Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr


Zarr, Sara. Story of a Girl. New York: Hachette Book Group USA, 2007.


Deanna Lambert was 13 years old when her father caught her having sex in the backseat of Tommy's car in the old Chart House parking lot. The story of what happened spreads through the small town of Pacifica. Three years later and everyone still whispers about her and she is known as the school slut. She cannot shake her bad reputation. Her father still has a difficult time looking at Deanna and talking to her. She has a good relationship with her older brother who is raising a child with his girlfriend Stacy in the basement of their house. Deanna gets a job at a pizza shop in town to raise money in hopes she can move out of her house with her brother and his family. She discovers that Tommy is working at that pizza shop too. His presence still bothers her and it leads up to a confrontation at the end of the book which brings closure to their relationship. She has only two close friends Jason and Lee that she can talk to. She is jealous of Lee and almost destroys their friendship. Deanna learns to get past her one huge mistake and continue with her life.

Critical Analysis:

This story is a problem novel of a young girl who makes a big mistake at 13 years. old. The plot is realistic. It is very believable that a young girl may have been caught by her father in the backseat of her boyfriend's car. The setting is a small town which helps make the plot even more believable. Rumors spread quickly in a small town. Deanna feels she can never get away from everyone talking about her. The author Sara Zarr allows the character of Deanna to become real through what she says and thinks. The reader feels bad for the way she is made fun of and the names she is called. The scene in the mall where the boy reaches between her legs in line at a fast food restaurant because he wanted self serve shows how cruel other students can be towards Deanna. The reader can almost feel how terrible Deanna feels at this point. The story flows smoothly and the reader is left to think about how Deanna learns to go on with her life. She had to learn to deal with her problem of having sex at a very young age and how it has changed her.

Strengths and Weaknesses:

One of the strengths of this book is the plot is very believable. It is about an issue young teens will deal with. The character Deanna lets us know how she thinks and feels so we understand her problem.


E. Lockhart states that it "throws a sharp right hook at the assumptions people make about girls who have sex early."

Chris Crutcher states "this is a hell of a good book."

Lael Littke states "I literally stood up and cheered.... A rare and wonderful book."
Cynthis Leitich Smith states "A heartfelt, realistic novel about being defined by one moment, one choice, and then having to reinvent who you are... An evocative, thoughtful read from a debut author to watch."

Mary Pearson states "Masterfully explores the many layers and degrees of forgiveness. Theses are people you will recognize and never forget."

Keith Dixon states "Tender and sad, critical yet redemptive...A complex, rawly affecting portrait of a young woman unfairly harried by a past indiscretion."

John Green states " Sara Zarr's first novel tells an engrossing story with exquisitely drawn characters. Story of a Girl is the rarest mix: It's both impossible to put down and the kind of book that stays with you long after you've finished reading it."

Andrew Auseon states " Anyone who has ever made a mistake that they regretted will find themselves at home in these pages. Story of a Girl may be fiction, but it overflows with hard truths."

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