Thursday, March 21, 2013
Salvation by Anne Osterlund
I've read and reviewed all of Osterlund's previous work so of course I knew I'd be checking out her latest, especially since it is her first foray into my favorite genre, YA contemporary. Early reviews were very positive so I knew I was in for a good time.
Our main character is Salvador Resendez, known as Salva. A ery popular, very good student living under the high expectations of his immigrant father and now deceased mother. His world collides with walking disaster Beth who has her own troubles but whose years long crush on Salva encourages her to hope for more when he seeks her academic assistance.
The plot arc of this book felt like a lot of other contemporaries to me, where there doesn't seem to be too much happening (unlike the fighting and sneaking around that can occur in fantasies and dystopias) but each little event is building up to something. The Shakespeare project they undertake is amazing as is their big scene together and its repercussions. Then we have several confrontations, leading up to something big.
My dissatisfaction comes from that big event near the end, which felt shamelessly manipulative. I don't want spoilers and I'll freely admit that I cried over what happened and the consequences I imagined. Happily the epilogue helped restore this book to my good graces with a powerful message about speaking up and raising your voice for those who are unable.
I also appreciated the low socioeconomic class of the protagonists as well as Salva's Mexican heritage (many other characters are either from Mexico or of Mexican dissent)-yay for some more diversity in YA! Salva and Beth were both great characters who I found it easy to like although I'm not sure I felt that Beth received enough development. Her purpose seemed to be more to help Salva instead of being her own person.
Bottom Line: Definitely enjoyed reading this; it's just not my favorite Osterlund.
Bonus tip: I highly recommend friending Anne on goodreads as she gives fantastic book recommendations and bookish insights!
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