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A Reader of Fictions: Review + Guest Post + Giveaway: Salvation Blog Tour

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Monday, December 24, 2012

Review + Guest Post + Giveaway: Salvation Blog Tour


Author: Anne Osterlund
Pages: 288
Publisher: Speak
Publication Date: January 10, 2013
Source: Author for review

Description from Goodreads:
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.

First Sentence: "The night was insane."

I was completely thrilled when Anne Osterlund asked me to take part in the blog tour for her upcoming novel Salvation. Prior to this novel, she has three works published: Academy 7, Aurelia, and Exile. All three were delightful reads, with Aurelia having been my favorite. Still, blog tours can be nerve-wracking, because if you don't like the book, it's seriously awkward. In this case, I needn't have worried, as Anne has impressed me yet again with her variety as an author and her lovely storytelling.

My very favorite thing about Salvation is the subject matter. As we readers know, YA fiction tends to focus on a particular type of character: white and upper middle class. Sure, there's nothing wrong with those sorts of character, but there are a lot more types of people in the world, and fiction is meant to reflect life.

In Salvation, both of the main characters, Salva and Beth are both very poor, but very bright, standing a chance to get out of their town, where most people work at the onion factory. Beth lives in a battered trailer with her mother, who struggles with alcoholism. Luckily, Beth has a trust put aside for her education, if not for anything else. Salva, however, needs to get a full ride to whatever college he attends, which should be possible since he has a good shot at being the valedictorian.

Salva, short for Salvador (and also a pun on the title), is also Mexican (and note the lack of whitewashing on the cover!). He and his friends rule the school, the most popular kids at Liberty High. Beth has had a crush on him since eighth grade, but he's never paid any attention to her before. This changes when he needs her help to pass AP English, his weakest subject. Of course, in working together, they grow feelings and it's super cute.

Their relationship comes to be very slowly, really before either one of them particularly realizes it. Salva and Beth have so many preconceived notions about one another, whether good or ill, and watching them come to appreciate one another for real is just touching. Also, they flirt with Shakespeare, which has to be the best way to flirt. Never have I liked the death scene in Romeo & Juliet more. Best of all, once they finally do get together, it's really awkward, just the way fledgling relationships are with parents and how to act at school and how to act with one another.

Towards the end, I worried things were going to a bad place plot-wise, one of melodrama and needless tears, but Anne brought things together. All of the plot threads come together to make a satisfying ending, though not an unreservedly happy one. Of all of her books, I think this one definitely has the most serious message, one that will be wonderful for teens. Salvation is all about taking action, fighting for rights, doing your best, and finding your passion.

Salvation is written in third person limited, following Salva and Beth. The book might have been more powerful in first person, because, as it is, I never was able to completely bond with the characters. I really love Salva, but Beth proves a bit trickier. Beth is a quiet character, and I think really seeing through her eyes would have been a beautiful thing, because she clearly does not see things the way that I do.

If you're looking for YA with diversity in both race and socioeconomic status, Salvation is a delight. Populated with lifelike characters and a lovely message, I highly recommend Osterlund's latest to lovers of contemporary novels.

Rating: 4/5

Favorite Quote: "There was something to be said for paint spattered all outside the lines."

I gave Anne this prompt, and she did something delightful with it (and made me a fictional character, SQUEE!): From your emails and your blog, I can tell how close you are to your characters. What is it like having them in your head? What do they do to get out? Do they ever get together with characters from other books and
have a tea party?

SALVATION Blog Tour: An Epic Launch
AKA The Hazards of a Tea Party
By Anne Osterlund

          The invitation arrives via e-mail. I laugh as I read, then make the announcement.
          “So everyone,” I tell my characters, even though I know they’ve been spying and are already aware. “In honor of Salva and Beth’s upcoming release of their brand new book, Salvation, Christina has invited us all to a tea party at A Reader of Fictions.”
          Instant bedlam. The girls are all digging through their closets.
          Dane, from my earlier book, Academy 7, says flat-out that he doesn’t do tea parties. “What”—he says—“does a contemporary novel in which everyone’s life is a mess have to do with a tea party?”
          I point out that Salvation isn’t his story so the choice of accepting the invitation isn’t up to him. “Salva?” I question the real hero.
          “Will there be food?” Salva asks, spinning a football.
          “Touchdown.” He tosses the ball straight for the bucket at the edge of the porch, then gives Robert, from Aurelia and Exile, a high five. They are both on board.
          By now the girls have all congregated in Aurelia’s closet. (Aerin’s is empty, and Beth’s is a disaster). Twenty minutes later, we—minus Dane—arrive at A Reader of Fictions.
          The voice of our host, Christina, comes from a distance. She’s telling us all to make ourselves comfortable.
          A yummy smell wafts from an open door. Salva instantly disappears in that direction.
          Aurelia, formerly known as the crown princess of Tyralt, takes command. She directs Robert in the shifting of the table (toward a window with lots of light), then picks out the napkins (bright colors in honor of the celebration), and tells everyone where to sit.
          No one listens to her.
          Robert refuses to sit down before Aurelia.
          Aerin is hovering in the background—not because she really misses Dane, but because she has never participated in a tea party before and she doesn’t want to be in the way.
          Beth, who is supposed to sit in a central chair as a guest of honor, instead stumbles around, folding napkins and trying to be helpful. Trying is the operative word for this particular heroine. Her jeans are poking out from beneath her borrowed skirt. And she’d having a hard time balancing in high heels.
          Just then Christina arrives—bearing a porcelain teapot. Salva—who is wearing plain black jeans and a black t-shirt—also returns, laden with a heavy tray of holiday goodies (chocolate-covered cake balls, frosted-snowman sugar cookies, and mint-cheesecake brownies).
          Robert immediately poaches a brownie.
          And Beth trips over the phone cord, crashing into Salva.
          Who crashes into Robert.
          Christina leaps back, dropping the tea kettle.
          Then my other characters leap into action.
          Aerin—in a feat of martial-art expertise—rescues the tea.
          Aurelia rescues Robert.
          And Salva, who hit the ground hard, has somehow managed to cushion Beth’s fall, yet tilt the tray so that it hasn’t lost a single cookie.
          Ah, I think, this is what tea parties have to do with SALVATION.

I'm offering up my ARC and swag for Anne's four novels to one winner. Simply fill out THIS FORM and leave a comment by January 7! US/CAN.

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Blogger Kelly said...

I love Anne Osterlund's books ever since I read Academy 7. It was amazing and unique, and ever since then, I just knew I'll love the rest of her books. I can't wait until Salvation comes out!
Thanks for the giveaway! (:

December 24, 2012 at 12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cute cover :)
This seems interesting, and I actually prefer 3rd person to 1st usually.

December 24, 2012 at 12:47 PM  
Blogger Christina Fiorelli said...

Christina Kit. in the form

Lovely review and I love the guest post!! What a cute way of getting to know her characters. They're definitely like real people:)

Thank you:)

December 24, 2012 at 1:42 PM  
Blogger The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I'm really excited to try a contemporary from Osterlund after enjoying her previous three books-thanks for the giveaway!

December 24, 2012 at 2:20 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

So excited for a new book by Osterlund! I loved Academy 7 and Aurelia's stories :) Enjoyed the tea party scene, what a cute way to kick off a blog tour!

December 25, 2012 at 1:04 PM  
Blogger kitkat424 said...

I love the little story that Anne wrote to you as well! I can so see that happening with the characters from the different books. :) I can't wait to get to read this book of hers!

December 25, 2012 at 5:20 PM  
Blogger A Canadian Girl said...

I've read two of Anne's previous three books and loved both, especially Academy 7. I seriously hope there's a sequel to it in the future.

I'm looking forward to giving her contemporary a try; it sounds totally up my alley. And, I love that there's no whitewashing in the cover!

December 26, 2012 at 11:31 PM  
Blogger Nori said...

I love this author! I cannot wait to give her new contemporary a try! Glad to know that she can write in a completely different genre.

December 27, 2012 at 7:40 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Really looking forward to reading this. I love all of her previous books, and am really hoping for a last book in the Aurelia world and hopefully a few more in the Academy 7 world. I love how she can write in soe many different genres!

December 27, 2012 at 9:24 AM  
Blogger Anita Yancey said...

Sounds like a very interesting romance story. I love the cover and would enjoy reading the book. Thanks for having the giveaway.

December 28, 2012 at 9:01 PM  
Blogger Stiletto Storytime said...

Thanks for the review and the intro to a new book I had not heard of before. I will be adding it to my TBR list. Interesting insight into the genre of YA in general too.

Stiletto Storytime

December 30, 2012 at 5:51 PM  
Blogger Holly Letson said...

Would really love to read it.

January 6, 2013 at 9:49 AM  

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