Thursday, March 24, 2011

Saving Zoe by Alyson Noel

It's been a year since her older sister's murder, and Echo is still far from being completely okay. Since Zoe's untimely demise, Echo has been trying her hardest to be the strong one, while her mother takes too many antidepressents and her father works too much. But at the start of her freshmen year of high school, Echo receives an unlikely gift from Zoe's old boyfriend: her diary. Echo is hesitant to read it, but can't put it down after she gets caught up in Zoe's secret life. Will Echo be able to learn to separate her and Zoe's lives, all while saving Zoe's memory?

I thought that Saving Zoe was an extraordinary novel. It was sad and tragic, but remained full of hope until the very end.

My favorite parts were reading Zoe's diary along with Echo, because she was very enigmatic and mysterious. She also got into quite a bit of trouble, like partying, drinking, hooking up with guys, but it just made her a better character, in my eyes. Zoe did the things most people wish they could do and get away with it. Even from journal entries, you could tell that Zoe had a zest for life unlike anyone else, which makes her murder even worse. Unfortunately, Zoe's reckless behavior is also what led to her death, but I'll let you guys figure that one out. What's also sad is that Echo learns more about her sister from the diary than she did living with her for thirteen years. But Echo comes to understand Zoe better than ever, and I loved how Saving Zoe showed that the bonds of sisterhood could actually be strengthened after death. I do wish there was more about Zoe and Echo and their relationship before Zoe's death, because that's something I think was lacking.

It might seem that Zoe stole the show in this novel, but Echo was also a well-written and developed character on her own. From the beginning, you can tell that Echo looks up to her older sister, and when she starts to read her diary, Echo even begins to act like Zoe. But soon Echo realizes that she doesn't need to actually be her sister in order to remember her and love her and preserve her memory. I loved seeing Echo accept her sister's death and come to terms with the mistakes she made.

All in all, I though that Saving Zoe is very well-written and poignant, and will appeal to fans of books about sisters, life, death, and everything in between.

Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: reviewed for Flamingnet Student Review program.

2007/St. Martin's Griffin/240 pages.

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