Emily May's Reviews > How to Save a Life

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
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May 28, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: young-adult, 2011, contemporary
Recommended to Emily May by: Tatiana
Read from December 18 to 23, 2011

My thoughts on How to Save a Life remind me a lot of the way I felt about Please Ignore Vera Dietz. In fact, there's one thing I can pretty much quote directly from the review I wrote, about how there are two subjects in young adult books that would normally make me run a mile:

a) teen pregnancy, and
b) coping with the death of a loved one

Both of them are just so overdone, annoying and melodramatic that I find it quite amazing that this novel can march onto the literary scene with its two perspectives, one by a girl who is pregnant, and the other by a girl who's trying to deal with the loss of her father, and be absolutely, wonderfully moving, heartbreaking and unforgettable. I can't say I'm shocked that it was good, the other reviews made me sure I would love this story, but I still find it surprising that this subject matter has been turned into something fresh and new.

I was slightly apprehensive, I do admit, because the only other novel I have read by Sara Zarr is Story of a Girl and I wasn't that impressed. No, perhaps it's not that, but rather I felt like myself and the author were on completely different wavelengths regarding a lot of issues that I find important, and I was a little concerned that some of these things might resurface in How to Save a Life. I need not have worried.

I felt that everything about this book was just a lot more polished than Story of a Girl, and it was wholly more satisfying for it. I loved the writing - beautiful but without being burdened by prose that is too flowery - and I thought every single character had something to offer the story, no one introduced was wasted. And though this was also a sad book, I was glad the ending was happier and had a greater sense of closure than Story of a Girl did.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Tatiana Really hoping this is better than "Story of a Girl" for you.

Emily May It's more consistently highly-rated amongst my GR friends so I'm thinking that it might be :)

Jasprit I've wanted to read this one for ages hope you liking it so far :)

Wendy Darling I really liked this one too, Emily. :) Nicely reviewed!

Reynje So glad you liked this one Emily. It's a beautiful book.

Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ (of badger and SNAKE) I just read and loved Vera's story so I'm obviously adding this one - I'll wait a little because I'm still overwhelmed but beautiful review :)

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