Crystal Starr Light's Reviews > Story of a Girl

Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr
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's review
Oct 16, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary, signed-by-author, young-adult, 2015-owned-challenge
Read on March 31, 2015

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 Webber when she was 13 and he was 17 by her father - now, three years later, her life is still marred by that event. All she wants is to pick up with her brother, Darren, his girlfriend, Stacy, and their baby, April, and leave.

I bought this book long ago, after having the opportunity to meet Sara Zarr. At the time, I was more interested in meeting Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong, and Beth Revis, so I didn't stop to chat or have her sign a book. I'll admit, I felt guilty, so I went back and bought her signed debut copy of "Story of a Girl".

Lately, I've been really weeding through my books, and I just on a whim picked this up, ready to get it off the shelves. Well, the results were quite different from what I expected - Zarr is a highly talented writer with a superb story that I think many girls from many walks of life will admire.

The essence of the story is forgiveness and realizing that if you aren't happy with yourself, it doesn't matter where you run, you will still be unhappy. But just writing that out totally doesn't do justice to the story.

It's realizing that everyone has his or her own sh!t. That when you say mean things to another person, yes, I'm sorry your life is awful, but that other person still didn't deserve it. It's owning up to your mistakes, being the adult in a situation and saying, "I messed up. I was wrong. I'm sorry." It's about changing your life by facing your problems.

To get sappy, it's about changing the world by being the change.

Each character, from our protagonist, Deanna, to horrible Tommy, who while he didn't rape her in the "violent" usage of the word, did pressure her until she said yes, got to have a say, got to have nuance. This is a group of just normal people, living mediocre lives and just figuring out how to deal with it.

Which is probably why I LOVED the conclusion. I thought it was spot on. With the way Deanna's family was, I'd be surprised at a more cataclysmic conclusion - and while I'd love for Deanna's dad to just outright stop being a d!ck, the fact is, it's obvious by the end of the book that he's changing. (Plus, I couldn't help but see the obvious signs of depression.)

In short, this was a fantastic book that I would definitely recommend to teens. Zarr proved herself a competent writer - I've really been waning on my reading of young adult and Zarr proved that there are young adult writers who aren't writing sappy romances or generic dystopias and cancer books. I'm still timid about reading more of her works, just because I'm moving away from the young adult genre, but if you do like YA contemporary books, you should enjoy this.

Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence:
Mild. I don't recall any or many f-bombs.
Tommy and Deanna's relationship is never described in graphic terms and mostly from a flashback POV.
A boy grabs Deanna, and she pushes him back. Security is called.
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Reading Progress

03/31/2015 marked as: currently-reading
03/31/2015 page 46
23.0% "This is actually decent writing. A part of me wants to shake the teens for being so emo, but they ARE teens, and hell, if anyone knows what it's like to never get out as a teenager, it's me."
03/31/2015 page 70
36.0% "Wow. I don't believe in slut-shaming for having sex anyway, but the more I read about this Tommy fellow, the more I feel that the relationship wasn't 100% consensual. Not that it was "rape" rape, but that it was more like asking until a girl finally says "okay, fine, just shut up already" rape. You know?"
03/31/2015 page 94
48.0% "It's incredible to me that, while we are very much looking through Deanna's lenses, it's obvious that Dad, Mom, Darren, Stacy...all these other characters are going through their own sh!t life and sh!t circumstances. Or maybe that's the adult in me that can see all this."
03/31/2015 page 131
68.0% "This is a very well-done realistic YA book. I feel like there's an actual point to it."
03/31/2015 page 153
79.0% ""Don't mistake a new place for a new you.""
03/31/2015 marked as: read

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