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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, on the run from the police, and Jo begins to suspect there is something more to his sudden return than he admits. Over 12 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. How to Save a Life is a complete second-chance standalone novel with shades of the paranormal. It carries the characters from high school through to their early twenties.
It is not YA; mature subject matter and sexual situations.
Trigger warning: some domestic violence (in the story) and mentions of sexual abuse. For listeners 18 years and up.
This story moved me. Evan and Josephine experienced so much tragedy in their young lives but found each other their senior year of high school. They became each other's compass and anchor. They still had more to go through before finding their happily ever after but they did. This was a long book but if you stick with it you will be blessed. I got this ARC via audiobook boom.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Jo's new to town, she's 17 when she first meets 18 yr old Evan at High School - she's the feisty School outcast and he's the School's so-called freak. Their broken souls instantly connect and reformed as the mysterious handsome tortured boy meets the scarred school slut and, as the days quickly pass, Jo and Evan become everything to each other and an unbreakable bond is formed. They are both damaged, both had heartbreaking stories to tell and both are misunderstood.. but together they become strong, dream of a better life and plan big. But, before they can make their longed for escape, Fate throws in a cruel and vicious wrench that'll have dire consequences on those tender hopes, those dreams.. and it will be four long and challenging years before they will get a second chance.
But their second chance will come at a price.. with bloodshed, murder, grief and insecurity.. and uncharted tomorrows will follow as they desperately run with Evan's ESP dreams and senses guiding them along unknown roads. Roads that are dangerous, roads where they will be hunted fugitives as the Police close in.. and roads that will lead them to their ultimate destruction.. as well as their hard won salvation.
I know the Publisher's Summary says not YA but, IMO, it is.. yes, there are a few sex scenes which makes it an 'adult' listen but nevertheless it's still a YA/NA romance as these two teens connect under very difficult circumstances. Even when they meet again in their early 20's I couldn't shake off the image of High School sweethearts and this image may have been fuelled by the young voice of the narrator. The H/H were devoted to each other - Evan was besotted with Jo who mentally called to him during the dark days of their enforced separation.. and Evan felt the danger, answered her call and came no matter the cost and consequences to himself. Just about an insta-connection, insta-love and an unrealistic romance.. but hey I like to be swept away by the implausible, the fictional, the fantasy world where every story ends with a HEA. Mainly told from Jo's POV but there were a few from Evans too.
Worth a credit? I will admit that I was a little disappointed with the whole NA/YA vibe. There was romance, tension, heartache, sex, sweet times and dangerous times - and I liked them all.. but don't spend your credit if you want a more mature listen, a true to real life listen or a 5* star listen coz this, IMO, ain't it.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
What did you like best about this story?
Jo and Evan of course.
Which scene was your favorite?
When Jo and Evan first met at the pool and all the meetings after. I liked that that was the time they could be honest and themselves.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
The scene where the incident happened. I was so mad for Evan I wished I could just jump in the book and get someone to see the truth.
Any additional comments?
This book had two parts. The beginning of Jo and Evan and the after many years apart. It seemed like in part one Jo was the strong one and Evan in part two. I did enjoy this book even though some parts just made me angry because of how some people were treated. Evan was so devoted to Jo and she really needed that after everything she was put through. I enjoyed the narration even though at times I think some characters were a little overdone but I listened to another book by this narrator and I see that is kind of her style. Overall I would recommend this book if you like YA/NA romance reads. Copy provided by Audiobook Boom for review.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to How to Save a Life again? Why?
I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator. I'd never read (or listened to) anything by Emma Scott before, and I was delightfully surprised. The story grabbed me right from the start; Jo and Evan are characters you can't help but feel for. Life has treated them both harshly - they don't fit in, and they've been conditioned to believe they deserve their isolation and the scorn heaped on them by their peers, teachers, and families. In each other, however, they find acceptance and love. They are allowed to experience joy - and then it is all stripped away in the blink of an eye. Their journey back to each other was beautifully written, and I was sorry to come to the end of their story. As I stated at the start of this review, I was provided a copy of the audiobook free of charge. However, when I was less than 1/3 of the way into the story, I was compelled to purchase a paper copy of the book (at full price!) - that's how taken I was with How to Save a Life. The narration was excellent, and I look forward to reading or listening to more by this author. One caveat: a few glaring grammatical errors detracted from what otherwise would have been a near perfect experience. I did not search for these instances in the book to check whether they were unique to the audio version or if they're in the text as well, but it is BETWEEN EVAN AND ME (not I - please, please, please!) and TO EVAN and ME (again - not I!!!). Ms. Scott thanked her editor in the acknowledgements. If an editor does not understand the difference between subject and object pronouns, then perhaps he or she should seek other work.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Evan and Jo meet in a small town where neither of them are favored. They find solace in a neighborhood pool. Evan an Jo become special to each other and when trouble arises they become each others everything. Evan takes so good care of Jo that when he makes the ultimate sacrifice for her with a promise to her you feel it deep in your soul. It was an amazing twist and such a beautiful listen. The narrator captured all the emotions that run high in this story. Overall it was a great story of true love and a excellent listen.
I was provided a free a copy this audiobook in exchange for a honest review.
I like to read/listen to urban fantasy & science fiction, but every now and then something catches my attention outside of my normally preferred genres. “How To Save A Life” is one of those books. It is a story about two tragically broken people that will really move you. Josephine Clark is both physically and emotionally scarred. Evan Salinger is a loner freak that is even thought to be a mental case by many. Somehow these two find each other and have a healing effect on each other. Then tragedy intervenes and they are torn apart leaving each to cope as best they can. After years of sadness, circumstances bring them back together along with more problems that could separate them forever.
There is a sort of poetic tone to how Emma Scott wrote “How To Save A Life” and narrator, Ramona Master seems to have understood that tone perfectly. Her narration of Ms. Scott’s words is perfect. “How To Save A Life” is not a perfect novel, but it delivers a moving experience that is well worth your time. Finally, this audio book was provided by the narrator at no cost in exchange for an honest review, courtesy of Audio Book Boom.
Any additional comments?
An engaging, heartbreaking and emotional second chance at love roller-coaster ride of a story with a little paranormal twist. The story has both YA and NA aspects. The story starts out while they are still in high school and covers a span of 4 years. <br/><br/>The story is told through both the POV's of Evan and Josephine (Jo). <br/><br/>Life has never been easy for Evan or Jo. The hand life has dealt them has not been an easy one. They both dream of the day when they free to leave their current lives behind and never look back. They are 2 damaged souls that have an instant "connection" to each other. A connection that is permanent and unbreakable.<br/><br/> For a short period of time in high school they are each others saving grace. Two halves of a whole. That all comes crashing down in one swoop. Evan is sent to jail, Jo graduates and leaves town. Years later following his "intuition" Evan unexpectedly comes back into Jo's life at the exact time she needs him. Saving her life in more ways than one. It's not just her life Evan is saving, he's trying to save his own as well. <br/><br/> Their second chance at love and a better life will not come easy or without a price. <br/> <br/> Ramona Master does the narration for this story. This is not the first time I have listened to her narrate a book. She does a really good job with the narration for the most part. Pleasant voice. Clearly spoken. Her voice fit the characters. Some really good character voices. She able to make you feel all the emotions of the characters. Bringing them and the story to life. There are times the narration flows smoothly for a while then it will switch sounding choppy and uneven. At times the halting uneven flow fits the storyline and the events happening perfectly. But this should not be the flow of the narration for some parts of the story. It sounds like she is hesitating from one line to the next. She's drawing out the last word of a line until she starts the next line this effects the flow of the narration at times. Overall though very enjoyable.<br/><br/> I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator or publisher.<br/>
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
The narrator, Ramona Master, does an excellent job. Having already read the book I was excited to listen to the audio version and I was not disappointed. I have recommended both the book and the audio version to my fellow reader friends and will definitely listen to more by Ms. Master.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Evan won my heart, so he by far was my favorite character. I felt his pain, sorry, his feelings of emptiness and loneliness. And yet, I knew from the very beginning that he would have a heart full of love and kindness and gentleness. I was right!
Which scene was your favorite?
Although I cannot explain it, the prom night scene when Evan's little brother was injured has stuck with me. I felt everything Evan felt in that moment and even later as he blamed himself and just kind of resigned himself to his fate since he felt it was all his fault.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
My emotions were all over the place with this book. It made me laugh and cry; it made me angry and it made hope for a love unmarred by the ugliness of life. The pain and heartache from both Evan and Jo are so poignant and real I ached for both of them as I walked with them through their journey.
Any additional comments?
This book has all the feels!! It is a beautiful story of sorry, loss, sadness and the redemptive power of love; the right love. I absolutely loved it!!<br/><br/>I received a copy of this audiobook for an unbiased review.<br/>
What made the experience of listening to How to Save a Life the most enjoyable?
I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher. Such an emotional story with heart wrenching pain and love!! This story was told very well and I loved Jo and Evan!!! The things they do to get back to one another will take you on a beautiful journey!
Growing up with a mother who had "feelings" that always came to fruition, I went into this story open-minded. There has to be some level of believability for me to thoroughly enjoy any book, as I'm not big on outrageous storylines or fantasy. I am always looking to escape with new friends on a realistic journey when I pick up a book. This one did not disappoint.
Evan has a gift that branded him as the 'freak' and Jo had the childhood that branded her as her own kind of damaged. Their connection from beginning to end was its own twisted fairy tale. The characters were tortured souls yet relatable. Their journey was well-written and engaging.
Narration was a bit 'breathy' at times but I quickly got used to it and fell right under Ramona's spell. I finished in less than 36 hours and I'm not ashamed to admit I neglected my responsibilities to get to the end as quickly as possible.
Overall very well done and I'm glad I stumbled into this one. Emma Scott is now on my TBR immediately list. Definitely worth a credit!
I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator. This did not influence my review in any way.