Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I Will Save You

First of all, let me start by saying if you have never read a book by Matt de la Peña, then you are missing out. Every single one of his books that I've read, which I think is actually the majority of his books, I've absolutely loved. His style is just so...real. I Will Save You, his most recent book, most definitely doesn't disappoint. In fact, I think this may be my favorite by him so far. Plus, I have his book signed, since I got to meet him when I went to ALAN. I know. My life is just so cool.

Anyway, I Will Save You follows a kid named Kidd, who's had a pretty rough life. He got a job at a campsite to escape his dark past, and this is where he meets Olivia. Olivia seems to be the girl of his dreams, and Kidd thinks that he actually might have a chance with this somewhat normal girl. Until Devon comes along, an old friend from his days at the group home. All Kidd wants to do is protect Olivia from the destructive force that is Devon. But how far is he willing to go?

When I first started reading this book, I have to admit that I was a little confused. It jumps around a lot, and it took me a bit to get my bearings and figure out what was going on. But once I figured that out, I think the way Matt de le Peña tells the story is simply brilliant. Instead of telling it all in one straight narrative, he jumps between present and past, but the way he does it is intriguing. Kidd is looking back at what happened during the summer to get him to the place he's at in the beginning of the book, but sometimes while he looks back, he looks back, if that makes sense. He remembers things from the past while telling his story about the summer, and in that way, you learn the whole tragedy that is Kidd's life. He did not have an easy life. And it really makes you feel for him, makes you root for him, make you want him to succeed. He's almost like a lost, abused puppy, trying to find his own way in the world and forget about everything horrible in his past. Who can resist a lost, abused puppy?

I'm not going to give away any spoilers, but I have to say that I really loved the way everything come together in the end. When I got towards the end of the book, I had an "aha" moment. I love it when I get those in books because it means that the author did a really good job of keeping the story unpredictable. Matt de la Peña did something that I didn't see coming during the first reading, but when I looked back at the story, there  were subtle clues that lead up to the ending. That is the mark of a great writer. I hope that someday I can write a novel that keeps people guessing and gives them their own "aha" moments. It would make me smile.

Since I'm still waiting until I can get my hands on my copy of The Fault in Our Stars (soon! And I've heard it's really, really good), I decided to read The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien. I'd been wanting to read it for a while, and I found a copy when we were cleaning out our bookshelf (win!). Hopefully that will tide me over until I can read The Fault in Our Stars.

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