How to Save a Life, by Sara Zarr

14 Jun

Coming October 18, 2011 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Is it possible to give a book six stars?

This book…this book, you guys. I don’t really know where to begin about it. I’ve been reading a lot of dystopian novels lately, among other plot-driven novels, and novels with paranormal elements to them. It was refreshing to read a novel that was straight-up contemporary. But, by “refreshing,” I do not mean refreshing like a trip to the spa, or a day at the beach, or something else lighthearted and fun.

By “refreshing,” I mean this book made me feel, moved me to compassion and understanding in ways I haven’t felt in a long time (if ever, possibly). Sara Zarr has this utterly incredible talent for writing about the world in ways that are just so real, ways that shine light on life—even the most common, mundane things—in a way you’ve never noticed before.

My favorite books are always the ones that tend to rock my world in some way. The Hunger Games trilogy did that—after Mockingjay, sad as it was, I felt hope. Across the Universe helped me appreciate sunlight, Earth, stars, fresh air, freedom. The Harry Potter books, due to—how do you sum THAT up? Their magical epicness, I guess—were the books that pushed me over the edge toward “I want to write my own novel,” something that has changed my day-to-day life in a very real way. Divergent was an adrenaline rush that made me think about human nature, about the impossibility of perfectionism, the prevalence of flaws in humanity, and the importance of bravery.

How to Save a Life reminded me to assume the best in everyone, and hammered home the notion that there are a lot of broken people in the world who would give anything for a hug, or someone who will listen to them, someone who won’t break their word. Also, it strengthened my appreciation for my amazing parents, wonderful husband, the baby I’ll give birth to in September, and all the little things I tend to take for granted.

Here’s a link to the Goodreads page, where you can read the blurb for this book and put it on your to-read lists.

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7 Responses to “How to Save a Life, by Sara Zarr”

  1. Liza Kane Tuesday / 14 June 11 at 10:42 am #

    First: I love that our favorite, life changing book titles line up with mine. Like, ridiculously so.
    Second, I love that your book reviews compel me to read the books you talk about simply because you focus on how the book changed your thinking, no summary/synopsis needed. I like that, and gives me a direction for reviewing future books.

  2. aleeza rauf Tuesday / 14 June 11 at 5:42 pm #

    well, you already know i want to read this. your review was amazing! i have sara zarr’s sweethearts on my shelf and i think i just might go into it very soon.

    also, i got your email! the book will get here…at one point, hehe. and i’ll be looking forward to it. :)

  3. Rebecca Bradley Tuesday / 14 June 11 at 11:37 pm #

    Thanks for the review. It has now gone on my very long to be-read list!

  4. jowearsoldcoats Tuesday / 20 September 11 at 2:37 pm #

    I absolutely adored this book and this review has just made me want to read it again… fantastic! Refreshing is definitely the word I would use to describe this book!

    Love your your favourite books, btw. There are a few that I haven’t read yet. Will have to remedy that :)

    • Kayla Olson Saturday / 24 September 11 at 12:50 pm #

      I’m so glad you adored the book! I already want to read this book again, haha, and it hasn’t even been that long…

      PS: I checked out your blog, and really like it! I look forward to reading your reviews more thoroughly, and more often, in the future! Not sure which of my favorite books you haven’t read, but all of the ones listed in this post are absolutely worth the time, in my opinion! Also, if you haven’t read Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone yet, you MUST. :)

  5. stilladreamer Thursday / 26 January 12 at 12:33 pm #

    Kayla, You have sold me! Although I have a ton of books waiting to be read, (thanks to the annual local county library book sale), I am putting this on my list for sure.
    And thanks for stopping by to visit and follow me!
    Jeanne

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Book Notes – Sara Zarr “How to Save a Life” | Music Blog List - Tuesday / 13 December 11

    […] Books review Angieville review The Book Smugglers review Deseret News review Kirkus Reviews review Owl and Sparrow review Sara Ockler […]

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