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Story of a Girlby Sara Zarr
Synopses & Reviews
When she is caught in the backseat of a car with her older brother's best friend — Deanna Lambert's teenage life is changed forever. Struggling to overcome the lasting repercussions and the stifling role of school slut, she longs to escape a life defined by her past. With subtle grace, complicated wisdom and striking emotion, The Story of a Girl reminds us of our human capacity for resilience, epiphany and redemption.
"Zarr's involving yet somewhat anti-climactic debut opens with a bang as Deanna Lambert recalls the moment that caused everything in her life to change: 'I was thirteen when my dad caught me with Tommy Webber in the back of Tommy's Buick.' Following this incident with the then 17-year-old boy, Deanna is shunned by her father and labeled 'the school slut' by her peers. In her small town, the tag sticks, and continues to define Deanna's life for the next three years. Now 16, she lands a summer job only to discover that Tommy works at the same place. But seeing him sparks flashbacks, and through them Zarr give readers insight into how Deanna was drawn to Tommy, and the complicated feelings the teen experienced ('I don't mean anything corny like I fell in love.... It was more a feeling like when I'd get picked first for volleyball'). The author credibly explores Deanna's confusion about how good it feels to be with Tommy and her thoughts that she should be feeling something else. The narrative is less credible when she erupts at her best (girl)friend, Lee — paving the way for Deanna to kiss her longtime best friend, Jason (who is also Lee's boyfriend) — and also when Deanna confronts Tommy after a makeout session. Although the loose ends are tied up at the end, readers may find Deanna's character somewhat contradictory. But Zarr convincingly creates a teen trapped by small-minded people in a small town. Ages 12-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[An] emotionally charged story, with language appropriate to the intensity of the feelings." School Library Journal
"This is a thoughtful, well-executed debut from an author who understands how to write for teens." Booklist
Praise for Bruised
"Offering psychological drama and an introduction to martial-arts code of behavior, the book has a meaningful message about power, control, and the internal bruises carried by victims."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Her story is compelling, and readers will stick with her as new insights bring about a believable shift in her behavior This distinctive debut will be appreciated by fans of contemporary fiction."
"This layered first novel explores the aftereffects of the trauma, convincingly depicting why Imogen blames herself for a situation over which she had no control. Skilton also sensitively depicts the bond and tentative romance that develops between Imogen and Ricky. The main story line about Imogens struggle to come to terms with what she did (and did not do) is nuanced and honest."
"This is a useful exploration of the difference between fantasy-style omnipotence and the complexity of real-life human strength."
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Skilton does a fine job capturing how a psychological process after trauma can take time and might manifest in unique, sometimes unexpected, ways."
"Poignant and emotionally raw at times and humorous at others, this debut novel adeptly portrays a shattered life in the wake of an unexpected act of violence and the road back to normalcy."
—School Library Journal
"Here is a writer to watch who handles complex issues with sensitivity in the vein of Deb Caletti and Sarah Dessen."
Anna and Abel couldn't be more different. They are both seventeen and in their last year of school, but while Anna lives in a nice old town house and comes from a well-to-do family, Abel, the school drug dealer, lives in a big, prisonlike tower block at the edge of town. Anna is afraid of him until she realizes that he is caring for his six-year-old sister on his own. Fascinated, Anna follows the two and listens as Abel tells little Micha the story of a tiny queen assailed by dark forces. It's a beautiful fairy tale that Anna comes to see has a basis in reality. Abel is in real danger of losing Micha to their abusive father and to his own inability to make ends meet. Anna gradually falls in love with Abel, but when his "enemies" begin to turn up dead, she fears she has fallen for a murderer. Has she?
Award-winning author Antonia Michaelis moves in a bold new direction with her latest novel: a dark, haunting, contemporary story that is part mystery, part romance, and part melodrama.
About the Author
Sara Zarr was raised in San Francisco, went to high school in Pacifica, California, and now lives with her husband in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is the author of Story of a Girl and can be found on the web at www.sarazarr.com.
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