I’ve just read a fantastic book that I highly recommend for the high school reader in your life. Story of a Girl tells the story of Deanna Lambert, a sophomore in high school who was found in the backseat of a car with an older by when she was thirteen. The thing is, the boy was seventeen and the so-called best friend of her brother. And she and this boy, Tommy Webber, were doing more than talking. And the person who discovered them was her father, who dragged her out of the car, took her home, and hasn’t looked her in the eye since.
The reader learns all of this in the prologue, so this well-written and moving novel focuses on Deanna’s life after the event. Unfortunately for Deanna, Tommy has a big mouth and spreads the story the next day. Soon the entire town knows about Deanna’s activities – and they are not quick to forget. In fact, it’s been three years and kids still taunt her at school. The people where her father works are still talking about her, too.
So how do you get on with your life after you make a huge mistake and are labeled as slut-for-life in your school and town? How do you know who to trust? How do you even begin to figure out why you did what you did and what that means about you as a person?
Sara Zarr covers all of this and more in this novel, told to the reader by Deanna herself. Deanna is likable: she’s not whining or blaming anybody else for what she did. She’s not expecting anyone else to solve her problem. She’s trying to figure it all out with minimal input from her parents – and what she gets from her dad at all is utterly negative. She has her brother for support, as well as her oldest friend – Jason – and one new girl at school who hears directly from Deanna about her time with Tommy and simply says, “Well, everyone has stuff they wish they could change, right?”
Deanna hasn’t had much practice being a friend and slips up a few times with Lee. She also has to learn that her dreams of a perfect future are not realistic – for anyone. Ultimately, Deanna has to learn to stand up for herself.
Rating: 5 stars
Sex scenes: 0
Awards: National Book Award Finalist
Sara Zarr’s Blog