Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Recent Read


How to Save a Life by Emma Scott

Why this one: It was one of those books that comes up “Recommended because” in reference to One Day Soon and since I thought that book was brilliant…..

Steam Level:  pretty heated

Genre: YA

Outline: Josephine Clark is trapped. A harrowing past haunts her every time she looks in the mirror, and she can’t escape the violence of her everyday life. More and more, her thoughts turn to Evan Salinger, the boy she knew in high school. The boy they called a mental case. A loner. A freak. The boy who seemed to know things no one could know. For a few short weeks, Jo had found perfect solace in Evan’s company, sneaking every night to meet him at the local pool. In the cool of the water and the warmth of Evan’s arms around her, Jo had tasted something close to happiness.

Cruel circumstances tore them apart, and four years later, the sweet memory of their time together is dissolving under the punishing reality of Jo’s life now. Evan seems like a fading dream…until he reappears at the moment she needs him most. Guided by Evan’s strange intuition, they flee her small Louisiana town, and Jo begins to suspect there is something more to his sudden return than he admits.

Over twelve days across America’s heartland, deep secrets come to light, buried pasts are unearthed, and the line between dreams and reality is blurred as Evan and Jo fight to hold on to their soul-deep love, and discover that there is more than one way to save a life.

My Thoughts: I think if I had read this book at a different time, I may have gotten more out of but coming on the heels of One Day Soon, and because I found One Day Soon so…. Everything, How to Save A Life didn’t have as much of a chance.  It’s like watching a brilliant ice dance skate in the Olympics, the kind that gives you goose bumps.  Each move by both is perfection, even down to the move of a hand.  Their connection to each other is intense and the audience knows it’s watching something they will rarely see and experience.  And then the next pair of ice dancers come on to the ice and they do a wonderful job, worthy of high scores, but it just didn’t give you the goose bumps that the first pair did.  On another night. In even the slightest of circumstances the second couple could come first – but just not this night.  That’s how it was with this book.

Josephine, or Jo, is one very angry, very damaged young woman.  It’s her final year of high school and she’s the ‘new girl’.  She lives with her uncle and as a long distance truck hauler, they move around a lot and even when they settle somewhere, he’s not around much.  Jo has good reason to be angry.  She was abused by another uncle, though the author doesn’t really get into it in any detail.  When she scarred herself on purpose to make him stop, her mother who already suffered from mental illness, couldn’t handle it and killed herself.  So Jo was left with basically no one.  We don’t know about her father.

She gets involved with the ‘geeks and freaks’ crowd though she also bangs the jock of the school.  This gives her the ‘illusion’ of being in control though of course we the readers, know this never really works.  But it adds to her isolation.

But there is someone even more isolated that Jo who attends the small town high school and that is our hero Evan.  He is ostracized by everyone and bullied and made fun of.  And even worse, it is his foster brothers that lead the charge.  They hate him with every breath they take

He interests Jo, here is someone very handsome who to her should be one of the cool kids but then she hears his story.  He has visions and has spent time in a mental institutions.  In the cruelty that can be young people that’s all it takes.

But Jo gets to know Evan better and she sees he’s a wonderful caring young man.  As their young love begins to grow and flourish and as she begins to trust Evan. Jo slowly lets down her walls a bit.

But just as things start going very well, a tragic incident happens and they are ripped apart from each other and Jo’s life slowly descends into hell.

Will they find each other again?  Can they heal each other?  Can their love overcome all that keeps them apart? This is what is answered in the second part of the story and I’m not going to tell.  Instead, if I’ve intrigued you enough, you will want to find out for yourself.  I will say though that it becomes a road trip book, based mostly on the ‘visions’ that Evan still sees.

I loved both Jo and Evan.  Jo is only keeping it together by a thin veil of ice, never really letting herself trust, always expecting the worst and sometimes even sabotaging herself to get what she thinks she deserves.

And Evan – well, even as a young high school student he’s swoon worthy.  His past is almost as sad, he was abandoned and then later adopted by a couple who aren’t really aware or care, what is going around them, how horrid this young man they took in is being treated.  He will break your heart with his story.

I have no problems whatsoever recommending this book and I’m sure many will very much enjoy it too.  For me though, not quite as much as the ‘other’ book
 

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Would I read it again?:  I don’t know honestly.  I can see me starting to read it and the other book calling to me.

3 comments:

azteclady said...

I have nothing to say about the book--I just wanted to drop a hug here for you.


((((KristieJ))))

Wendy said...

I know you get in reading grooves (see your recent hockey romance binge) - but this is why I usually try to alternate my sub genres when I read. If I read a great western, I'm afraid if a pick up another western right after it will suffer because I'll still be thinking about the great western I just finished. Of course I'm also the girl who can go from reading a totally smutty erotic novel to a sweet inspirational without missing a beat ;) I'm freaky like that.

And speaking of westerns - I FINALLY read The Way Home by Megan Chance and OMG! I loved that book. One less book for you to Wendy, Wendy, Wendy me about. Not that there aren't a bazillion others....

Kristie (J) said...

Wendy, wasn't it great? I have it as an ebook now as well as print so I should give it a read again.
And I think the reason How to Save a Life suffered was because I was SO BLOWN away, any book I read would have suffered. I did something I've never done before - I sent a recommendation through GoodReads to Every Single Friend I had who said they like contemporaries *chuckle* It really is that good.

AL: I plan to do a what's happening - but I don't have a lot of time these days it seems but ((((hugs))))