- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (January 10, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316014532
- ISBN-13: 978-0316014533
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 109 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,035,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Story of a Girl Hardcover – January 10, 2007
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From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 9 Up—When Deanna's father catches her having sex in a car when she is 13, her life is drastically changed. Two years later, he still can't look her in the eye, and though Tommy is the only boy she's been with, she is branded the school slut. Her entire family watches her as though she is likely to sleep with anyone she sees, and Tommy still smirks at and torments her when she sees him. Her two best friends have recently begun dating, and Deanna feels like an intruder. She tries to maintain a close relationship with her older brother, but Darren and his girlfriend are struggling as teenage parents. Deanna learns to protect herself by becoming outwardly tough, but feels her isolation acutely. Her only outlet is her journal in which she writes the story of an anonymous girl who has the same experiences and feelings that she does. Through this, readers see the potential that Deanna cannot identify in herself. This is a heartbreaking look at how a teenager can be defined by one mistake, and how it shapes her sense of self-worth. This is realistic fiction at its best. Zarr's storytelling is excellent; Deanna's reactions to the painful things said to her will resonate with any reader who has felt like an outsider. It is an emotionally charged story, with language appropriate to the intensity of the feelings. Story of a Girl is recommended for both teens and the adults who live and work with them.—Stephanie L. Petruso, Anne Arundel County Public Library, Odenton, MD
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* Deanna was 13 when her father caught her and 17-year-old Tommy having sex. Three years later, she is still struggling with the repercussions: how Tommy jokingly made her into the school slut; how the story became legend in her small town; how her father looked at her then--and now doesn't look at her at all. Her brother, Darren, has mistakes to handle, too: he lives with his girlfriend and their baby in his parents' basement. And while Deanna's mother seems numb, her father is perpetually angry and depressed. Meanwhile, in a misguided search for love brought on by the confusion of seeing Tommy again, Deanna intentionally hurts her two closest friends. Although she's more aware than most how a single event can define a person, Deanna still struggles to gain insight into herself, her family, and her friends. When she finally does, she's able to create small but positive changes in her relationships with them all. Characters are well drawn, especially Deanna, whose complicated, deeply felt emotions turn the story. There are plenty of heartbreaking moments, too, including a poignant confrontation with Tommy. Though nothing is miraculously fixed by the close, everyone's perspective has changed for the better. This is a thoughtful, well-executed debut from an author who understands how to write for teens. Krista Hutley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
Although I felt like a lot of the relationships depicted in the book were raw and really realistic, I kept feeling like the relationship between Deanna and her father was a little too over the top to be believable. I felt like they should have made more progress in their relationship in three years, especially since Deanna seems not to have put a foot wrong in those three years. Since they were so close before the incident when Deanna was thirteen, it felt a little off to me that their relationship would break down so completely and just stay broken for years.
In contrast, I thought Deanna's relationship with her brother was very authentic, and I loved the book's portrayals of her friendships with Lee and Jason. Zarr does a wonderful job in portraying the ups and downs of friendships - especially the difficulties of trios - and I liked the way the relationships between Deanna, Lee and Jason grow and change throughout the book. Zarr definitely has a great understanding of how teenage relationships work, and it was nice to see such a real depiction of that.
I did like the messages that Story of a Girl communicated, about how stifling life in a small town can be, and the injustice of how one poor choice in your past can completely change how you are perceived by your peers. Story of a Girl makes the reader really think about the importance of reputation, and examines just how misleading a person's reputation can be.
Story of a Girl was, for the most part, an interesting read and an honest, gritty depiction of small town life. It's not a light read and it's not meant to be. It definitely carries an important message to teens, in a way that might actually reach them. It wasn't a personal favorite of mine, but it's a book that has value and I can see why it has so many good reviews.
I downloaded this one for a quick read after scanning over some of the reviews. I wasn't sure if I would get to into it, but oh man, I was wrong. Sara Zarr has a great way of telling you the story from Deanna's point of view, but also letting you into the glimpses of what others are saying/thinking too. My heart just broke for Deanna the entire book. I cried (several times) from feeling her pain, confusion, and loneliness. At one part she even writes in her journal "I, Deanna Lambert, belong to no one, and no one belongs to me. I don't know what to do." I just wanted to wrap her in my arms and tell her it would be ok. I also wanted to smack her parents up side the head for the way they have dealt with the situation. She's such a real and relatable character (from the things she says to the way she thinks) that you can't help but love her.
While Deanna struggles to rebuild her life, sure she makes some more mistakes in the process (just like we all do in life), but you just can't help rooting for her to find some closure and be able to move on. I think many girls could benefit from reading this book.
Most recent customer reviews
Totally recommend it.