Saving Zoë

( 121 )

Overview

In Alyson No?l's newest teen novel, one sister's secrets save the other's life?in more ways than one.

 

Meet fifteen-year-old Echo, a typical teen trying to survive high school without being totally traumatized by boy trouble, friend drama, and school issues.  As if she didn't have enough on her plate, Echo is also still dealing with the murder of her sister Zo?.  Although it's been over a year, Echo is still reeling from tragedy that changed everything.  ...

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Overview

In Alyson Noël's newest teen novel, one sister's secrets save the other's life—in more ways than one.

 

Meet fifteen-year-old Echo, a typical teen trying to survive high school without being totally traumatized by boy trouble, friend drama, and school issues.  As if she didn't have enough on her plate, Echo is also still dealing with the murder of her sister Zoë.  Although it's been over a year, Echo is still reeling from tragedy that changed everything.  Beautiful and full of life, Zoë was the glue that held her family together, and although the two sisters were as different as night and day, they still had a bond that Echo can't let go of.  When Zoë's old boyfriend Marc shows up one day with Zoë's diary, Echo doesn't think there's anything in there she doesn't already know.  But as she gives in to curiosity and starts reading, she learns that her sister led a secret life that no one could have guessed—not even Echo.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Alyson Noël finds the perfect balance of heartbreak and humor in this story about sisters, secrets and saying goodbye.  I loved every minute of it!”

–Hailey Abbott, author of the New York Times bestselling Summer Boys series

 

“Even though you know from page one where the story will eventually lead, Saving Zoë pulls off the amazing trick of keeping you guessing.  You have to follow along with Echo, the good sister chasing the tail of the “bad” one through the streets of darkest suburbia.  Prepare to read this in one long sitting. Think Chinatown. Think "Where are you going, where have you been?" Think Veronica Mars.”

–Maureen Johnson, author of Devilish

 

“Noel writes a smart and compelling story about life, love and loss that you won't be able to put down. Saving Zoe is a must-read.”

–Cara Lockwood, author of Wuthering High

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312355104
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2007
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 545,523
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 1040L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.44 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

ALYSON NOEL lives in Laguna Beach, California, where she is working on her next book.

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Read an Excerpt

One

They say there are five stages of grief:

1. Denial

2. Anger

3. Bargaining

4. Depression

5. Acceptance

Up until last year I didn't know there were lists like that. I had no idea people actually kept track of these things. But still, even if I had known, I never would've guessed that just a few days before my fourteenth birthday I'd be stuck in stage one.

But then you never think that kind of bad news will knock on your door. Because those kinds of stories, the kind that involve a stone-faced newscaster interrupting your favorite TV show to report a crucial piece of “late breaking news,” are always about someone else's unfortunate family. They're never supposed to be about yours.

But what made it even worse is that I was the first to know.

Well, after the cops.

And, of course, Zoë.

Not to mention the freak who was responsible for the whole mess in the first place.

And even though they didn't exactly say anything other than “May we please speak to your parents?” It was the regret on those two detectives' faces, the defeat in their weary eyes, that pretty much gave it all away.

It was after school and I was home alone, trying to keep to my standard cookie-eating, TV-watching, homework-avoiding routine, even though I really couldn't concentrate on any of it. I mean, normally at 4:10 p.m. both my parents would still be at work, my sister, Zoë, would be out with her boyfriend, and I would be sitting cross-legged on the floor, wedged between the couch and the coffee table, dunking Oreos into a tall glass of cold milk until my teeth were all black, the milk was all sopped up, and my stomach was all swollen and queasy.

So I guess in a way I was just trying to emulate all of that, go through the motions, and pretend everything was normal. That my parents weren't really out searching for Zoë, and that I wasn't already in denial long before I had good reason to be.

But now, almost a year later, I can honestly say that I'm able to check off stages one through three, and am settling into stage five. Though sometimes, in the early morning hours, when the house is quiet and my parents are still asleep, I find myself regressing toward four. Especially now that September's here, putting us just days away from the one-year anniversary of the last time Zoë shimmied up the big oak tree, climbed onto my balcony, and came in through my unlocked french doors.

I remember rolling over and squinting against the morning light, watching as she pressed her index finger to her smiling lips, her short red nail like the bottom of an upside-down exclamation point, as she performed her exaggerated, cartoonish, stealth tiptoe through my room, out my door, and down the hall.

Sometimes now, when I think back on that day, I add a whole new scene. One where, instead of turning over and falling back to sleep, I say something important, something meaningful, something that would've let her know, beyond all doubt, just how much I loved and admired her.

But the truth is, I didn't say anything.

I mean, how was I supposed to know that was the last time I'd ever see her?

 

Two

When the woman at the funeral home, the one in the long floral dress, with the frizzy french braid, asked for a picture of Zoë, my mom dropped her head in her hands and sobbed so hysterically that my dad pulled her close, clenched his jaw, and nodded firmly, as though he was already working on it.

I stared at the toe of my black Converse sneaker, noticing how the fabric was wearing thin, and wondering what that lady could possibly need a picture for. I guess it seemed like a weird request, considering how pretty much everywhere you looked in our town you'd see a picture of Zoë. And since my sister was always so elusive and hard to pin down in life, it seemed like I actually saw more of her after her disappearance than I had when she lived down the hall.

First there were the two “missing person” flyers taped to just about every available surface. One a stiff, grainy, black-and-white grabbed in a panic and copied from last year's yearbook. The other, one of Zoë's more recent headshots, depicting her as beautiful, loose, and happy, more like the sister I knew, that also included a generous reward for anyone with any information, no questions asked.

And then, as the days ticked by, her face started appearing just about everywhere-in newspapers, magazines, and nationally televised news reports. Even the makeshift memorial, built by well-wishers and propped up in front of our house, contained so many candles, poems, stuffed animals, angels, and photos of Zoë that it threatened to take over the entire street until my dad enlisted a neighbor's help and hauled it all away.

The funny thing was, Zoë had always dreamed of being a model, an actress, someone famous and admired by all. She longed for the day when she could escape our small, boring town, and go somewhere glamorous, like L.A., or New York, just someplace exciting and far from here. And so, while we were out searching, while we were busy smothering our doubt with hope, I played this kind of game in my head where I pretended that all of this was great exposure for Zoë and her future as a famous person. Like it was the ultimate casting call. And I spent those long, empty, thankless moments imagining how excited she'd be when she finally came home and saw her face plastered all across the nation.

But then later, in the mortuary, as I watched my parents make the world's most depressing arrangements, encouraged into credit card debt by the man in the stark black suit who guided them toward the most luxurious casket, the most abundant flowers, and the whitest doves-sparing no expense at her memory-I sat wide-eyed, realizing the lucrative business of loss, while wondering if my mom got the irony behind Zoë's ambition and the woman's request, and if that's why she was crying so hard.

But then, I guess there were millions of reasons to cry that day. So it's not like I had to go searching for The One.

I didn't know why that woman wanted a photo, but I doubted my dad, grief stricken and distracted, would ever remember to give her one. So after they'd signed away their savings and were headed out the door, I reached into my old blue nylon wallet, the one with the surf brand sticker still partially stuck to the front, its edges frayed and curled all around, and retrieved the photo Zoë had given me just a few weeks before, the one that showcased her large dark eyes, generous smile, high cheekbones, and long wavy, dark hair. The one she'd planned to send to the big New York and L.A. agencies.

“Here,” I said, pressing it into the woman's soft, round hand, watching as she did the quick intake of breath I was so used to seeing when confronted with an image of Zoë for the very first time.

She looked at me and smiled, the fine lines around her blue eyes merging together until almost joining as one. “I'll be doing her makeup, and I want to get it just right. So, thank you-” She left that last part dangling, looking embarrassed that she knew all about my loss, but didn't know my name.

“Echo.” I smiled. “My name is Echo. And you can keep the picture. Zoë would've liked that.” Then I ran outside to catch up with my parents.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 121 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(75)

4 Star

(26)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 121 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A wonderfully touching book

    I know that this has been out a few years and I just never picked it up to read and now I wished I had done so earlier. Its a really sweet story about Echo, the younger sister to Zoe who was brutally murdered in their hometown a year earlier when the story starts. Echo is just starting high school, the same one that Zoe attended and is dealing with the gossip and stares she gets, as well as the boys she ran around with. When one boy, Marc, starts talking to her and giving her a cobalt blue book, she starts to really change. The book was Zoe's diary. The day she went missing and was killed she had given it to Marc to hold onto, and a year later he gives it to Echo. Once Echo starts to read her sisters thoughts she learns a whole new side to her dear sister. She learns that Marc was not the terrible person her parents made her think, he had nothing to do with her death, it was someone else. But the biggest thing she learned was the crowd of people she was hanging out with were really messed up and she needed to stay away from them at all costs.
    The ending is sweet, and very tear jerking. But the story is one that any teenage girl will love and I highly recommend it.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 15, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius" for TeensReadToo.com

    Fifteen-year-old Echo has had to deal with more tragedy than anyone, regardless of age, should have to bear. Her parents' relationship is made up of alternating periods of arguments and silence. Her two best friends, Abby and Jenay, seem to be drifting apart -- from her, and from each other. She has a boyfriend named Parker, a great guy that she can't seem to work up any emotion towards. And her older sister, Zoe, is still dead and gone. <BR/><BR/>Echo and Zoe could not have been more different. Echo is diligent in her studies, quite happy to take the quiet path of least resistance. Zoe, on the other hand, had the sunny, naive disposition that led her to live life however the mood struck her. In fact, it was that same sweet and fun personality that may have led to her death. <BR/><BR/>Zoe's boyfriend, Marc, is still struggling to deal with the death of the girl he loved. However, he has something that has helped him a great deal; something that he decides to give to Echo, to help her know the sister who no longer is. Zoe left her diary with Marc the last time they were together, and he's held onto it ever since. Now it's Echo's, and, at first, she resists reading it. After all, she already knew everything there was to know about Zoe, right? Turns out, not so much. <BR/><BR/>As Echo becomes immersed in the last few months of Zoe's life, she learns that she really didn't know her sister at all. The struggles, the insecurities, the traumas that her sister faced and never spoke about -- these aren't things that Echo would have ever associated with her bright, popular sister. As she delves deeper, into both the diary and the need to be like Zoe, Echo learns that although her sister will never return, she will always live in Echo's memory -- and in the justice that Echo is determined to get in her sister's name. <BR/><BR/>Although Alyson Noel is best known for her lighter, contemporary stories, she has taken a serious, heartbreaking plot line and turned it into a winner that you'll never forget. I found myself as immersed into Zoe's life as Echo did, and found it hard to put the book down the entire time I was reading. Ms. Noel has done an awesome job with this weightier subject matter, and I hope to read more stories in this vein from her in the future.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2012

    Great Book

    It is a very good book. I think alot of teenagers should read this book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    Great

    This book is a must read! It is one of her best. I couldnt put this book down. When my grandparents called me to dinner i kept saying ten more minutes please! I loved it. Great job!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    Best book ever!

    I think this book is awesome. I read it 9 times and even got my cousin addicted to it! This book is a perfect portrait of a teen struggling as she starts her high school years.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2012

    Great book

    This is an awesome book

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

    Amazing

    I couldnt but it down! Highly recommend it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2011

    !!!

    This book is amazing!!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2011

    Amazing

    Omg i absolutely loved this book! I read it in like less than a week (which is really fast for me!) I really couldnt put it down(:

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2012

    Amazing!!!!

    I love this book. It's really interesting. I shared it with my friends and they love it too.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Saving Zoe by Alyson Noel

    I've been a fan of Alyson Noel since I first started reading, about two and a half years ago. Saving Zoe is definitely not like her other books, with the topic of dealing with a sister's death, but I found that it wasn't written much differently either. I didn't connect with any of the characters, but I didn't not connect with them either, if that makes any since; and some parts of this story were written kind of poorly. It had about as much depth as her novel Kiss and Blog, which is a completely different topic. I think it may have something to do with the short time period between the release dates of the two books, about four months. Overall, this story is nothing special: not amazing but not terrible. Would I recommend this book? I might suggest it to people looking for boyfriend drama and friend drama, but not to anyone looking for a deep, emotional book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    Amazing

    Best book for a teen!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2013

    Amazing!!!!!!!!

    That's all I can say

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2012

    Saving Zo¿

    Best book ever. You feel so sucked into it

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Saving Zoë was an emotional story about a girl, Echo, that

    Saving Zo&euml; was an emotional story about a girl, Echo, that loses her older sister, Zo&euml;, through a murder a year before. To say that this rattled and shook their world would be an understatement. Echo's parents are as tense as they can be and constantly fight, Echo herself has started feeling distant towards her friends and everything around her, and the need to know more overpowered her when Zo&euml;'s boyfriend gives Echo Zo&euml;'s diary. Marc had it with him and felt that Echo should get to know the 'real' Zo&euml;. Not the one everyone is talking about. Thus the journey through Zo&euml;'s last couple of months began.

    In all honesty I expected something major to be written inside the diary, but the beauty of this novel is that Zo&euml; really is just a normal teenage girl that parties too much and wants to get her break at fame. Echo starts to get to know Zo&euml; more and more through each journal entry and for an attempt to feel close to Zo&euml; she starts to hang our more with Marc. Now i've read a book similar to this idea which almost a year ago and while I might have understood the sudden attachment to the deceased sister's boyfriend, now I understood the pain and need to feel close to your loved one would let you do. I found Marc to be just as lost as Echo and I really did like his character. I think Alyson No&euml;l did an amazing job portraying the fractured family of Echo, their overprotectiveness, the different kind of loss each character feels, and also the realistic aspect of losing a loved one.

    Saving Zo&euml; isn't about literally saving Zo&euml; from her murder or even unraveling the story behind her death and who her murderer is, it is a story about the now and present, about the people Zo&euml; had to leave behind and how they have to deal with this pain, even one year later and how Echo, through reading Zo&euml;'s diary, finally gets to know her sister like she's never known her before, giving her the chance to finally cherish Zo&euml;'s short life and try to start living her own.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2011

    Awesome!

    it was a hertfelt and awesome book! totally taught me to be cautious and the power of love! wonderful book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Its like a black hole pulling you in.

    Wow.This book is unforgetable so amazing and real to life. I reccomend it to anyone in the mood for an excellent entertaining unforgettable book. I just read it and couldnt put it down,simply worth rereading. Any opprutuniy you get read/buy this book!! I LOVE it!

    An amazed fan,
    Chandler 12.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Fantastic!

    This book was so good! I couldn't put it down! It is a must read and is worth buying.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2008

    Emotional and Beautiful

    On Echo's fourteenth birthday, she received the worst present ever: new of the disappearance and death of her older sister Zoë. This pain is hard for Echo to deal with, and she still struggles even a year later. Echo is now fifteen and just starting high school with her best friends Abby and Jenay. The only hard thing about this is seeing Zoë's old friends and Marc, Zoë's boyfriend. Echo still isn't over the death of her sister. She feels pretty empty around her friends and her new boyfriend Parker. So when Marc gives Echo Zoë's diary, Echo embraces this chance to better understand her sister before her death. Unfortunately, this also leads Echo to imagining she is Zoë, which only messed up her life even more. Alyson Noël does an incredible job of incorporating Zoë's journal and Echo's high school experiences together and makes the story flow nicely. Echo is sometimes hard to understand, but everything is clarified later. While the story isn't edge-of-your-seat exciting, it is a high worthwhile read is you stick it through, and I was captivated as Echo discovered the truth behind the end of her sister Zoë's life. The story provides a lot to think about involving sisterhood and love. I've only read a couple of books that deal with death, but Saving Zoë is probably one that I will remember the most. It is pure coincidence that I was listening to the song Light up the Sky by Yellowcard as I read the ending of this book, but I highly recommend you do this too. The song reminds me so much of Zoë and Marc's relationship, and it definitely heightens the emotions of the ending, as music often does in movies. Saving Zoë appeals to a wide audience, but I suggest you read it only if you are up for an emotional ride. Fans of Sweethearts by Sara Zarr and The Year My Sister Got Lucky by Aimee Friedman will understand the bonds of love between sister and friends presented in Saving Zoë. People who were moves by Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, and other books regarding dealing with death will also find this a very worthwhile read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2008

    This book is great.

    This book had some mature content. I think all girls should read it to show the risks of internet blogging, drugs, and drinking, all of the things Echo's sister, Zoe, is involved with. I would recommend this book be read by 6th graders and up. I also think the parent should read the book first before they give it to anyone under 13, to make sure they want them to know of those things in life. Otherwise it is a great book full of great life lessons for any young adult to know.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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