Title: Saving Zoë
Author: Alyson Noël
Warning: Spoilers (and I spill the ending).
Since I haven’t done a book review since November, I decided to do one today. I have been waiting a long time to read this book, but my school library didn’t have a copy and the public library never seemed to have it when I was there. One day I went to the school library and saw the book displayed in the section where new books are displayed (new being books that have either just come out, or books that have been out for awhile, but just arrived at the library).
Saving Zoë is about a fifteen-year-old girl named Echo who is just starting high-school. Along with the usual awkwardness of freshman year, Echo hasn’t made peace with a family tragedy from the previous year. Echo’s sixteen-year-old sister Zoë was murdered, and Echo is still numb. Things have changed at her house; her parents are paranoid about losing Echo. She needs to have a good reason for leaving, and she has to call when she gets wherever she’s going, including school. Her best friends Abby and Jenay are starting to move on, while Echo’s still trying to understand what happened. Even though the murderer is awaiting trial, Echo doesn’t understand how it happened or why. It’s not a mystery of who killed Zoë; it’s a mystery of why.
Zoë’s former boyfriend Marc shows up with Zoë’s diary. The day that Zoë was murdered, they were hanging out and she left abruptly for an “appointment. Marc wanted to make sure she came back, so Zoë left her backpack with him; her diary was in the backpack. Marc didn’t give it to the cops because there was nothing written in there that they didn’t already know; he knows there are things in there that Zoë wouldn’t want her parents to know about; so he gives it to Echo, saying she needs to know her sister. Echo asks if he read it, and when he says yes, Echo says reading other people’s diaries is wrong.
Eventually, curiosity gets the better of her and she starts to read Zoë’s diary. Echo becomes so immersed in her sister’s world that she tries to become Zoë. She grows closer to Marc—they bond over missing Zoë—and she even kisses him. He becomes horrified at the idea of them getting involved because in the end, he couldn’t protect Zoë. By reading Zoë’s diary, Echo better understands her and—more importantly—what exactly happened those first few days of September last year. This is what happened to Zoë:
Zoë always wanted to be either an actress or a model. Over the summer, Zoë’s friend Carly helped her set up a website (either a Facebook or Myspace profile) that showed pics of her so she could possibly get discovered. A photographer stumbled across the page and e-mailed Zoë, asking if she was interested in working with him to get some higher quality pictures. Zoë e-mailed him back, saying that she was interested, so they arranged a meeting. Unfortunately, the photographer wasn’t actually a photographer and the website with his work was fake. When the man (his name isn’t mentioned) met up with Zoë, he brought a knife as opposed to a camera. Unfortunately or fortunately (depending on how you look at it), he didn’t stop with Zoë; he was caught because he tried to do it again. Luckily, the victim after Zoë (again, unnamed) didn’t die, but she did end up with a thick scar on her neck from the knife.
I really liked this book. When I first found out it was about a family recovering from a brutal murder, I thought they didn’t know who did it. When I read the book and Echo mentioned that the murderer was in jail, it actually kinda made things more interesting. The family and friends don’t have to search for all the answers; they have to try to make peace with it. In the last chapter, Echo reveals that the trial for Zoë’s murder took place and the man was convicted (but it’s not said how much time he gets).
Two weird things about this book—we don’t know what city or state the book takes place in (although I assume it takes place in California because a lot of Alyson’s books are set there), and we don’t know Echo’s last name. Echo has two best friends (Abby and Jenay) and their last names are never revealed.
I definitely recommend this book.