Saving Zoe

January 25, 2009
By Danielle Thoma, Sea Girt, NJ

It is hard enough loosing your older sister in a mysterious murder, but things can get a bit out of hand when you try to follow in her foot steps; especially when she was anything but a clean role model. The overall theme in Saving Zoe, by Alyson Noel, is facing challenges in life and moving on. It would be sectioned in the romance or drama category because a large portion of the book revolves around journal entries about boyfriends but is also very heart- braking at the same time.

Alyson Noel was born and raised in Orange County, California and she attended Richard Nixon Elementary School for two years. She later moved to Manhattan and worked as a flight attendant for a major airline. She claims that she wrote her first book, Faking 19, whenever there were unexpected delayed flights. Alyson has won a few awards for the several novels she has written and currently lives in Laguna Beach with her husband.
In this devastating yet inappropriate story, a quiet, bright, fourteen year old named Echo is starting high school when she gets her hands on her sister's private diary. It was just last year that Zoe had been killed due to overly exposing herself on the internet. As Echo reads her misbehaved sister's entries, she longs to follow in her foot steps. However, that is not exactly a positive thing, considering Zoe did drugs, smoked, drank alcohol, and did scandalous things with the boys.

Alyson Noel's writing gives off a very “teenage” vibe and tone. She uses a lot of terms and sayings that today's high school kids tend to say but however were not exactly clean or anywhere near appropriate. The author did an accurate job really making the entire book seem as if you absolutely were trapped inside a fourteen year old girl's mind. However, I believe that the author took this “voice” and almost made it a little over the top at times.

If I were to recommend or share this novel with someone I would never, under any circumstances, consider anyone under the age of fourteen to read it. It was way too inappropriate and explicit because it could easily influence an immature teenager. There is no need to be writing such dirty details that most people would clearly be disturbed or disgusted by. The printed cover may make it seem like the reader is about to pick up a cute, tear jerker about friendship, but it happens to be very misleading.

Even though the content may have been between pg-13 and R, the book never kept you yawning or forcing yourself to finish it. The story has two positive messages under all the Britney Spears- like actions. Echo was always trying to be like Zoe, when clearly she was the complete opposite. So in that case, readers were taught to be true to who they are. Second, you should never put scandalous, nude photos of yourself where the whole world has instant access too and never meet with someone that you meet online. Unfortunately, Zoe's family had to learn that the hard way.

Reading Saving Zoe makes you realize that these devastating tragedies do happen in today's world. It gives you the chance to really explore inside the brain of a teenage girl facing the death of her sister. While one minute the book is unnecessary the next it makes you stop and think about how you will make sure you will personally avoid those mistakes. However, maybe wait until high school to read this one unless you are ready for a shock.

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