Title: How to Save a Life
Author: Sara Zarr
Release Date: October 2011
Published By: Little, Brown
Goodreads Rating: 4.20 stars
Review: Ever since Jill's dad passed away, all she's wanted is for life to go back to normal, but instead everything - her boyfriend, her family - is falling apart, and now her mom wants to have a young girl live with them and adopt her baby. All Mandy wants is for her baby to avoid the neglect she had grown up with and to give it the best possible life. But when Jill and Mandy's lives are thrown together, they're suddenly not so sure what they want anymore.
It has to be said, so: Sara Zarr is a genius and produces the most beautiful, exceptional works imaginable, and HOW TO SAVE A LIFE is no exception. From the first page to the last, this book brims with stark, raw emotion, conveyed through seemingly simple words. The premise is not completely original and yet Zarr is able to put a unique spin on it to create a lovely, emotional, and moving story.
One of the most notable aspects of this novel is the dual perspective. Not every author is able to pull it off well, but this author handled it admirably. The two-person perspective worked very well and complemented the story perfectly, allowing insight that just one perspective would have been unable to give. Through this, the characters' personalities were fleshed out into dimensions they wouldn't have had otherwise.
One complaint I would make, though, is about Jill. I completely understand that she goes through a lot and struggles a great deal emotionally, and while some level of aggression on her part is relatively acceptable, her rudeness reached uncalled-for levels. I was, at several parts, actually shocked by some of her actions and words, and this did make me lose some sympathy for her.
Overall, HOW TO SAVE A LIFE is exactly what you would expect from Sara Zarr: pure, unadulterated emotion bound in the form of a book and presented with a beautiful cover. I would have preferred for Jill to be less of a drama queen in some places, but the characters were, for the most part, brilliantly written, and I would recommend this to any fans of contemporary fiction.
I received a free copy of this book for review. This in no way affected my review.