Zarr's first novel, Story of a Girl, was a National Book Award finalist, and her third novel, Once Was Lost, was described in BookPage as "part realistic fiction, part mystery, part religious story and all together one gentle, smart read that features believable characters, flaws and all."
I like Zarr's work because no matter how many dystopian/post-apocalyptic/paranormal YA books I read—my heart will always be with realistic contemporary stories filled which characters in a world that I recognize.*
How to Save a Life is the story of two teens, Jill and Mandy. Jill's father recently died and her mother plans to adopt a baby, and Mandy is pregnant, and wants a better life for her child than what she is able to give.
This summer at the American Library Association's conference in New Orleans, Zarr dropped by the BookPage booth to talk about the process of writing a dual narrative, why this book was a joy to write and why she writes for teens. Check it out:
Do you have any favorite authors who have books coming out this month? Today?
*I enjoy the paranormal stuff, too, but even as a kid I liked realistic stories the best. Prime example: Madeleine L'Engle is my favorite author of all time . . . but I always preferred the Chronos framework to the Kairos books. Bonus points of that means anything to you! What are your preferences re: contemporary realism vs. paranormal?