Title: Save Me
Author: Jenny Elliott
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Romance, Contemporary, Paranormal
Rating: 4 Stars (4.5)
Something strange is going on in the tiny coastal town of Liberty, Oregon. Cara has never seen a whale swim close enough for her to touch, let alone knock her into the freezing water! Fortunately, cute newcomer David is there to save her, and the rescue leads to a bond deeper than Cara ever imagined.
But then she learns something about David that changes everything, and Cara is devastated. She turns to her best friend for support, but Rachel is different. She’s suddenly into witchcraft, and is becoming dangerously obsessed with her new boyfriend….
Cara has lost her best friend, discovered that her soul mate is off limits, and attracted the attention of a stalker. At least she’s not completely alone. Her mysterious, gorgeous new friend Garren is there to support her. But is Garren possibly too perfect?
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
Honestly, I’m a bit mystified by the amount of negative reviews this book has gotten—and I mean it—utterly mystified. I’ll admit, the description is a bit vague and leaves a lot to interpretation; when I first opened the book I’d half convinced myself the story was going to be about mermaids, whale-shifters, or any number of other paranormal phenomena. I really had no idea. It wasn’t any of those things, but, it was a solid paranormal/fantasy story, just as promised.
As far as the technical side of things go: The cover is gorgeous, the writing was nearly flawless in it’s editing, and the narrative was clear and easy to read. The story moved along at a good pace and was dotted with separate plot lines and mysteries—enough to keep me engrossed for hours. Save Me by Jenny Elliott fit perfectly into it’s set genre’s and it’s description, and I can’t fault it for that.
The romance wasn’t too steamy—it was actually pretty tame, and very clean, which is perfect for an array of YA readers ranging from 13-18. Frankly, it was sweet, and a tad on the forbidden side, but nothing I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable letting any young teen read (which is an improvement over some YA books I’ve read). Do I wish it had a been a little more steamy? Sure… but I’m an adult reader and not this book’s target audience.
Though the author never delved too deeply into the side characters, Cara (the main female lead) was well fleshed out. The relationships between her and the other characters in the book were natural and didn’t come across as too forced or too convenient (okay, maybe excluding Garren, but that’s a whole ‘nother bag of worms that I rather not expound upon). Conversations were well written, made sense, and the character’s decisions logical.
I found the book engaging, easy to read, and a bit of a fun puzzle to unravel as the story began to weave in the separate threads of mystery and paranormal. My only complaint (and okay, it’s a bit of a big one) was the religion. I’m not a religious person in the slightest, but I don’t mind reading religious-based books as long as the regions aspect of the story is provided up front. I was deep into the story (nearly half way) before the first bud of religion popped up in the story, and it threw me for a bit of loop. Up until this point the closest mention of anything even remotely religious was Cara’s reverence for nature and an occasional slip of “oh my god” by one of the teens. Then, suddenly there were religious rites being performed, mentions of church and prayer, exorcisms… and that’s fine.. but I would have preferred a bit of a lead up or some sort of mention before it was suddenly dropped into the story. I thought I was reading a certain kind of strictly-paranormal/fantasy read and ended up reading something heavily religion based instead. There was really no need for the author to be sneaky about it—and I’m not even convinced it was intentional, but from the standpoint of someone who isn’t religious… it was a bit of a slap in the face. I would have liked some warning.
That aside, overall the story was great. I have no complaints about the writing itself, the characters, or the plot. Had that one aspect (the religion) been a little less spur of the moment, I probably would have given this a clear 5 stars. This was a real solid YA read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This story obviously isn’t going to be for everyone, but I’d be happy to recommend it personally.