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, on the run from the police, 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.
How to Save a Life is a complete second-chance STANDALONE novel with shades of the paranormal. It carries the characters from high school through to their early twenties. It is not YA; mature subject matter and sexual situations. TRIGGER WARNING: some domestic violence (on the page) and mentions of sexual abuse (off the page) For readers 18 years and up.
The blurb says that this is not a YA novel...but I respectfully disagree. The story follows two characters from high school up to 22 years old, so to me, that’s YA.
That being said, I’m aware that my opinion of this book isn’t going to be popular. How to Save a Life is absolutely KILLING it in sales and reviews, with reviewers getting downright gushy over the story of Jo and Evan. But for me? I think it’s safe to say that I’m officially too old to read and enjoy the YA genre. I won’t say exactly how old I am, but know that I am old enough to have rocked puffy bangs and a spiral perm when it was actually in style. But I digress…
I was exhausted after reading this book. And sad. These characters had the most pitiful, tragic pasts I’ve heard read about, and their present-tense lives weren’t much better. The sheer amount of angst they lived with (I mean, angst upon angst upon angst) absolutely wore me out. I liked Evan and Jo, and wanted them to be allowed to be happy for more than a few stolen moments at a time. Jo was living an Adele song, for God’s sake. And not the mildly happier Adele we got when 25 was released, but Adele from 21.
That being said, the writing was beautiful. I’m not usually a poetry fan, but Jo’s poetry was lovely. The writing alone earns this story a 3 out of 5 rating. I enjoyed the paranormal elements of the story as well. All you young readers who don’t mind super-high levels of angst and brooding should give this one a read.
So, note to self: don’t read YA stories just because you like a song by the same title.
Now, I think I’ll just go hang out with the grumpy old Get off My Lawn Guy. I can definitely relate to him.
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