Story of a Girl Summary & Study Guide

Sara Zarr
This Study Guide consists of approximately 34 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Story of a Girl.
This section contains 661 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Story of a Girl Summary & Study Guide Description

Story of a Girl Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr.

This novel for young adults is exactly what its title proclaims - the story of a girl, seventeen-year-old Deanna, as she struggles to put a painful incident from her past behind her and move into a more hopeful future. As it portrays Deanna's relationships with family and friends and with herself, the narrative also explores themes related to the power of forgiveness and the necessity for honesty.

The narrative begins with a prologue, a brief description of events when Deanna was thirteen years old - specifically, her father's discovery of Deanna having sex with seventeen-year-old Tommy in the back seat of his car.

The narrative begins three years later, when Deanna is seventeen and on the last day of her sophomore year, being taunted by seniors who have all heard the story of what happened the night Deanna got caught. Deanna is rescued from her tormentors by her best friend Jason with whom, Deanna reveals in narration, she would like to have more of a relationship but who happens to be going out with her other best friend, Lee. Life at home for Deanna isn't much better - her father is unable to either forgive or forget what he saw her doing that night, her mother avoids any sort of conflict whatsoever, and her brother Darren lives in the basement with his girlfriend, former party girl Stacy) and their infant daughter April.

Deanna fantasizes about one day moving into an apartment with Darren and his family, and in order to earn some money to enable that to happen, gets a job at Picasso's, a pizza place where, she is shocked to discover, Tommy also works. Realizing that she doesn't have much choice, Deanna accepts the reality of the situation and strives to keep distance between her and Tommy, but he continues to call her by an old nickname (which she now hates) and to insinuate they should get back together. For her part, Deanna still finds him attractive, and over the course of her summer employment, finds it increasingly difficult to resist him. At the same time, things become more and more difficult at home (Stacy, frustrated with her life as a teenage mother, unexpectedly moves out, leaving a resentful Darren and tearful April behind) and with Jason (while Lee is away at camp, Deanna confesses her true feelings to Jason and the two of them kiss).

Upset over the situation at home and feeling guilty about what happened with Jason, the increasingly vulnerable Deanna lets herself get taken by Tommy to the beach where they used to make out. They start back into their old sexual routine, but Deanna breaks away, realizing that she wants something more for herself than what she had before. Taking advantage of her new courage and belief in honesty, she convinces Darren to forgive Stacy (who by this time has returned) and in an intense confrontation, lets her father know how much his distance has hurt her. When her mom insists that her dad say that he loves her, he is unable to and leaves.

As the summer draws to a close, Darren and Stacy decide to move out into a place of their own, compassionately refusing Deanna's offers of money and saying she can't move in (because she needs to find her own way of escaping life in the house) but adding that she will be more than welcome to babysit. Meanwhile, Deanna finds herself able to forgive Tommy, and Jason preempts Deanna's intention to apologize to Lee by apologizing himself. Then, a couple of days before school begins, Deanna's dad offers to help her find a car to buy with the money she had saved to move in with Darren - a gesture that she sees as an opening towards reconciliation. Finally, when she arrives at school for the first day, Deanna is met by both Jason and Lee and the three of them face the coming year together.

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This section contains 661 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Story of a Girl Study Guide
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