Monday, July 24, 2017

How to Save a Life - Review

How to Save a Life (Dreamcatcher #1)

By: Emma Scott

Published: February 9, 2016 by Trillian

274 pages

Genre: New Adult, Romance, Paranormal

Source: Personal Kindle Library

(Goodreads / Amazon)

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, 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.
This was maybe the 4th book I've read by Emma Scott. Having loved Full Tilt, All InThe Butterfly Project I was expecting great things! Perhaps I built up my expectations too high because I was disappointed with this one. Let me explain why.

First off...this story deals with both sexual and physical abuse. The sexual abuse is not explained in detail, only in vague memories from the past. The reader is spared what could have been graphic details on that, for which I'm thankful. Secondly, this story is pretty much as close to insta-love as you can get. I don't normally cringe with insta-love stories but this one felt forced to me.

The story begins with Josephine at a new high school, her senior year, only a few weeks away from graduation. Her parents are both dead at the start of the story and her uncle is her legal guardian. As a trucker they move around a lot. So much so, that she's never in any one place long enough to form any kind of meaningful relationship. Due to a rather noticable scar on her face she often gets labled quickly in the new schools so she gives them something to label her for. At this new school though, the school freak has already been bestowed upon another student. A very handsome, tall, blonde, muscular guy, who by appearance alone doesn't look like a freak. Everyone warns her to keep her distance from Evan Salinger though.

Evan is adopted into the Salinger family where 2 of his adopted brothers are verbally and physically abusive to him. They hate him. His younger adopted brother is the one bright spot in the situation in which he finds himself. Evan is the school freak. After some time spent in a mental hospital his peers do not let him escape that which he views as a gift. See, Evan has dreams that are pictures of events that are soon to happen but he doesn't remember the details of the dream until right before it happens. Basically, he is clairvoyant. One time seeing a shooting where a classmate's father dies, and he freaks out during class, sets all of his classmates against him.

Only 30% in to the story, without a whole lot of interaction, to be exact ONE conversation, between Jo and Evan, he calls her "sweetness". This definitely made me cringe and gag a little bit. I don't know many 17/18 year old boys who would call their girl interest this term of endearment. Baby or Babe is more common for sure. But after ONE conversation?

The story jumps ahead, after it's first tragedy, by 4 years. Jo is living in Louisiana and finds herself in another horrible situation. Living with a guy who is physically abusive and is a meth head. This girl either has some terrible luck or she just downright makes horrible decisions! When she is most scared for her life, Jo breathes into the air for Evan to come find her and save her. She doesn't fully understand or believe it'll work but she is running out of time. Once he shows up in that strange way of his, the story takes them on the run from the police. At 90% through I didn't know how the story was going to finish in time but knowing it was a standalone (but part 1 in a series...if that makes much sense) I kept waiting for resolution. Of which it finally comes and I was pleased with the ending.

In the Kindle version I read there were a whole lot of grammatical errors; incorrect usage of words; missing words; misspelled words. This always makes me feel "meh" especially when it's a published book that I paid for.

Though older age Young Adult's are sure to enjoy this one, it does fall more in the New Adult realm of content and age.

Top Favorite Quotes:
"That's the majestic, terrible beauty of a rumor. It doesn't have to be true for it to spread."

Something about sitting in a guy's truck and watching him drive with masculine expertise was such a turn-on.

You're never stuck anywhere if you have a good book.

"You are my life. You're in the marrow of my bones, Jo. In my dreams, my future, every particle of me."

Language: 2 (medium)
Mature Content: 2 (medium)
Final Rating: 3.5 stars


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