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Reviewed by Sarah Lelonek
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite like Save Yourself by Kelly Braffet. The fast-moving plot and deeply troubled characters kept me interested until the very last page. My only regret is that the book finished with a few loose ends.
Save Yourself follows the difficult lives of a twenty-something named Patrick and a freshman in high school named Verna. However, with Braffet’s unique writing style, the reader is able to follow almost every character’s thoughts and actions, even if the chapter isn’t necessarily written through their own point of view. Patrick’s father’s drunk driving caused a young boy to be killed, and now Patrick is left to pick up the pieces with his brother Mike and Mike’s girlfriend Caro. Verna’s over-bearing Christian parents led her sister Layla to the proverbial dark side, and Verna doesn’t know which side to choose. Layla becomes the common denominator between Patrick’s and Verna’s lives.
The reader gets a sense throughout the novel that something terrible is about to happen. Between Mike’s drinking, Patrick’s mental state, Verna’s gullibility, and Layla’s cult-like friends, the reader feels for every bad mistake the characters make. It’s easy to relate to some of the small problems each character faces as we’ve all been confused teenagers and troubled young adults at one point in our lives.
As the drama and problems of each character tangled together and then eventually imploded, I was left wondering what happened to a few key characters. I read the explosive ending with great vigor, but was left feeling a little deflated when the last chapter didn’t do everything I wanted it to. I felt like the conclusion after the climax of the novel felt rushed and was not exactly what I needed to get some closure.
Other than the end coming too soon, I really don’t have any complaints about Save Yourself. It was very well-written, mixing description with powerful dialogue. I thought the situations that characters faced were very believable and current as far as young adult problems are concerned. Save Yourself leaves the reader in a sort of shell-shocked state that makes you fear and feel for today’s youth.
Sarah Emily Lelonek has a BA in English Literature from Kent State University. She is planning on attending Graduate School for English Rhetoric and Composition. She enjoys traveling and gaming while on breaks from working on her novel.
Review and giveaway copies were provided free of any obligation by Crown. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.