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 by Emma Scott was my very first book by the author and it was its title (the name of one of my favourite songs by The Fray) that grabbed my attention when I was browsing the Kindle new releases.
When I read the blurb of the book, I was both intrigued and wary because up until now I hadn’t read anything that had a paranormal element to it and I was unsure if it would be too far-fetched for me to relate to, but the opposite was the case.
While the book starts relatively slowly, which I think is necessary to make the reader understand the protagonists’ background, I was immediately drawn to Jo and Evan and connected with them on a level that has been much deeper than I have ever experienced before with book characters. They’re two misfits at their local high-school: Jo, the scarred beauty that tries to drown the memories of sexual abuse by playing the role of school slut and finds solace in her poetry. Evan, the freak who spent time in a mental institute because he has a secret that no one understands – abused and beaten by his jealous adopted brothers.
Jo and Evan’s story is not a pretty one, there is abuse, loss and crippling fear, but Emma Scott has written about their battle for love and life in an utterly beautiful way that does not only captivate the reader but doesn’t leave them for a very long time.
How to Save a Life is an intense read: I felt every single emotion that you could possibly feel when reading a book, but if you have the chance to read this book, read it! It’s one of the most fascinating and beautifully written books that I’ve read in a very long time – so beautiful that I’ve downloaded every single one of Emma Scott’s books over the last couple of days!
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