BOOK REVIEW – How to Save a Life by Emma Scott

BOOK REVIEW –  How to Save a Life by Emma ScottHow to Save a Life by Emma Scott
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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 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.

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. Mature subject matter and sexual situations. TRIGGER WARNING: some domestic violence (on the page) and mentions of sexual abuse (off the page) For readers 18 years and up.


How To Save A Life kept me intrigued with its fresh twist on a familiar storyline and with characters who boldly stood out.  Yes we have a girl who chooses each time she moves to a new school to be a freak or a slut (fyi she chooses the latter this time) and a boy who is shunned by the rest of the school.  Yet their back story and how they handled their situation felt entirely unique to me.  It left me wanting to know what would happen to them.  And if they could fight the odds for a happily ever after.

I was trapped between who I was and who they wanted me to be and it was crushing the life out of me so I could hardly breathe. – Evan

The first half of this book was set in High School and I loved this section of the book.  Even though I struggled liking Jo in the first few chapters.  You see, she’s set herself on this path to control how others view her.  And while that sounds reasonable, the ways she goes about it, like giving someone else’s boyfriend a blowjob behind the bleachers, made me cringe.  How in the world could I connect or like her?!  I didn’t think it would happen.  But she shockingly won me over.  And it helped that she hides nothing from the reader, so we get to understand why she acts the way she does.  My heart hurt for this girl and the life she’d been dealt.  Luckily Evan stepped into her life, and hope bloomed into my heart for the both of them.

His fingers ran through my hair and caressed my cheek. “Let’s do something really fucking crazy and trust each other.”
I laughed a small sob. “Okay.” – Jo

When Evan and Jo met for the first time *smiles hugely* you could feel the pull and connection between them.  Here’s this girl who’s never had a true friend and is constantly moving around and here’s this boy who has been shunned by the whole school and is constantly taunted and mocked, yet together they work.  When they’re around each other they can finally laugh, smile and be happy.  They can be themselves.  There’s finally hope in both of their lives.  Their moments together were beautifully perfect and butterfly inducing.  And when their sweet friendship took a dive into the steamy area, wow.  I had SO much hope that this book was going to be a solid 5 Stars.

They say all who wander are not lost. But some of us are. We’re really fucking lost, wandering until our feet bleed, and it feels like we’ll never find our way home again. – Jo

But right after the halfway mark we jump 4 years into the future, and the second part of this book fell flat for me.  Everything felt so different.  I wasn’t able to connect with Jo.  Then Evan did SO much for Jo, and instead of swooning over him like I should have, I kept thinking why was he doing all of this?  Because I couldn’t feel the connection between them anymore.  So I was devastated with how this second half unfolded.  Especially since the first half was so breathtaking.

I let go.
He caught me and held me up. My arms went around his bruised and beaten body, and I held him up too. Together, we stood upright and unwavering. I was strong in Evan’s arms. And I never wanted it to end. Ever. – Jo

Speaking of breathtaking……Evan….sigh.  There’s a reason why I didn’t gush on and on about Evan.  You slowly get brought into his world, when it’s through his point of view.  As I got to learn more about him, not only did I become more devastated but I kept falling harder for him.  Which makes being conflicted over this book so brutal.  Because I loved the first half and the characters, but that second part left me entirely unsatisfied.  So I think what I’m going to do is try another book by this author.  Because the potential for me loving her work is there.  So fingers crossed the next one I pick up will be a much better fit for me!

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  1. AngelErin

    I’m not sure this one is for me, but I’m so glad you enjoyed it!! 😀😀
    AngelErin recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday- Lifeblood (Everlife #2) By: Gena ShowalterMy Profile

    • AngelErin

      I added it to my to read list anyway. Maybe some day I’ll give it a try. 😀
      AngelErin recently posted…#Discussion-When A Reviewer Doesn’t Want To ReviewMy Profile

      • Jen

        I think you’d like the first half but that second half, yeah, I’m not so sure. If you give it a try someday, hopefully you’ll like the book as a whole more than I did! 🙂

  2. Karen Blue

    I am not big on YA Romance, so I wouldn’t normally pick up something like this. I like the idea of them meeting up 4 years later. Sorry you didn’t love it.
    Karen Blue recently posted…My First Car vs. My Current Car ~Beyond the BooksMy Profile

    • Jen

      The weird thing is the author specifically states in places that this book is not YA but half of the book is set in High School which makes that setting YA. And with the 2nd half being set 4 years later, than that section is in the NA category. *shrugs* Thank you!

  3. Christy Luis

    It’s always nice to find a potential new author. In fact, that sounds like a blog post theme! “Books That Announce a New ‘Author to Watch.'” 🙂

    Here’s to hoping book II is better!

    • Jen

      That would be such a fun Top Ten Post or just a regular post! Thank you, I hope the 2nd book I try by her is so much better too!

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