I’ll admit when I picked this one up, I was hoping it was going to be along the lines of “Perfect Chemistry.” Because that one, while approaching the overdramatic and over the top, never actually crosses the line and never tries to be more than it is, so it manages to be a lot of fun. But “Salvation” didn’t quite succeed in the same way for me.
Especially Beth Courant, AKA the walking disaster area. Dreamy and shy, Beth is used to blending into the background. But she's also smart, and she has serious plans for her future.
Popular guy and bookish girl--the two have almost nothing in common. Until fate throws them together and the attraction is irresistible. Soon Beth is pushing Salva to set his sights higher than ever--because she knows he has more to offer, more than even he realizes.
Then tragedy strikes--and threatens to destroy everything that Salva has worked for. Will Beth's love be enough to save him?
I mostly felt that the book was trying too hard to be deep and meaningful. I just wanted to be taken on a soap-opera-worthy ride through a dramatic cross-cultural relationship, but I ended up feeling like I was being force fed a “moral of the story.” Like, I felt the author was a bit too obvious in the message I was supposed to take away from the book. I also thought the writing could be a bit over the top, and that’s one of the things I always find hardest to forgive in a book. But while I found the writing a little much, I thought the story was still pretty readable, and I never seriously thought about not finishing it.
I did like that Beth and Salva knew each other for quite a while before starting a relationship. The story takes place over most of a school year, and the two of them spend quite a bit of time together during that period. So I respected their relationship a little more than I maybe would have otherwise. I also liked that the story was about the girl saving the guy, and not the other way around, like it so often is in YAs. I feel like usually it’s the girl struggling with personal or familial issues, and the guy helps her sort things out and get back on track. But the tables are turned in “Salvation,” and even though Beth wasn’t necessarily my favorite character ever, I did like that she was the one to help Salva work things out.
For me, the resolution of the story was waaaay to easy. I won’t go into spoilery territory, but something tragic happens towards the end of the book that Salva needs to deal with. And it weighs heavily on him. But then within the space of, like, two pages and one conversation, it’s all magically fixed, and that didn’t sit well with me. I wanted to see him struggle a little more, and I wish that the solution would’ve been something a little more complex than “true love heals all wounds.”
Overall, not my favorite book, but it did have a few redeeming qualities.
Rating: 3 / 5