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How to Save a Life

New or Used: $4.94
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About the Author

Sara Zarr was raised in San Francisco, California, and now lives with her husband in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is the author of Once Was Lost, Sweethearts, and the National Book Award finalist Story of a Girl. She can be found on the Web at


* "Filled with so many frustrations, so many dilemmas needing reasonable solutions, and so much hope and faith in the midst of sadness, Zarr's novel is a rich tapestry of love and survival that will resonate with even the most cynical readers." Booklist, starred review"
* "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." Kirkus Reviews, starred review"
* " Zarr crafts intimate and authentic portraits of two vulnerable teens struggling to cope with uncertain futures...their slow, cautious efforts to build trust and better understand the meaning of family are expressed with the deepest compassion and kindness." Publishers Weekly, starred review"
* "The imperfection of the characters and the uniqueness of their situations come together in a compulsively readable novel. Zarr has established herself as an author who must not be missed." VOYA, starred review"
* "Another heavy-hitting page-turner from Zarr....A must read." School Library Journal, starred review"

Gr 8 Up-Sara Zarr delivers a touching, heartfelt tale (Little, Brown, 2011) of love, acceptance, and healing. Reeling from her father's death nearly a year earlier, Jill MacSweeney hides her intense grief behind a wall of anger that has isolated her from friends and family. Then Jill's mom decides to adopt a baby from Mandy, a pregnant teen she met online. Mandy will be staying with the MacSweeneys until the baby is born. Jill is less than thrilled. Meanwhile, Mandy struggles with the scars of her own mother's neglect and worries that the baby might be a result of the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother's boyfriend. Can these two very different girls overcome their individual doubts and learn to accept their situations-and each other-so that they can heal from their painful pasts and move on to brighter futures? Although the ending wraps up a bit too neatly, this is a beautiful and worthwhile listen. Told in alternating chapters and narrated to perfection by Ariadne Meyers and Cassandra Morris, Zarr has created an exceptional story highlighted by outstanding character development. Initially, Mandy comes across as vain, more than a little creepy, and seems far younger than her 18 years-despite the hard life she's experienced. Jill, at first, is closed-off, angry, and difficult to like. As the story progresses, listeners will gain a profound understanding of both girls and grow to love them in spite of their faults and quirks. Collections will benefit from the addition of this extraordinary audiobook.-Alissa LeMerise, Oxford Public Library, MI (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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