Tuesday, August 13, 2013

book review: Save Yourself by Kelly Braffet

The backstory: Years ago, I used to discover new authors by browsing the new releases in the library and seeing which covers grabbed me. I had as many successes as failures, and my shift toward finding life-minded readers has certainly improved my success with books. Yet I still think fondly of those authors I discovered my old-fashioned way, and Kelly Braffet is one of those authors. I recall bringing home Last Seen Leaving and sitting down on my the screened-in porch to read it before dinner. I was up until the wee hours of the morning finishing it, and when I returned it to the library the next day, I picked up her first novel, Josie and Jack. Imagine my delight when I saw that seven years later, there's finally another Braffet novel to read!

The basics: Save Yourself is the story of two sets of siblings: Patrick and Mike Cusimano are still reeling from their father's arrest and conviction for killing a child while driving drunk. They live in their father's house, along with Mike's girlfriend, Caro. Across Ratchetsberg, a tiny town outside Pittsburgh, Layla Elshere, the oldest daughter of a local church leader has turned Goth and tries to befriend Patrick because of what his father did. Her little sister, Verna, begins high school and is tormented.

My thoughts: Save Yourself is filled with both unlikable characters and characters making self-destructive, yet understandable, decisions. Braffet shifts the narration among the main characters beautifully, and I welcomed the opportunity to better understand these complicated, well-developed characters. As I read, I always had the sense that anything could happen and it would work with these characters and their choices. As a reader, I love to place my entire trust in an author. The characters and their world were so well-formed, and their behavior was so often reckless, I read with a sense of foreboding. There's an eeriness to this novel I adored.

Favorite passage: "She often prayed for the strength to stop eavesdropping, but God never gave it to her. Maybe because the things she learned left her less baffled by the mysteries around her."

The verdict: Save Yourself is a captivating character-driven novel. Braffet is a brave and bold storyteller, and both are on full display in her latest novel.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Length: 320 pages
Publication date: August 6, 2013
Source: publisher

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Save Yourself from an independent bookstore, the Book Depository or Amazon (Kindle edition.)

Want more? Visit Kelly Braffet's website, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!


  1. I haven't read anything by this author, but your enthusiasm for all of her books makes me think I should give her a try. Which book would you start with?

  2. I loooooooooooooooooove doing that, browsing the library to see what grabs me. Before I started blogging, I did that regularly, and I miss that 'free range' reading. Will add this to my TBR -- I'm v intrigued!


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