How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

How to Save a Life operates on a level that is very relatable for the average American teenager, but without too much angst. Sara Zarr truly masters the heartache and devastation that unplanned teen pregnancy can wreak, while simultaneously bringing about a comforting feeling of renewal.

In the beginning of the book, we meet Mandy. She is an outcast and a loner, without friends, without love, without a home. Truly primal in her state of flight, she is fighting for not only her own survival, but also for the life of her unborn child. She has come to Colorado, escaping the clutches of her past and desperate for something she can’t quite pinpoint: love. When Mandy is greeted by the morose and heart-broken Jill MacSweeney, she feels as though her prospects for happiness couldn’t possibly be dimmer. But Jill can’t be blamed for her sorrowful state; the death of her father weighs heavily on her and her mother’s random idea to invite the pregnant Mandy to stay with them could not have come at a worse time. Yet it is the common tragedies of Mandy and Jill that will bring about a bond that is unfettered by the past, undaunted by the future, and unheeding to the present.

How to Save a Life is a book of life and loss, lament and love, loneliness and loyalty. The juxtaposition of the girls’ socioeconomic statuses with their respective places in the cosmic balance truly is captivating. I literally didn’t set the book down after page 52. I can’t give this book two taller thumbs up.

Nicholas is a young Georgian, living amongst the trees, yet aspiring for the lights of cities. He has been writing stories and poetry all of his life, and he never, never, never plans on stopping.


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