How to Save a Life is a heartbreaking, complicated novel about choices, grief, and redemption. The story is told in alternating viewpoints, allowing the reader to really delve into the minds of the new two narrators. Zarr does an excellent job at portraying these two girls—Jill and Mandy are very different on the surface, from looks to personalities, but both grapple with family and relationship issues. Jill has always had a happy family, but as a result of the grief she is experiencing, she's closed off and hurt, trying to make sense of life with a new fear she carries with her at all times. Mandy's home life has never been good, but she knows the kind of life that she wants for her baby, and the type that she wants for herself, but she struggles with making the right choices for herself and her unborn child. The confusion that both girls feel oftentimes propels them into doing things that they regret.
Another great thing about this book is the many excellent supporting characters. To name a few memorable ones, there’s Jill's mom, who has her own issues and stress, but a very large heart and courage to face the future. There is Jill's boyfriend, who is fascinated by Mandy and her situation, and willing to help her, and Jill's "co-worker" Ravi, who is cute and funny and the first person to get through to Jill since her father's death. This book is all about relationships—severing the old, poisonous ones, opening yourself up, and forging new ones. There's plenty of drama in this novel, and the rich, realistic characters will take up residence in your thoughts long after the final, hopeful page. How to Save a Life is a heartfelt novel about family, grief and healing, losing and gaining.
Cover Comments: I love the snow, the benches, and the blonde girl sitting on one--just like Mandy in the book. The font of the title is also pretty cool. An awesome cover!
This one will be available October 18th, 2011!
ARC picked up at BEA!
Win this book all this month! Click here for more info!