November 11, 2011

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

Jill MacSweeney just wants everything to go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she's been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends--everyone who wants to support her. You can't lose one family member and simply replace him with a new one, and when her mom decides to adopt a baby, that's exactly what it feels like she's trying to do. And that's decidedly not normal. With her world crumbling around her, can Jill come to embrace a new member of the family?

Mandy Kalinowski knows what it's like to grow up unwanted--to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, she knows she wants a better life for her baby. But can giving up a child be as easy as it seems? And will she ever be able to find someone to care for her, too?

Critically acclaimed author and National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr delivers a heart-wrenching story, told from dual perspectives, about what it means to be a family and the many roads we can take to become one.

Epic Wins:

  • Message (one): Sometimes pushing people away, thought it seems better, isn't the answer.
  • Message (two): Usually what you think of as the WORST case scenario is really that thing you have needed in your life. 
  • Message (three): You just have to trust other people and that maybe doing it all by yourself just won't work.
  • Jill- Synical and smart her personality cuts through the pages. She was the character I loved the most. 
  • Mandy- She was totally insane. Insane like Luna Lovegood. She was sweet and strong, always meaning well. She was so much smarter then people thought. 
  • Dylan- He was a sweetheart but he seemed at a loss of what to do. I REALLY loved the way he treated Mandy (I kept waiting for something to happen there). 
  • Ravi-He was so understanding of what Jill was going through and was the only one she could really talk to about what happened. He's one of those truly good guys. 
  • I always love when books go back and forth between different point-of-views and How to Save a Life was no exception. The balance between Jill and Mandys' personalities was perfect and clear. 
  • Hugable: A book so good that it has the after effect of overwhelmingly needing to hug it. This book has it and Ecey knew this when she told me I needed to read it. (Thanks hon!!)
  • It's such a sweet story about family, especially the family that ISN'T blood related.

Epic Fails:
  • At one point Mandy thinks, Maybe I should just do the opposite of what my mom says to do, with this I agree. Her mom was always so nasty towards Mandy. 
  • Ken, I was on to him from the beginning.
A book you can't put into accurate enough words to describe it's awesomeness. 

just sayin, 


  1. I'm so excited to read this now. Great review. I've had it on my TBR, but haven't gotten to it. I'm afraid something else will be getting bumped down the list!

  2. This book should appeal to those drawn to character-driven, contemporary books. The plot is interesting also and covers some heavy topics such as grieving, abuse, and pregnancy, and making difficult decisions, but it succeeds most as a realistic character study of families and relationships. A stellar and touching read.


Let me know what you think was an epic win or an epic fail, or if you feel like it make robot sound like beep beep boo bop. Really I could careless just keep it clean.