Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr
Sara Zarr, between Sweethearts and Story, you can do no wrong. Keep cranking out solid books for your YA collection and Sarah Dessen better watch her back because you just might snatch away her title as the ‘Judy Blume of the OMFG generation.’ Or there may be a tie. If Pacino and De Niro can co-exist in cinema, surely the world won’t implode if both Dessen and Zarr steps into Blume’s hard-to-fill shoes.
Fifteen year old Deanna Lambert is not a happy Pacifica native. Branded the “school skank” because her father caught her doing the deed in the backseat of a car, Deanna wants out of her suffocating house and out of her small minded town. But a summer job at a local pizza parlor brings her closer to Tommy-of-the-backseat. Two years ago, Tommy’s loose locker room talk stained Deanna’s good name with skankdom.
Despite pulling the shady Dimmesdale on Deanna, I found myself warming to Tommy. In a lesser book, Tommy would be your stereotypical player in desperate need of a swift kick to the balls. But in Story, Tommy is just a little bit sad. He’s nineteen and working in a rundown pizza parlor. There’s no hint that he’s college bound. While I’m confident Deanna is going places (maybe she’ll become a famous writer?), Tommy is going nowhere.
I think the scene that really struck a chord with me and made me realize that I was reading something special was the part when Deanna confronted Tommy in the car. You start to see a crack in his veneer. Beneath his aloof shell, he was sorry for what he did to her, but he was too scared or cowardly to tell her. Tommy is a redeemable character and when you’ve read as many books as I have, a good redeemable character is hard to find.
Since this book is set in North Cal, I’ll speak like North Cal natives do: This book is hella good.
Sara Zarr, you are hella awesome. If any writer could pen this generation’s Forever, you can. In fact, you can do it better. I’m hella impressed and now I realize I’m hella annoying. Um…look! Collage!