A gripping novel full of suspense and pathos that Dennis Lehane calls an "electrifying, tomahawk missile of a thriller."
Patrick Cusimano is in a bad way. His father is in jail; he works the midnight shift at a grubby convenience store; and his brother's girlfriend, Caro, has taken their friendship to an uncomfortable new level. On top of all that, he can't quite shake the attentions of Layla Elshere, a goth teenager who befriends Patrick for reasons he doesn't understand, and doesn't fully trust. The temptations these two women offer are pushing Patrick to his breaking point.
Meanwhile, Layla's little sister, Verna, is suffering through her first year of high school. She's become a prime target for her cruel classmates, not just because of her strange name and her fundamentalist parents: Layla's bad-girl rep proves to be too a huge shadow for Verna, so she falls in with her sister's circle of outcasts and misfits whose world is far darker than she ever imagined.
Kelly Braffet's characters, indelibly portrayed and richly varied, are all on their own twisted path to finding peace. The result is a novel of unnerving power - darkly compelling, addictively written, and shockingly honest.
There are instances when the extreme darkness seems endless but Braffet’s incisive writing is brilliant and edgy and it keeps you reading through the worst of it. There’s something strangely mesmerizing in watching the characters’ brave struggles. (Reviewed by Poornima Apte).
Sex is the driving force here - as power, as weapon, and as shield - and the sweaty mechanics of the few characters recall Tennessee Williams (and would look awfully good filmed in black and white). Perceptive, nervy, and with broad cross-genre appeal.
Braffet writes beautifully, but the over-the-top human cruelty and depravity she incorporates in this story are both disturbing and creepy. A horrifying look at damaged people who owe all they are to their awful parents.
Starred Review. Braffet (Last Seen Leaving) uses graceful prose, astute dialogue, and vivid characters to carry the plot to an unexpected and believable finale.
Dennis Lehane, author of Live by Night
Kelly Braffet is the real deal. Save Yourself is an electrifying, tomahawk missile of a thriller with honest-to-God people at its core. It rocks the house.
Megan Abbott, author of Dare Me
Kelly Braffet's Save Yourself is that rare and beautiful thing - a novel that takes us to dark places not just through vivid storytelling but also through keen emotional force. It's a tale of damaged families and the perilous weight of the past, and as the action rushes towards its chilling conclusion, you'll find yourselves breathless, shaken, moved.
Emma Straub, author of Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures
Astonishing. Save Yourself goes deep into the hidden and shameful parts of grief, love, and anger, and the reader emerges shaken and grateful on the far end. It's a lacerating read, and proves that Braffet is a writer in full command of her many, many talents.
In Save Yourself, Patrick Cusimano works at Zoney's, a 24-hour convenience store in a small fictional town in Pennsylvania called Ratchetsburg. He finds his candy-striped uniform and the sterile atmosphere of the place stifling, yet work here is one of just a few options for town residents. From what Braffet describes, it seems like Zoney's is the only food store around for miles. Such areas, where access to fresh produce and food is quite limited, are labeled "food deserts."
According to the USDA, an area qualifies as a food desert if it is both a "low-income" community and also a "low-access" community. "Low income" as defined for these purposes by the USDA is a census tract (a statistical segment of a county designated for census purposes) with 20 percent or more of the population living below the poverty line. "Low-access" is defined as 500 people or 33 percent of a census...
Sterling is a small, ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens -- until the day its complacency is shattered by a shocking act of violence. In the aftermath, the town's residents must not only seek justice in order to begin healing but also come to terms with the role they played in the tragedy.
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Oldest romance writer in the world dies aged 105. Books #124 and #125 to be published next year(Dec 10 2013) Ida Pollock, author of more than 120 books, and believed to be the world's oldest romantic novelist, has died at the age of 105.