2007

Story of a Girl

By Sara Zarr

Current & Digital Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.

Reading Level: Ages 12 & Up

Lilli Leight writes:

Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr is a brilliant novel that follows the story of the main character, Deanna Lambert. At thirteen years of age, Deanna’s father caught her in a very compromising position with Tommy, her older brother’s friend, in the back seat of his car. As a result, Deanna cruelly is known as the school slut, even though Tommy was the only boy she had been with. Deanna, for multiple reasons, is extremely uncomfortable with herself as she hates being labeled as a slut, but fortunately finds some comfort in several close friends.

Deanna feels terrible, as she knows that her father no longer looks at her in the same way that he used to since the day he discovered her in the back seat of her boyfriend's car. Deanna wishes she could go back in time, and erase her father finding her in that way. Deanna knows that her parents are disappointed with her, and simply put, feels that her family life is falling apart.

As Deanna gets older and the torments at school continue, she continues to shrug off her peers' relentless harassment―until the day she comes into contact with the boy who caused her all of the trouble in the very first place. The novel Story of a Girl describes how the consequences of one action, good or bad, or one choice can change one's life forever. Story of a Girl shows how high school experiences can affect personal development, and how stereotypes can really damage how one views oneself. Story of a Girl is filled with emotional revelations and incidents that will surely take the reader on an emotional journey of their own.

Lilli Leight was a 2012 Innovations in Reading Prize winner. A high school student in Florida, Leight founded a giving library in the Family Resource Center at Chapman Partnership, where she volunteers with homeless and struggling families.

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YPL Finalists That Year:

YPL Winner That Year: Sherman Alexie for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Judges That Year: Pete Hautman, James Howe, Patricia McCormick, Elizabeth Partridge, Scott Westerfeld

The Year in Literature: The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron won the Newbery Medal. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang won the Printz Award.

More Information: Zarr says Robert Cormier’s books were the first young adult books she could actually relate to as a child. You can read more about the effect his books had on her life and work in the essay she wrote for The Book That Changed My Life here.

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