How to Save a Life is a mesmerising novel by Sara Zarr. Mandy Kalinowski is seventeen and pregnant. She reads a post from Jill’s mother on an unofficial site about adoption and replies about her own circumstances. Soon, she is on a train heading to Denver to meet Jill’s mother. Jill is still coming to terms with the sudden death of her father when her mother announces that she is planning to adopt a baby. It is the last thing that Jill expected…or wants. The story follows Jill and Mandy as they come to terms with the dramatic changes in their lives.
I fell in love with this story and was hooked from the very first page. It is a real crossover between YA and adult fiction and I think would appeal to both younger and older readers alike. It is written from the dual perspectives of Jill and Mandy. This is a very effective format, as it makes the reader feel that they know both characters and thus both sides of the story.
Zarr has created a beautifully written, heart warming novel with characters and situations that feel very real. There are a lot of surprises in the novel that I had not anticipated and this made me not want to put the book down!
This is one of my top books of 2012 and I highly recommend it.
Thank you to Usborne for sending us a copy to review.