Title: How to Save a Life
Author: Sara Zarr
Publisher: Little, Brown books for Young Readers
Publication date: October 18th, 2011
Genre(s): Young Adult (Contemporary/Realistic Fiction)
How To Save a Life is a book that shocked me. When I started, I wasn't expecting anything. It was just a book I picked up from the library for no reason. Just because the synopsis sounded good, and I have always wanted to read a book by Sara Zarr. How To Save a Life is told from two point of views. From Jill's POV, and from Mandy's POV. Im actually a fan of multiple POV's, because that way, you get to connect with the characters more, and you get to understand what's going on inside their heads. The book starts off with Jill wanting her life to go back to normal. With her dad's death a couple of months ago, she started isolating herself from her boyfriend and her friends. I kind of felt sorry for Jill to be going through that all. Jill feels like no one can understand her. To make things worse, her mother decides to adopt a baby! I really understood why Jill would get devastated from her mom, because it does look like her mom is trying to replace a family member with another. That's when we meet Mandy.
Mandy is a very confused character. Through all her life, she felt like she was unwanted. Her dad left her mother, and never wanted to see them again. Her mother treats her like trash, and acts like taking care of Mandy is a burden. When Mandy gets pregnant, she decides that she wants her baby to have a life thats better than hers. Convinced that the baby will never have that life here, she decides to have the baby up for adoption. That's how Mandy and Jill's mother meet. When Mandy starts living with Jill, Jill pissed me off. Mandy was just staying with them until the baby was due, which was in about 3 weeks, then she was off. Jill was acting like a spoiled brat, treating Mandy like crap. I get that Jill was pissed at her mother, but why does Mandy have to suffer right? I loved how Jill's mom was sweet to Mandy. She really cared for her like her own daughter. I honestly thought that the mother would play the "bad" act and not be as kind as she was to Mandy.
Getting into the story, it got more and more interesting. It was interesting to read about how the characters slowly got to better terms with each other. We also got to know a lot more about Mandy. What I really enjoyed is that the whole book didn't just revolve about two characters, but there were so many! We got to meet the characters from Jill's job, her friends from school, and even her boyfriend. We got to know about Mandy's mom, and all of her mom's past boyfriends. I liked that Sara Zarr went deep into the story, and that's what made it really realistic for me. The ending was beautiful. It was very unexpected, and it really did touch my heart. It literally does talk about saving a life. Maybe not physically, but surely mentally.