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“I didn’t save you,” I said…
“You did, Jo. It might not seem like it, but you did.”
Beautifully written with gorgeous imagery, this book captivated me from the very first page. I cannot believe that it took me this long to read my first Emma Scott book. I can honestly say that I am now hooked on this author after only reading one book. She has a fantastic writing style and the depth of this story, complexity of these characters, and the amount of feels this book delivers make this story one that will stick with me. How to Save a Life is a stunningly romantic love story about two broken people who affect each other so completely that there is no going back once they meet.
Jo has had a rough childhood and terrible things happened in her past that shaped the way she is and the way she lives. She’s the new girl in Planerville, Iowa, and she hopes she can finish out the school year before having to pick up and move again with Gerry – her mother’s cousin, her sole guardian, and a trucker who frequently moved them around. She is ready to stay somewhere for more than a few months and once she turns 18 she’ll be on her own. She doesn’t allow people to get close to her and she always needs to be the one in control. Then she meets Evan.
Evan is mysterious and a complete anomaly. Known as an outcast and freak at school, you would never guess it from his outward appearance. There is something about Evan that intrigues Jo. She can almost feel him without even touching him. But that can’t be right, can it?
I loved this book and the rollercoaster of emotions it made me feel. The heartbreaking lows were almost too hard to handle while the joyous highs were indescribable. The whole storyline was complex and well-delivered. Every detail was significant and created an amazing journey that played like a movie in my head. Broken into two parts, each one was heartbreaking and breathtaking in their own way. The first part focused on their pasts, the awful events that they lived through before and after them met. It was a gorgeous telling of a first love and I swooned watching it grow into a beautiful relationship. Then terrible circumstances occur that rip them apart.
Part two jumps four years into the future. Jo and Evan are in different places in their lives and haven’t seen each other since the day they were ripped apart. The connection they have in part two is just as strong as in part one and the trust and love that remained in their hearts is astounding.
These characters were complex, well-developed, and fantastic together. I loved that Evan and Jo were so similar and their dreams were the same. Both wanted to leave and start over. To be free and happy. They were broken in their own ways and were dealt a hard hand. Their tragic situations played roles in who they became. The pain they held inside is devastating and I couldn’t help but feel it too. The happiness they felt when they were together fully warmed my heart and put a smile on my face.
Two ghosts who though they were too broken to be of worth to anybody, now reborn. Alive and at peace as the sun sank behind the trees, rimming them in fire.
Jo was wonderful. She wasn’t perfect but I really enjoyed her character. I loved her strength and bravery, and the dreams she had. She was scarred inside and out and it was painful to learn about her past. But she was a fighter even when she didn’t think she would win. She loved with her whole heart and trusted Evan completely even when he didn’t know exactly where the path they were on would lead them.
“The only truth I have is that it’ for us. Everything I do is for us. For you.”
I adored Evan. My heart hurt so much for the things he had to endure. Life isn’t fair sometimes and I just wept for him. It was beautiful how Evan gave Jo the strength to believe in herself and never saw anything but the good in her. He was amazing and had a big heart that stayed true and beautiful, and I loved how deeply he loved Jo.
“Do you ever…” I heard her swallow hard. “Do you think about us? What we had?”
My chest ached at the longing in her voice. The fearful tentative reaching across the space between us.
“Every minute,” I said. “I think about us every minute of my life. All I do is think about us.”
I loved watching their friendship and love overcome the obstacles put in their way. Their support and unconditional love was touching.They believed in each other and never lost the love in their heart. I admired the way they dealt with things head-on maturely and their openness and honesty with each other.
It has supernatural elements in it that makes this story magical and unique. This story took turns that kept me questioning what was really going on and kept me on edge waiting to figure it all out. I loved the mystery and wanted to know the truth so badly. By the end everything came together perfectly, and with its gorgeous epilogue, I couldn’t have asked for anything better. Overall, this story was enchanting and beautiful, and I loved it.
“I love you more that anything. More than my own life. No, that’s not true. You are my life.”
*Side note: I listened to the audio verision and it was fantastically narrated. I highly recommend it.
(These books are inter-connected but can standalone.)