Written by National Book Award Finalist, Sara Zarr, How to Save a Life is poignant, moving, and thought-provoking. This story is told in alternating chapters between Jill, whose father has died and whose mother is adopting a baby, and Mandy, teen birth mother and lost soul searching for love and a place to belong. Both characters are rich, complex, and endearing in their own way. Jill is absolutely devastated by the loss of her father, with whom she was extremely close. Mandy has lived a life of neglect and abuse, is fragile and in desperate need of someone to mother her. Subject matter is weighty, though realistic and relatable. Teen sex takes place, one such incident leading to Mandy's pregnancy. Language is strong and somewhat prevalent (a-shole, sh-t, h-ll, b-tch, cr-p). Mandy had been sexually abused by her mother's boyfriend for an extended period of time, and she suffers a great deal of emotional pain as a result. Her relationship with her neglectful and harsh mother is a sad and damaging one. The journeys these characters take from places of pain and anguish through some seriously turbulent times, lead them to need one another in ways they could not have imagined or predicted. Important messages are conveyed with regard to the curve balls and detours life throws at us, that both life and death change us, and that there are many roads to family and home.