Save Yourself by Kelly Braffet (2013)

Review by CJ


Page count:
310 [including acknowledgments]




Patrick lives with his brother and his brother’s girlfriend in the house their father owned before going to jail for hitting a young boy with his car while drunk driving. The same house in which Patrick is having sex with his brother’s girlfriend.

Layla Elshere is a goth teenager whose parents and sister Verna run a home worship group for Christians. Until Verna reaches high school and is tormented enough to realise Layla’s outlook might be right.

Through mistakes, missteps and misunderstandings, the lives of these vastly different characters become inextricably intwined.

I must admit, I didn’t know what to expect when I dove into reading Save Yourself. What I found was a story that was dark, beautiful and tragic.

The characters of Save Yourself are deep and flawed and so very human that the reader’s heart can’t help but ache for them. While many of them make terrible life choices, they remain mostly likeable because they rarely do it out of malevolence. They’re just lost souls trying to feel their way through their dark lives.

The plot ties the lives of these characters together in a way that makes perfect sense despite their varied backgrounds. Flashbacks along with character thoughts and dialogue weave the history of the characters with the current storylines in a way that flows well and never seems convoluted or clunky.

I would highly recommend Save Yourself to readers who enjoy slice of life novels that examine fascinating and tragic characters in a way that makes them feel real.

5 Stars


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