How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr was such a touching story of three women who have lost their way in life. Jill’s father recently passed away, leaving her and her mother alone and greatly depressed. Now Jill’s mom has the crazy idea that she wants to adopt a baby, making Jill wonder if she is merely trying to replace a family member. No matter what Jill tells her mother, nothing will sway her from bring the pregnant girl to live with them and adopting the baby. Mandy, the pregnant girl, realizes that she is in no shape to raise a child and can’t stay living with her mom and mom’s boyfriend any longer. Things are just too messed up and confusing at home, so she sets off to Denver to meet Jill and her mother.
The story starts out with a very strange email exchange between Mandy and Robin (Jill’s mom) arranging for the adoption. I have to confess, that my initial feeling for all three characters wasn’t good. I thought I was going to hate everyone in the story, but by page four I found that I was hopelessly drawn into the story and realizing the characters had potential. I loved how the three women changed once they were drawn together, especially the two girls. Mandy slowly realizing that it was okay to talk to people and share, and Jill slowly excepting her father’s death and becoming human again. Zarr does such a fabulous job of character development throughout the story, that I was sad to finish the book and want the story to continue. This is a great contemporary fiction novel for teens. If you are looking for a more sophisticated teen drama that is more than just boyfriend/girlfriend angst, this would a perfect novel to read.