Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.


How to Save a Life

by Sara Zarr

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7336529,126 (4)21
Told from their own viewpoints, seventeen-year-old Jill, in grief over the loss of her father, and Mandy, nearly nineteen, are thrown together when Jill's mother agrees to adopt Mandy's unborn child but nothing turns out as they had anticipated.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 21 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
Pretty great book. Well written and well thought out. The coolest thing about it was that all the main characters were unlikable, yet even though I didn't like the people in the beginning all that much, by the end I at least understood them.

Jill- cynical, unpleasant, and rude to most people. Tendency to lash out unexpectedly. Of course she had an excuse. I couldn't blame her for mourning the death of her father in the only way she could.
Mandy- came off as a little dense, brainwashed, and desperate for love. She too had her reasons, and I felt for her.
Jill's mom Robin- I thought she was being utterly selfish to herself, Jill, and this baby, by wanting to adopt a child and then expecting that child to fill the hole left behind by her husband.
I sort of liked the contrast of Mandy and Jill and they kind of smoothed each other out.

The reason I only gave it three stars is I didn't like the Dylan-Jill-Raji thing. It felt weird and wrong. I get that it was about her not wanting to let go of another thing from her pre-death past, but I felt bad for Dylan. And I felt bad for Jill to give up a guy like him. Also I felt like there was a mild flirtation going on with Mandy & Dylan and (maybe I imagined that, but when she said 'can I still be friends with Dylan' all desparately) it felt icky.

The ending was sort of genius, but also left unanswered in many ways.
My favorite part: "Do you have a heart that needs a home? I have a home in need of a heart." *tear* ( )
  Michelle_PPDB | Mar 18, 2023 |
This book was an interesting read. Chapters alternate between Jill’s and Mandy’s point of view.

Each girl is facing her own battles. Jill’s father died months before and now her relationships with friends and her boyfriend Dylan have suffered. Before his death her dad and mom had talked about adopting a child. Now, in her own way of dealing with grief, Jill’s mom wants to adopt a baby. Through a website Jill’s mom and Mandy connect.

Mandy has a lot of “rules” for how the adoption has to take place. Chapter by chapter we learn about her past and wonder about her future. We watch as Mandy becomes less a scared and scarred little girl and more a young woman ready to face her life.

Jill is dealing with her grief in a different fashion, by withdrawing from everyone and everything. When she reconnects with someone from her high school, she finally finds someone who can reach into her grief and help her start to heal. ( )
  Dawn.Zimmerer | Jan 9, 2023 |
Y ( )
  MarlaBurr | Mar 14, 2021 |
Good book predictable ending ( )
  Teri_O | Nov 11, 2020 |
This was my first experience with Sara Zarr and I really liked her writing style. This book was full of emotions and feelings and I loved that. I also loved that this book wasn't all about the romance between a boy and girl but instead about what makes a family. I found both Mandy and Jill to be intriguing characters and I wanted to know all there was to know about them. I wanted to unravel their mysteries and see who they were underneath all their insecurities and fears. ( )
  melrailey | Apr 7, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
I am writing in response to your Love Grows post from Christmas Day.
I have no concrete plans for seeing the world and don't know how I'd come up with them without his advice, and when I picture myself moving out, it doesn't feel like a bold adventure. It feels like running away. Because all I can see is the part where I leave, not the part where I arrive.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Told from their own viewpoints, seventeen-year-old Jill, in grief over the loss of her father, and Mandy, nearly nineteen, are thrown together when Jill's mother agrees to adopt Mandy's unborn child but nothing turns out as they had anticipated.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

LibraryThing Author

Sara Zarr is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

profile page | author page

Popular covers

Quick Links


Average: (4)
1 1
2 9
2.5 1
3 24
3.5 13
4 88
4.5 12
5 47


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 195,030,160 books! | Top bar: Always visible