Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Salvation by Anne Osterlund

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By:  Anne Osterlund
Nook, 207 pages
Published: January 10, 2013
Speak (Penguin Imprint)
Source:  Purchased

GR's Summary:

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.

My Thoughts:

When I first saw the cover of Salvation, and read the synopsis, I knew that this was a story that I had to read.  This story was about Salva, and his life experiences that led him on a journey of self-discovery, and self-realization, about the person he wanted to be, and the person he had to be.  His whole life, Salva had been looked up to, and respected by both his peers, and his elders.  He was a people pleaser, and most important in his life, was to make his father proud by fulfilling his father's dream.   The dream of Salva attending a state college, and making the most of his education.  Salva had a very close-knit group of friends.  Pepe (his best friend,) Char (the girl he'd grown up with since childhood,) and Tosa, Luka, and Linette, the popular crowd at Salva's high school.  However, his friends were not as intelligent, (with the exception of Luka), hard-working, or ambitious as he was.  Salva was in all AP classes, on the high school football team with his friends, ASB president at his high school, and well-liked by everyone.  He planned to get a scholarship to a state college, and major in engineering.  This was his father's dream for him, and was his mother's as well, before she got cancer, and died.  While in AP English, Salva struggled with getting good grades, (a first for him,) and asked Beth, a girl in his English class, to tutor him.  Little did he know, Beth had a crush on him since middle school.  Beth was highly intelligent, very disorganized, and Salva referred to her as, "the walking disaster area."  After much persistence from Salva, Beth agreed to tutor him.  As Salva and Beth got to know one another, she made him see his life in a whole new way.   Beth taught him how to be a more critical thinker, question everything, and how to express his thoughts, opinions, and emotions.  Beth ultimately made Salva a stronger person, and they fell in love along the way...

Overall, Salvation was a great story!  The plot was slow-building, but then it took off, and picked up pace.  I enjoyed the multi-cultural flavor of the story.  Ms. Osterlund did an excellent job of showing the traditional values, customs, and harsh struggles of immigrants.  "La Familia," took priority in the traditional mexican culture.  Everyone pulled together, and worked as a team towards the success of the family as a whole.  The youth was expected to respect their elders, and the elders were expected to contribute to the family in any way they could.  I could see the family structure so clearly, along with the customs, and culture in this story.  I was impressed with how well Ms. Osterlund demonstrated the internal and external struggles of the second generation Mexican-Americans, (the children,) and how their ideas and thoughts conflicted with the more traditional values, and roles of the parents.  The whole cultural aspect of Salvation was both enlightening, and honest.

Another aspect I thought was beautiful to watch was Salva's self-discovery of who he was, and who he wanted to become.  Salva made immense character growth in this story.  At the beginning of the story, Salva tried to please everyone, and keep his mouth shut.   Instead of expressing his thoughts, emotions, and opinions, he let fear stop him from being the best that he could possibly be.  By the end of the story, with the guidance of Beth, Salva expressed his thoughts and emotions, stood up for his beliefs, was honest with himself, as well as his father about what he wanted, and didn't let fear stand in the way of persuing his dreams.

One aspect, that I was a little disappointed with, was the lack of romance and passion between Beth and Salva in the story.  I felt like most of the story, Beth and Salva kept their feelings for one another to themselves, and I would have liked to see them get together sooner.  Also, I didn't feel the connection between Beth and Salva as strongly as I would have liked, until the end of the story.  There romance was extremely slow building.  Perhaps a little too slow building for my taste.  

My Rating:

Overall, this is an excellent story, that touched on the traditions and values of the Mexican-American Culture.  Salvation, was about the difficult journey to self-realization, and self-actualization.  It was about discovering who you are, letting go of other people's expectations for you, and learning how to realize what is important in your own life, what you are passionate about, and making your own decisions.  I give Salvation, by Anne Osterlund, 4 Beautifully Transforming Stars!  If you enjoy stories about culture, self-discovery, and great character growth, Salvation is a great choice for a bookish escape!

"She might be crazy-wearing that thin dress on a night that was maybe twenty-nine degrees.  And she might be a nerd-because, really, who from Liberty High School ever applied to go to Stanford?  And she was most definitely a walking disaster area.  But she was also beautiful."  (Nook, 69-70)

"What were a hundred or a thousand or three thousand miles in comparison to the distance between life and death?"  (Nook, 204)

"It was her chaos-the glorious unrestrained emotion that was Beth-which had saved him.  Her amazing capacity to challenge and love and forgive."  (Nook, 205)

Anne Osterlund grew up in the sunshine of Eastern Oregon and graduated from Whitworth College.  She lives in a cute little yellow house with her new feline friend, Charlotte, and her own library of young adult books.  She also teaches sixth grade and enjoys immersing her students in language, literature, and imagination.   Anne has written four novels, Salvation, Aurelia, Academy 7, and Exile, all published by Penguin Books.  She has dreams of many more in the future.  Unveil the intrigue at www.anneosterlund.com

Anne Osterlund's:  Website/Goodreads/Facebook

Purchase At:  Amazon/Barnes and Noble


                                             Escape in a Book,

1 comment:

  1. I like the fact that it's a boy that is the smart, straight laced, golden student and it's the girl that is a bit wilder. Changing up the dynamics makes this book intriguing to me. Loved the review Lindy


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