The Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr (224 pages)
Overview: Deanne's life was never the same after her father caught her and junior boy, Tommy, in the back of Tommy's Buick when she was thirteen. Labeled the school slut by Tommy's distorted stories, Deanne has hated school and the whole town of Pacifica ever since. At home, her father never forgave her, her mother tries her best with their tiny income, and her brother, Darren, lives in the basement with his girlfriend, Stacy, and his daughter, April. Though Deanne dreams of moving out of her parent's house with Darren and Stacy when she saves up enough money from her job at the pizza place, she's not sure if she can make it happen. Overall: 3
Characters: 3 I liked Deanne as a narrator. I found her story compelling and special, even though she could have used a bit more development. Her friends, Jason and Lee, also lacked a certain dimension. Where the characters excel are in Deanne's troubled family who is vibrant and exceptionally real feeling.
Plot: 3 I thought that the story was good, and I enjoyed watching Deanne sort through her feelings about Tommy three years later, I was never quite sure what the point of the story was, what it was building to. My guess was that it would either end with her moving out or learning to deal with not getting to move. But I was mostly wrong. When I turned the last page, I thought I still had thirty percent more of the book left to read (as my Kindle said), but the story was over. Everything after it was author interviews and acknowledgements. I felt a bit like Zarr just got up and walked away 3/4 of the way through.
Writing: 3 I like Zarr's writing. Though it can feel a bit underdeveloped at times, I loved the story she told and how she made it so much more nuanced than the book description. The story she told was excellent, though I wish there was a bit more of it. I love Zarr's books because she makes them stick in your brain afterwards. I also love her focus and ability to make family relationships shine and to represent people from lower economic brackets.
Links of Interest:
Calling My Name: Review Here
Always Forever Maybe: Review Here
Author Interview with Laura Creedle: Article Here
Love Letters of Abelard and Lily: Review Here