Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr

I posted my review of Zarr's newest title, Sweethearts, a couple of weeks ago and realized I had never posted a review of her first novel. Better late than never I guess! I enjoyed this one just as much as Sweethearts and am probably one of many that hope Zarr is already at work on a third (and fourth!).

In Story of a Girl, we learn that Deanna, our main character, was caught having sex with a much older boy by none other than her father when she was only 13. Her life was already going on a pretty horrible path, but that one night ruined not only her reputation, but her relationship with her dad. She is scared, lost, and the one man in her life that actually meant something to her will no longer look her in the eye.

Fast forward three years later and Deanna is still known as the school slut. It doesn't matter that she hasn't been touched by another boy since that last night with Tommy; it's high school and in those years what people first learn about you is what you are branded by until you leave. Her dad still won't look at her, her brother and his girlfriend live in the basement with their baby girl, and her mother is an emotional wreck. Deanna only has 2 friends to confide her troubles in and unfortunately she is in love with one of them, who just happens to be dating the third member of their trio. She gets a job at a trashy pizza parlor in hopes of making enough money to help herself move out of her parent's disfunctional household. Trouble even follows her to her job when she finds out the infamous Tommy, Mr. Virginity-taker, works there as well. Deanna just can't seem to get a break, no matter how hard she tries to do the right thing and just be happy as herself. Everywhere she turns there is another obstacle blocking her way to happiness.

I love it when certain sentences or paragraphs really stick out as I'm reading the story. My favorite line in Story of a Girl has stuck with me since I finished reading it months ago, and I still have it written down in a notebook today.

" 'How am I supposed to find my own way out,' I repeated, tears rolling down my face, 'when every time I turn around...there's me?' :

I've personally felt that way so many times, though could never put it quite as eloquently as Sara Zarr has. A lot of times, as is the case with Deanna, our own worst enemy is ourselves and until we let go of whatever is making is come unhinged, we simply can't move on to the good stuff in life. Though I didn't go through the same things Deanna went through, I could certainly relate to the way she felt as a teen, going through tough stuff and feeling she didn't have a whole lot of people to turn to. This is an excellent book for young adults (and us adults too!) and I know that Sara Zarr is going to have a fantastic career as an author of this genre of books.

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