Salvation by Anne Osterlund
Paperback, 288 pages
Published: Jan. 10th, 2012 by Speak (Penguin)
This review will also be posted at Candace's Book Blog.A smart, unexpected romance from an award-winning author.
Salvador Resendez--Salva to his friends--appears to have it all. His Mexican immigrant family has high expectations, and Salva intends to fulfill them. He's student body president, quarterback of the football team, and has a near-perfect GPA. Everyone loves him.
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?
Thoughtful and romantic, this is a beautifully written story about following your heart and fulfilling your potential.
For me, while this wasn't an issue book, it was a very powerful read. And an important one. The thing that really hit me hard and made me think so much was that Salva is from an immigrant family. His parents got Visa's so they're legal, but they don't necessarily have anything easy. His father works incredibly hard so that Salva can study hard and be the best he can be. And Salva is the head of the class, the most popular, the smartest, the class president... the list goes on. But Salva's mother died when he was younger and he has younger sisters that he has to care for and he also feels a lot of pressure from his father. In the book we really see how hard immigrant Mexican families have it, but while some may pull their kids out of school to help out, Salva's father is the opposite. And while Salva does agree with his, he does want to be the best he can be, but his dreams are not the same as his fathers.
Finding YA books with minorities as main characters is surprisingly difficult. And when we do it's often not something that's addressed much. In this book we see that Salva is angry with the way people look down on them, how they have to give in to authority because they are afraid of being deported (or having those they know get deported). We see more of their side of things. And I think this is so important. Where I live there are a lot of Mexican immigrants. A lot of the kids were born here but they still face the prejudice and it's not in their control. Their family moved here so they can have a better life, but sometimes it's hard to find the good when they have to deal with so much. Salva has things good as far as that goes, but we see how it is, what his father fears and all that. This is an important subject because so many people don't think to see things from the other side.
Okay, enough about that. This is about Salva, who you already know about now. But Salva isn't so great in his AP English and like everything else he does he needs to do well. So he asks the class brainiac, also called the walking disaster, Beth, to help. Beth has liked Salva for years but had finally gotten it through her head that she would never get him, so she's a bit afraid of allowing herself to get very close to him. But as you have probably figured out, they do get close and eventually more happens between them. I really loved that a lot of time passes with them working together and really getting to know each other before anything happens. So there's no insta-love and there's no love triangle. The way the romance progresses is realistic and full of that fantastic tension that we all love (at least I know, I love it). And when that kiss happens I know that you'll all swoon right out of your socks because this is not some average every day kiss. Nope, it's certainly not folks! And I loved that these two communicated. Once they were declared a couple, anyway. There's not a ton of drama involved and that was like a breath of fresh air for me. Loved that!
This felt more like Salva's story to me, but we get a lot of Beth's story as well and see what she's thinking and has going on. She has an absent mother and is still grieving the loss of her grandmother. While her issues weren't as numerous as Salva's she's definitely going through stuff as well. And she was a strong character with a strong personality. While she may duck her head around school to avoid being made fun of, she doesn't hesitate to tell Salva straight up what she thinks about his situation and schoolwork, etc.
I loved this book. Absolutely loved it! The story, the characters, the romance, it's all great! And while it may all seem so predictable and all that, it's not. There's actually a big thing that happens at the end that totally surprised me.
While I would think this is probably a stand alone I would love a sequel or a companion. I want to know how things go in their future and I would definitely love more of these characters!
Disclosure: I received this book for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.
Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.