I couldn't find anything I loved. I started a lot of books, but nothing grabbed me. The voices fell flat or the stakes were low or the characters were ones I couldn't relate to. I'd just moved to San Francisco, and I was going through this intense period of loneliness because I hadn't made friends here yet. One of my favorite things to do that first December was to drive down Highway 1, grab a hot cocoa from McDonalds (drive thrus are a novelty in SF), and head over to the shore to watch the sun set over Pacifica in a very startling, dramatic fashion. When I came across Story of a Girl at the library, I was excited to read it because it takes places in that sleepy coastal town.

The first thing that struck me was how real the characters felt. Deanna's pain leaps off the pages at the reader. I ached for her as I read. First, she is taken advantage of by her older brother's best friend. She is angry at the boy, but mostly she blames herself for it, though she was too young to even realize the position she'd been put in or the repercussions of it. Her father catches her and the boy together and that moment becomes the catalyst for the heartbreak she suffers over the next years. When the book opens, her father is so disillusioned that he's checked out. He can hardly look at her while she feels this incredible yearning to be his little girl again. Her older brother is another family disappointment, as he lives at home with his girlfriend and their baby. This family is broken, but oh so authentic. They are working class and just struggling to get by. Dreams are a luxury.

Deanna's friends, her parents, her brother, her brother's girlfriend, and the boy who used her could have been people I knew. This girl's story could have been mine if I'd taken another path, and that is the wonder of literature. That we get to see our lives play out in another way, even if it's only on the page.

I cried buckets reading Story of a Girl. Not just a little sniffle, but actual crying with sound effects and snot. This story tugged at something in me and refilled that empty space in me that hadn't loved a book in too long. Now I own a copy of it and I can't visit Pacifica without imagining Deanna and her family there, and I have to believe that things have gotten better for them. At least I like to think so.


Check out the links below to see what the other Bookanistas are talking about!


Christine Fonseca  gives a shout out for REGRET

Carrie Harris swoons for STRUCK

Stasia Ward Kehoe loves up THE LIBERATION OF MAX MCTRUE

Katy Upperman delights in GRACELING

Tracy Banghart shares some CLARITY and PERCEPTION

Jessica Love delights in THE SCORPIO RACES

Hilary Wagner hosts a Guest Post by Author Aaron Kato on YA Voice

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Published on April 12, 2012 01:48 • 57 views

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