STORY OF A GIRL Goes Well with WCW and TFO

One of the things I love about reading YA is discovering new company for books I love–especially imagining how I’d group them and what recommendations I’d offer to folks who’ve loved a book.

Here’s the Library of Congress book summary:

In the three years since her father caught her in the back seat of a car with an older boy, sixteen-year-old Deanna’s life at home and school has been a nightmare, but while dreaming of escaping with her brother and his family, she discovers the power of forgiveness.

A while back I blogged about connections between Blythe Woolston’s The Freak Observer and my first novel, What Can’t Wait. For readers who liked either or both, my next recommendation would be Story of a Girl. Some common denominators: family tensions, financial stress, a sibling/niece who is a source of concern and love, identity quests, and less-than-healthy encounters with the opposite sex.

In Story of a Girl, Zarr cracks open and humanizes a character whose self-esteem has taken a hit because of bad choices and the bad luck of living in a small town where fresh starts are hard to come by. And everything about Deanna’s thought process (as a very young teen drawn to the attention of an older guy) rings true–to be desired (and noticed) at that age is just intoxicating–and dangerous for sense of self. I had similar thoughts and responses when I got a little of the wrong kind of attention from my older brother’s friend when I was twelve.

Another something amazing: Zarr shows how friendship can reshape our lives–and our ways of responding to hurt. When Deanna betrays a friend and receives forgiveness for it, that starts to change how she relates to other people in her life, including her dad and the boy who took advantage of her when she was just a girl.

Read more about my thoughts on teens and sex here. Because teens do have bodies that matter, and sex is part of what we all think and live.

PS I give Deanne permission to like her English teacher and keep a writer’s notebook because she isn’t all dorky and pretentious about it (as I probably was back when I was in high school). Consider her untouched by the gripes in this earlier rant.


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