My favorite thing about long flights? Reading uninterrupted and guilt-free! On my recent 10 hour flight to Tokyo, I read, nay, devoured the YA novel, How To Save a Life by award-winning author Sara Zarr. I am a long-time fan of all her novels, including the National Book Award Finalist, Story of a Girl.
After Jill loses her father unexpectedly in a car accident, she turns inward, pushing everyone away, including her boyfriend and best friends. When her mother announces her decision to adopt a baby from a stranger on an open adoption web site, Jill becomes even more closed off.
When Mandy arrives at Jill’s house, she thinks she’s making the best decision for her unborn child. Mandy knows exactly what it’s like to be an unplanned and unwanted daughter. She’s relieved to escape her mother and her mother’s boyfriend, and finds herself growing attached to Jill’s mother and home.
As Jill’s and Mandy’s lives become entwined, both start having second thoughts about their initial decisions/reactions. Matters grow complicated and they are both forced to make decisions they have been unwilling to face. This is a story of loss and gain, of family and love.
Sara Zarr does an outstanding job portraying Jill’s and Mandy’s journeys. I ached for both of them. The ending? Perfect! Worth each and every glorious page turn.
Come back for a Spotlight Interview with Sara in the near future!
SIDE NOTE: If you’re interested in entering a drawing for my nonfiction book for children, Japan: A Kaleidoscope Kids Book, and a souvenir from Japan, enter here.