August 15, 2013

Save Yourself by Kelly Braffet



Save Yourself by Kelly Braffet
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Publication Date: August 6, 2013
Categories: Literary, Suspense

Description:

Patrick Cusimano’s life can’t get much worse. His father is in jail, he works the midnight shift at a grubby convenience store, and his brother’s girlfriend, Caro, has pushed their friendship to an uncomfortable new level.  On top of all that, he can’t shake the attentions of Layla Elshere, a goth teenager who befriends Patrick for reasons he doesn't understand, and doesn't fully trust. The temptations these two women offer are pushing Patrick to his breaking point.

Meanwhile, Layla’s little sister, Verna, is suffering through her first year of high school.  She’s become a prime target for her cruel classmates, and not just because of her strange name and her fundamentalist parents. Layla’s bad-girl rep casts a shadow too heavy for Verna to bear alone, so she falls in with her sister’s tribe of outcasts. But their world is far darker than she ever imagined…

Unless Patrick, Layla, Caro, and Verna can forge their own twisted paths to peace—with themselves, with each other—then they’re stuck on a dangerous collision course where the stakes couldn’t be higher.

My Thoughts:

Messed up families? I'm IN. I'm a reader who digs living vicariously through the screwed-upedness of the literary families I meet. These two families were twisted indeed. The Cusiamo family is in shambles, the Elshere family is a close second.

Save Yourself had a very strong beginning. The story clipped along and the characters were believable. I was enjoying the book a lot...until I wasn't. All of a sudden a new batch of characters showed up that I found to be shallow cliches. They stank of pure plot device.

The last part of this novel read like an entirely different book than the beginning. It went from a disturbing tale about two families about to collide into an unbelievable weird-fest featuring kids who were too evil to be believe.

While I didn't personally enjoy the ending of Save Yourself, Kelly Braffet definitely has my attention. She knows how to craft an eccentric story. I believe we'll be seeing better offerings from her in the future. I, for one, will be waiting to see what she comes up with next.

To see a differing opinion about Save Yourself please read Rory's wonderful review at Fourth Street Review.


Kelly Braffet is the author of Josie and Jack and Last Seen Leaving. She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University, where she receieved her MFA. Kelly lives in upstate New York with her husband, the writer Owen King. Visit her on Twitter or on Facebook.


To visit the rest of the stops on this tour please see TLC Book Tours.

38 comments:

  1. Oh, that's too bad! I feel like I almost always know how I'm going to feel about a book by the time I'm half way through and it is just the worst when something happens in the last half to make you change your mind about a book being awesome. Hopefully she'll write something you like better in the future :)

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    1. It bummed me out. I was really having a great time with it until the ending started rolling around. Rats! ;) Next time!

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  2. I love a good messed up family story!

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    1. Right?! I think they make me feel better about my own family ;)

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  3. I was initially intrigued by the cover of this novel, but she sounds like she has some potential as an author as well. Will probably check this one out from the library!

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    1. The potential is SO there. I think she has a small backlist too. I would definitely give her books another go.

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  4. "They stank of pure plot device."

    Haha! Not sure I could get onboard with that smell. :)

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    1. Right? ;) They seemed to come out of nowhere and take over the book in a very strange way. Rats.

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  5. I've read stories that seem to be two completely different books. It's almost as if they got hurried along by their agents and just threw together an ending.
    It's good to know this is an author to look out for, though!

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    1. It was disappointing. Probably more so because I was seriously enjoying it up until that point.

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  6. Not sure if this is a book I would enjoy, but thanks for the honest review! How disappointing that the second half of the book kind of fell apart :/

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    1. I really really liked the beginning. Darn it :(

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  7. Oh, no. You can never tell with a book. I have had books go from excellent to "meh" in the last 50 pages, and it just sucks so much.

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    1. Yes! I was having a good ol' time until...well, until I wasn't. ;)

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  8. "They stank of pure plot device." HA, I like that. It sounds like a line out of Thursday Next book :-)

    Too bad this didn't work out! But those characters all sounded a bit too crazypants.

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    1. Hehe! I had to look up Thursday Next because I hadn't a clue! (Is that something I should remedy?)

      Crazypants indeed. I do have high hopes for Braffet though. I have a good feeling about her work, even if this one didn't do it for me.

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  9. I'm reading this one for the book tour, but have to admit that I'm not really liking it so far. I just can't seem to get that immersed in the story. After reading your post, I'm feeling even more mixed about it. I'm going to finish is this weekend and am hoping it gets better.

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    1. TLC Nadia? That's why I read it too. :) I'll look forward to your review. I wonder if you'll feel differently?

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  10. Novels with messed up characters serves for an interesting tale. Too bad you didn't particularly like all parts of this novel. Maybe the next one will be better :)

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    1. I really do have high hopes for Braffet. It's obvious that she can write, and write well. :)

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  11. I wanted to join this tour but was late :-(
    I'm glad the book is good (or kind of) because I'm definitely reading it.

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    1. Too bad you missed the tour :( I hope that you like this one when you get to it!

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  12. Last time I read a review of this book it was very praising, so I'm astonished your review is totally different. Maybe I shouldn't read the book. I don't know. Do you recommend it?

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    1. I think my opinion of this one will be in the minority. I would recommend it, definitely.

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  13. I have a weakness for dysfunctional family stories too. :-) I don't know whether this would be my cup of tea, but it does sound intriguing. I love your balanced review.

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    1. I don't know why but I sure love reading about messed up people, lol.

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  14. I hate it when that happens. A strong start and then bam. A big disappointment. I'm sorry this wasn't better for you.

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    1. Thanks :D I really was enjoying this a LOT until the last 30%. Ah well, right? They can't all work for everyone :)

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  15. I've been wondering about this book, because I keep seeing SUPER intense tweets as people start to read it and then...tumbleweeds. It sounds like your review confirms what's been happening ;)

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    1. Really?? Very interesting! At first I was totally digging it. And then I wasn't, lol. :/

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  16. Good review. Never heard of this before but it sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing your honest opinion about the story.

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    1. Thanks Shane, thanks for visiting as well :)

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  17. I'll skip this based on your honest and great review. Thank you!

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    1. You bet. I'm never a fan of talking someone out of reading a book..but I totally understand :)

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  18. I'm glad that you enjoyed the first half of the book. Bummer that the second half didn't really work for you though.

    Thanks for being on the tour.

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    1. Absolutely Heather, you're welcome

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  19. You know me, I love reading about messed up families! But I'll skip this one if you weren't as much of a fan!

    -Rebecca @ Love at First Book

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    1. Messed up families (in literature) are the best! I'm still bummed that the ending of this one didn't work for me. I really REALLY liked the beginning.

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