Nan’s Notes: Story of a Girl

by Sara Zarr

  • Pub. Date: January 2007
  • young adult/realistic fiction
  • 192 pages


  • 2007 National Book Award Finalist
  • American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults
  • ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers
  • International Reading Association Honor Book
  • International Reading Association Choices Book
  • New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age
  • Capitol Choices Pick
  • TX Tayshas Pick
  • Utah Book Award Finalist

Deanna, the narrator, was caught by her father having sex with her brother’s  best friend. The stigma of this stays with her over the next few years at school with Deanna and the rest of the school having trouble moving on from the incident. The relationship with her father was also damaged and continues to cause problems at home.

I really wanted to love this story. The synopsis on the back of the book intrigued me and I saw all the awards and honors it had won. But I felt detached throughout most of the book. Detached is how many of the characters felt with each other, so maybe that is what the author wanted me to feel… but I don’t think so. The other problem I had with the story is that the ending was very predictable.

I thought the author did a good job of conveying Deanna’s feeling of isolation and loneliness. I felt Deanna’s frustration with herself when she was angry that she kept doing or saying the wrong thing with those around her. I think everyone has had time or two when everything you said and did came out wrong. You can appear  mad at those around you, when you are really angry with  yourself.

There are a couple of characters I really liked. Deanna’s best friend Jason and her boss Michael stood out to me.  I enjoyed the conversations that Deanna and Michael had together. But one thing is for certain… I don’t think I ever would eat at that pizza place!

This is my first book of 2010! Woo hoo!

This copy of the book was borrowed from a friend.



4 Responses

  1. I tried to read this book last year and couldn’t finish it!! I had such high hopes for it too!

  2. This was one of my first YA books last year and I really didn’t like it at all. I grew up in an area that had lots of families like Deanna’s, and this just wasn’t a very accurate portrayal. I especially disliked how everything was so unbelievably put together at the end.

  3. Congrats on the first book!

  4. Emily – I’m glad I’m not the only one who felt like that.

    Amanda – Yes, the ending was tied up a bit too neatly.

    Bookjourney – Thanks!

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