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How To Save A Life Hardcover – 1 Jan 1960


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers; 1 edition (1 Jan 1960)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780316036061
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316036061
  • ASIN: 0316036064
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.2 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,650,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Zarr's novel is a rich tapestry of love and survival that will resonate with even the most cynical readers." (Booklist, starred review) "...a moving, funny and emotionally honest story." (Publishers Weekly, starred review / Best Books of 2011)"

Book Description

A new novel from National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr.

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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Vicky @ Books, Biscuits, and Tea on 13 Sep 2012
Format: Paperback
How to Save a Life was the first book I've read by Sara Zarr and I have to say, I'm really impressed. Contemporary fiction is one of my favourite genres but at the same time, books like this can be quite tricky. Books dealing with the loss of a loved one can quite easily turn into something very cheesy and over-the-top. However, it's definitely not the case with How to Save a Life. Not only is Zarr's book frighteningly real, its concept is very unique and I love the message it conveys.

The book tells the story of two seventeen year-old girls with two completely different backgrounds. Mandy grew up in a single-parent family by her alcoholic mother - she dropped out of high school, never really had friends or a loving family. She's desperately trying to get away from her old life and start it all over again, to build a better future for herself and the baby but doesn't know how. And we have Jill, only child to a well-to-do mother, who has just lost her father in an accident and who's been trying to go back to her old self ever since, without success. I didn't really manage to connect to either of them at first: I found Mandy quite naive and `away with the fairies', and Jill very rude and full of herself, but they both grew on me soon enough. And I loved the contrast between the two of them: the fact that apart from the baby, Mandy has nothing or no one else - not even a proper, loving family or a better future to look forward to, while Jill has a loving mum and friends she could count on and all she does is drive them away and completely alienate herself.

Going back to my original remark about contemporary fiction, where most of these books go wrong, if you ask me, is romance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Shamma on 28 Nov 2011
Format: Hardcover
I love that description - "realistic fiction" - because that's exactly what it was, fiction that could happen to anybody.

What can I say that other reviewers haven't already?
I take everything I said about Sara Zarr back. I still stand by what I said about "Once Was Lost", but Zarr, as a writer, is incredible.

She knows how to make you relate with every single character: from rebellious and hurt Jill, to creepily hollow Mandy, to grieving Robin, to confused Dylan and to understanding Ravi. Every single character in this book had an important part to play in those girls' lives.

Mandy is such a difficult girl to like, and yet Zarr makes sure that you do end up liking her and even rooting for her. Your emotions towards her transform as the book progresses right along with Jill's emotions towards her. Mandy can come off as creepy, and strange. Her dialogue is a little scary at times, almost stalker-like, obsessive and very manipulative. But then...there are certain moments, certain things she says in her narrative that make you stop and think - wow, that was deep. And as Mandy's past is revealed, and as her story unfolds, you start feeling protective over her. You want to save her.

Jill, on the other hand, comes off as the typical rebellious teenage daughter. But there's a catch - her father had just recently passed away in a car crash. Her father, who was her best friend, role model, and "mirror". Her father, who was the only person who really understood her and could make her a better person. Her anchor was gone, and she felt lost and hurt and confused. Naturally, it caused her to lash out. Because she was hurting, she needed to hurt those around her as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Hastie on 30 Mar 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a truly beautiful book. I loved reading it. It shows the love between mother and daughter very clearly and the way the book ends is perfectly fitting.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book, it was very touching and well written (made me cry!)
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By Kat on 9 May 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't know why it takes me forever to read books that are very highly rated by the blogger community. How to Save a Life is one of those books - a lot of bloggers that I have similar tastes to loved it, and yet it took me a long time to get to reading it. And yes, I do wish I had picked it up sooner.

How to Save a Life is a book that clicked with me from the first page. Jill is dealing with the death of her father the only way she knows how - by pushing people away and shutting them out of her life, including her boyfriend Dylan. And when her mother decides to adopt a baby, Jill is immediately completely against the idea. The connection that Jill had to her father is the thing that really resonated with me - her love and respect for him, and her overwhelming grief at her death felt so personal, so real and was so heartbreaking.

Although she felt closest to her father, she also has a lot in common with her mother, which she doesn't seem to see in her grief - they are both intelligent, focused women and I loved them both as characters. Even their questionable decisions and reactions endeared them to me, because throughout everything both of their hearts were in the right place. Jill is independent, strong minded and I liked that she embraced her feelings and went with her instincts, whether they were right or wrong.

Told in alternating POVs, Mandy irritated me at first - she's the kind of person I would have a similar reaction to as Jill, but as the story progressed and more of her life and background was revealed, I also started to feel sympathy towards her. It's just another example of how good How to Save a Life really is - that Zarr could make me feel that I was in Jill's seat, and my emotions changed along with hers.
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