Josephine Clark is trapped. A harrowing past haunts her every time she looks in the mirror, and she can’t escape the violence of her everyday life. More and more, her thoughts turn to Evan Salinger, the boy she knew in high school. The boy they called a mental case. A loner. A freak. The boy who seemed to know things no one could know. For a few short weeks, Jo had found perfect solace in Evan’s company, sneaking every night to meet him at the local pool. In the cool of the water and the warmth of Evan’s arms around her, Jo had tasted something close to happiness.
Cruel circumstances tore them apart, and four years later, the sweet memory of their time together is dissolving under the punishing reality of Jo’s life now. Evan seems like a fading dream…until he reappears at the moment she needs him most. Guided by Evan’s strange intuition, they flee her small Louisiana town, and Jo begins to suspect there is something more to his sudden return than he admits.
Over twelve days across America’s heartland, deep secrets come to light, buried pasts are unearthed, and the line between dreams and reality is blurred as Evan and Jo fight to hold on to their soul-deep love, and discover that there is more than one way to save a life. (From: Goodreads)
***Actual rating: 4/5 Hreatbreakingly Beautiful Stars***
I drifted between awake and asleep.
Not on air, but on water.
How to Save a Life is a heartbreakingly beautiful combination of many great works and tons of impressive déjà vu. It breaks my heart and tears me away from all the dreamy fantasies of life from the beginning throughout the book and eventually, slowly pieces it back in the end. This isn’t a sweet, cheesy kind of love story; instead, it makes my heart bleed over and over again, tortures my feelings and assures me to experience all the pain that’s beyond words. Yep, the book convinces me that reality is as cold and hard as a stone, and life cannot be more miserable, but love will always wins out.
Evan Salinger is an adopted teenager, who
-has the same length and blond hair as Perry(Under the Never Sky)
-is as considerate as Evan Walker(The 5th Wave)
-possesses a supernatural ability similar to Noah Shaw(The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer)
-is labeled as “freakshow” in high school and has a thing for water, just like Theodore Finch(All the Bright Places)
-also led a life like a modern Heathcliff(Wuthering Heights).
“Something like that. It helps to hold my breath for a long time if I’m kind of…detached from my body. If I were sitting under there, counting the seconds, I don’t think I’d get very far.” He waved his hands, making little ripples in the water.
“Jo” Josephine Clark is a seemingly ordinary teeanage girl who was raped and has the post-traumatic reactions after since. She later experiences an abusive relationship with some guy named Lee, who’s a drug dealer, cooking meth at home, forcing her to become his personal punchbag, and inflicts severe damage on her to his heart’s content.
So when Evan meets Jo, the story goes high and low all at once.
Attachment grows stronger.
Life gets complicated and heart-wrenching.
”Is this really how you want to spend your Wednesday night?” he asked. He shook his head, silently answering his own question. “You should go. If someone sees you here, you’ll never hear the end of it.”
“Like I give a shit what people think of me.” Evan looked me up and down, his gaze coming to rest on my long hair that covered my scar like a shield.
I personally think their love is bitter at first and as things happen, it turns out to be the sweetest, the most precious, and worthy of cherishing kind. Jo finds her long-lost confidence, beauty, and the ability to love as well as being loved from Evan; he finds trust, faith, and a sense of belonging in her. They admire each other for who they truly are, regardless of labels and scars.
She’s his everything.
She’s the only one who doesn’t view him as a crazy kid suffering from mental illness like others said. The only one who’s brave enough to stand up for him, defending him.
And he’s her beacon of hope. Of love. Of life. His loyalty and promise to her never waver, let alone giving up on her.
He makes her feel whole and perfectly complete again.
The end of this book brings tears to my eyes because for a tiny moment, I literally believed what’s done is done and that’s it. As if adding another heartbreaking fact to the reality and the story. However, with a single thread of belief in Jo’s mind, Emma Scott makes it an extraordinarily flawless ending. The last scene is so memorably beautiful and this is exactly the kind of ending I’m looking and hoping for in most stories.
In that twilight place just before sleep, I imagined dream walkers in the skies above me, catching my words in their nets and walking them to Evan to guide him home.
Finally, since the author’s soundtrack for the book leaves me nothing to complain, there’s only one song I want to add to it. It’s This Isn’t The End by Owl City, which is also a song he’s proud of most.
“How close is the ending, well, nobody knows
The future’s a mystery and anything goes
Love is confusing and life is hard
You fight to survive ’cause you made it this far
It’s all too astounding to comprehend
It’s just the beginning this isn’t the end
It’s just the beginning this isn’t the end”
Please bear in mind that either in real life or when reading this book: Behind every dark cloud, there’s always a silver lining.