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Story of a Girl

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  16,585 ratings  ·  1,785 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 capacit ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published January 10th 2007 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Amelia People can ask whatever they want as long as it doesn't violate the community guidelines ( that's the nature o…morePeople can ask whatever they want as long as it doesn't violate the community guidelines ( that's the nature of public forums. If we can only say nice things, how can we have an open discussion? This strikes me as the kind of book that very much needs to be discussed.(less)
Rachael If they are allowed to read young adult books.
If they are allowed to read young adult books.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  16,585 ratings  ·  1,785 reviews

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Jun 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 07, 2011 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
Aj the Ravenous Reader
3.5 stars

A genuine coming off age story allowing readers to look into the hows and whys of a girl exposed to sex at a very young age, how people easily judge her, cast her off and dub her a slut, avoid her, and pretend like none of them did the same thing when the only difference is they weren’t caught by their dads at it.

Like the other novel by Ms. Zarr I’ve read, The Story of a Girl is an honest story that reveals the heart of the 16 year old Deanna. She sadly narrates how choosing to do the
Sep 06, 2011 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
Jul 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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
Jul 12, 2011 rated it liked it
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
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
May 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Stella❤️ 孔凡星
3.5* This book had some thought-provoking and meaningful passages but overall, the impact wasn’t as strong as I’d wanted.
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
Dec 10, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Jackie Myers
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Good story, enjoyed it
Mar 29, 2012 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 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 17, 2016 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
Dec 06, 2011 rated it liked it
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
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
Dec 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Stephanie A.
Jul 20, 2012 rated it did not like it
I was promised this book would "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 probl
Jan 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jennifer Wardrip
May 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

After thirteen-year-old Deanna’s father finds her in the back seat of a car with Tommy, a high school senior she becomes known as the school slut. Three years later her father still can’t look her in the eye. Her mother’s no help and her older brother is too busy with his girlfriend and their new baby to do much. When Deanna gets a job at a pizza place, she’s forced to see Tommy, her coworker while things at home are only getting more tense.

Although Deanna makes mistakes and isn’t always thought
Claire (Book Blog Bird)
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a pretty short book and I read it in a day (I'm on half term at the moment, can you tell?) It's about a girl who makes a serious error of judgement when she's thirteen and lives the next three years totally regretting her actions and being shamed for something she did my her small-town schoolmates. It deals with family dynamics and how people deal with the aftermath of mistakes they've made. It was a pretty good read. The characters were interesting and complex. The plot didn't do a gre ...more
I didn't really like this much. So much of it is just bleak and HARD and it's all very well done and realistic, but it's not how I prefer to spend my reading time. ...more
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
This was a most pleasant surprise: A well written YA novel with depth. The girl whose story we get to know is Deanne, who is only 16 and has already fallen from grace years ago, back when she was 13 and her father caught her and her older brother's friend having sex. From then on, she became not just her father shame, but also the city's favourite slut to shame. And she still is, three years later, while she tries to get her life back on track (again, at 16, what a shame, the poor girl).

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Sara Zarr is the acclaimed author of seven novels, most recently Goodbye from Nowhere, and Courageous Creativity: Advice and Encouragement for the Creative Life--a book on creativity for the young and young-at-heart. She’s a National Book Award finalist and two-time Utah Book Award winner, and is the host and producer of the This Creative Life podcast. Her first book, Story of a Girl, was made int ...more

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