Book Review: Story of a Girl

Story of a Girl
Published By: Little, Brown Young Readers
Release Date: 2007
Buy it at Amazon
Source: Library
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Audiobook

Story of a Girl is a poignant tale that illustrates that everyone has the ability to change and find goodness no matter what mistakes they may have made in the past. Sara Zarr's debut novel is a triumph and one that carries a strong message for teens and adults alike. Story of a Girl follows Deanna Lambert as she struggles to live down the town slut title that she was awarded at the tender age of thirteen when her father finds her in a compromising position with one of her older brother's seventeen year old friends. The story of the unlikely couple sweeps through the tiny town of Pacifica, California like wildfire. While Tommy, the guy involved, is seen as a hero by many of his peers, Deanna is seen as nothing more than a skank.

I never had the experience of Deanna in high school, but I can recall the girls that had the same label she did. While I avoided picking on people with that status - I can honestly say that I didn't have any friends with those experiences either. This book really made me look back upon my own youth and think about some of the choices I made. I wish I had read something like this back then because it might have changed the way I viewed and interacted with others. Deanna's story is one that will resonant with many teens and hopefully give them pause to evaluate their own judgement and interactions at school.

Furthermore, not only is Deanna dealing with the comments and issues at school, but she is also struggling at home. Her mother loves her, but is constantly working and rarely takes time to just listen when Deanna needs someone to talk to. Her father, on the other hand, pretends like his daughter doesn't exist. He never meets her eyes or calls her by name after the incident. Deanna can't wait until the moment she can leave home for good. This aspect of the story really broke my heart. I felt so bad for her - she was dealing with so many things and had no support system in her family.

This book may be difficult for many. Deanna is not a happy teen - she is not one of those good girl types that everyone roots for in books. She is flawed; she doesn't always see the true value in herself which at times makes it difficult for the reader to be on her side. However, these flaws make her real. I also had some serious issues with the way Deanna is treated. Any thirteen year old engaging in an adult relationship with a seventeen year old us crying for help. Also, I was appalled that more didn't happen to Tommy as a result - nobody pressed charges, nobody thought to make sure that Deanna had counseling to deal with the psychological trauma. Deanna is the victim, but she is treated throughout the book as the problem. I also have to wonder how her parents didn't see the writing on the wall and protect their child.

The audiobook was read by the author and I really enjoyed it overall. It was interesting to hear the woman who wrote the words speaking them aloud. She knew exactly how Deanna would sound and react to situations. I would highly recommend this one in audio format.

One Last Gripe: I like that the book ended on a somewhat positive note, but I wish I knew that Deanna was going to end up having a better life for sure.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: Deanna's writing about the girl on the waves

First Sentence: I was thirteen when my dad caught me Tommy Webber in the back of Tommy's Buick, parked next to the old Chart House down in Montara at eleven o'clock on a Tuesday night.

Favorite Character: Jason

Least Favorite Character: Mr. Lambert

When she is caught in the backseat of a car with her older brother's best friend - Deanna Lambert's teenage life is changed forever. Struggling to overcome the lasting repercussions and the stifling role of "school slut," she longs to escape a life defined by her past. With subtle grace, complicated wisdom and striking emotion, The Story of a Girl reminds us of our human capacity for resilience, epiphany and redemption.


  1. This is a great review but the book does sound really sad. I don't know if I will put it in my TBR pile right away but I will definitely keep it on my radar.

  2. This one is a sad read with a silver lining. However, I would save it for a time when that kind of read will hit the spot.


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