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HOW TO SAVE A LIFE by Sara Zarr Kirkus Star


by Sara Zarr

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-316-03606-1
Publisher: Little, Brown

Still reeling from the death of her father, 17-year-old Jill resents her mother’s plan to adopt a new baby. When soon-to-be birth mother Mandy arrives, she brings with her more than any of them imagined.

Struggling with the loss of her like-minded father, guilt over her failings as a daughter and her heart, which she fears is permanently sealed, Jill is determined to dislike Mandy. Her resentment, fueled by inconsistencies in the young mother’s story, drives her to find an investigator. When a startling phone call exposes Mandy’s darkest secrets, Jill finds herself more confused than ever. Mandy, who knows firsthand what it is like to grow up unwanted and unloved, is determined to find a better life for her baby. But what if, in the meantime, she can find a better life for herself? Told from the perspectives of both Jill and Mandy in alternating chapters, this moving story explores love, loss and whether a family can be more than the sum of its parts. Jill’s cynicism is the perfect counterpart to Mandy’s hopeful naiveté. Likewise, Mandy’s vulnerability highlights Jill’s tough independence. Woven together from two simple threads, the resulting tapestry is as beautiful as it is real.

A story that will resonate beyond its final page. (Fiction. 12 & up)