I finished Sara Zarr’s wonderful debut novel, Story of a Girl, a few weeks ago. There’s not much more I can say about this novel that others haven’t already said. Great characters. Great dialogue. Great story.
I like that Zarr began the novel three years after Deanna’s incident (getting caught with an older boy, Tommy Webber, in the back of his Buick), instead of at the time of the incident itself. While the event is important, I think it’s even more fascinating to take a step back and see how the characters deal with the aftermath. And while there are certainly characters in the book that make bad decisions, no one is clearly the “bad guy” (although you can make an argument that Tommy is pretty rotten). Everyone is a fault, at least a little, which makes the novel ring with authenticity. Also, I like that while the novel doesn’t tie everything up nicely, it leaves the reader with a sense of hope.
My favorite scene is where Deanna and her father finally have it out. It’s an argument that’s been brewing for three years. Zarr, with her mastery of dialogue and pacing, does not disappoint.