Thursday, June 23, 2011

Book Review: Story of a Girl, by Sara Zarr

Story of a Girl is a thought-provoking book about how seemingly simple decisions can affect our lives for a long time, and about the necessity of working through problems and communicating to change one’s life.

It’s a simple story. Thirteen-year-old Deanna got caught by her father having sex in the back of a car with Tommy, who was a junior in high school. She’s 16 now, and is still known as “the slut” by her peers, and her father hasn’t forgiven her, doesn’t trust her, and won’t even look her in the eye.

Deanna’s brother, Darren, is living in their basement with Lee, his girlfriend, and their baby. Deanna’s dad has been laid off and is unhappy about his low-paying job. So, there’s a lot of stress on this family.

Deanna decides to get a summer job, and it turns out that Tommy works at the pizza place where she is hired. It is interesting to see how their relationship works out, and it is very realistically portrayed.  Michael, the owner of the pizza place, is a voice of reason in what seems to be a sea of hurt, and is pivotal in Deanna’s growth. 

Zarr has written a very short book with a powerful punch. Huge messages about communication, family, integrity, self-esteem, love, and resilience are in these pages, but the book doesn’t come off as preachy at all. This could be qualified as a “need-to-read” book. Girls, even if they haven’t been in this exact situation, are confronted with difficult decisions on a daily basis. This book may be a beacon for some of them.

I’ve posted about the Illinois’ Abraham Lincoln High School Book Award previously. This book is one of the 2012 nominated titles, and that’s why I read it. 

Published by Little, Brown & Co., 2007
Copy obtained from the library
192 pages

Rating: 4/5

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  1. Wow--three years later and her dad still hasn't gotten over it? Um, hi dad, welcome to teen reality. At least he could have had the "If you're going to have sex, make sure it's safe" or the "You're a little young to have sex, why are you doing this" talk. Sheesh.

    BUT it sounds like a really good book, especially since I know a lot of my students are going through things like this (*shudder* A very scary thought but true). I haven't heard of it but I'm definitely going to check it out. Thanks!

    Happy reading,
    Mary @ Book Swarm

  2. Oh yes!! This is such an awesome book! I was blown away by the power behind Zarr's writing here! Such an important book! One I DEFINITELY think more kids need to be reading!

  3. I hadn't heard of this book before. It sounds intense! Thanks for sharing!


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