How to Save a Life, the new novel by my favorite YA novelist, Sara Zarr, is now in stores. I highly recommend it as a gift for any young adult you know who is willing to sit down, open a book, and pay attention. (I understand that we’re talking about an endangered species.)
I’ve been following Sara’s work since before her first novel was published, as we met in a fiction workshop in Santa Fe. It’s been a joy to see her work embraced and celebrated. And I’m thrilled to have contributed a very small piece to the new project: the author photo. (Sara and her husband joined Anne and me for a week’s vacation at Fort Casey on Whidbey Island, where I happened to snap that shot.)
As reluctant as I am to talk about “themes” in my work or to explain it or myself, I can see, after four published novels and three unpublished, that this idea of intentional family, of claiming and being claimed, is one of the themes lurking beneath and hovering around all of my work. My stories seem to always involve people choosing to love other people, in spite of the pain those people have sometimes brought them, in spite of the way they let each other down, in spite of both their minor imperfections and deep flaws.