Story of a Girl

by Sara Zarr

When she was thirteen, Deanna Lambert’s dad caught her having sex with seventeen-year-old... read more

When she was thirteen, Deanna Lambert’s dad caught her having sex with seventeen-year-old Tommy Webber. “I didn’t love him. I’m not even sure I liked him.” In the two years since, Deanna has not been able to move beyond that moment. At school, she’s often treated like a nonentity or someone deserving of abuse. At home, she’s been stripped of her father’s affection, while her ineffective mother is unable to bridge the gap. Her dream of moving out keeps her going. Her older brother, Darren, and his girlfriend, Stacy, are living in the basement with their baby. Stacy faces constant criticism from their dad, while Darren is an obvious disappointment to him. They all need to get out of that house, and if Deanna earns enough to help out, she’s sure they can get a place together. But the only job Deanna can find is at a rundown pizza joint, and her night shift coworker is none other than Tommy Webber. Sara Zarr’s insightful and unforgettable debut novel is heartbreaking and transformative. Over the course of a summer that delivers one painful jolt of reality after another, Deanna plants the seeds of her own healing as she finally confronts the hurt and confusion she has held inside. Zarr paints a remarkable portrait of a family unable to communicate, drawing characters that are achingly real in their inability to express love or talk about hurt and anger. They all make small missteps and huge mistakes, but ultimately come through in moments that matter most, to the best that they are able. Sometimes, that’s enough. Sometimes, it’s a beginning. (Age 13 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2008

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