Sunday, April 20, 2014

Review: This Side of Salvation by Jeri Smith-Ready

I would like to thank Jeri Smith-Ready for sending me a copy of This Side of Salvation.  I am a huge fan of her Shade and WVMP Radio series, so I was thrilled when I received this ARC.  While her other books involve ghosts and vampires, this is a YA contemporary.

The story is told from David Cooper's point of view.  He is a sixteen year-old high school student who is anything but your typical boy.  Prior to the start of the book he experienced the traumatic loss of an older brother and turned to religion as a means of coping.  Meanwhile, his father went completely off the deep end.  He lost his job and stated talking in "Bibleish"....he only uses bible quotes when speaking.  I can't even imagine how many hours Jeri must have spent researching possible bible quotes to apply to conversations about the weather, video games, school, baseball and other every day situations.

David and his older sister Mara are home schooled, but David is the star pitcher for the local high school team.  They attend community college and other courses outside of the home and seem to have a fairly normal social life....even though bringing friends home is a complete embarrassment unless their Dad is away.

David's parents believe the Rush...aka the going to take place in a couple of months and want their children to give up everything in preparation.  While David thinks his parents are crazy, he goes along with their wishes with one stipulation...his Dad has to seek counselling when the Rush doesn't happen.

While the book has a religious undertone it by no means tries to influence anyone's beliefs.  It is more of a mystery as David, Mara, his girlfriend Bailey, and his best friend Kane try to solve the disappearance of his parents.  The story starts out in the present and bounces back and forth between the past and present.  We get to experience a teenage boy's first experiences with dating from his perspective...which were VERY amusing.  We also get to spend a lot of time inside the head of a star athlete.  What is he thinking during a game, what goes into his training, etc.

I just started training for my first 1/2 marathon and couldn't have related more to the following quotes from TSOS:

"I went out before sunrise for my run.  I liked some aspects of being out before the world woke up, like not having to dodge cars backing out of driveways.  But the silence unnerved me.  Too long without sound and my thoughts tended to run in dysfunctional loops."

For me, it would sound something like this:  OMG...I can't breathe,  my legs hurt, how much longer do I have to do this.....

"So music accompanied each step keeping me going when my body begged me to stop.  It helped me dig deep and remember the Joe DiMaggio quote hanging in my room.  "You ought to run the hardest when you feel the worst.""

David is 100% correct.  This is exactly why I run with my iPod.  The distraction is the only thing that gets me through my runs.  I'm supposed to complete a 4 mile training run this afternoon.  I can barely walk from the 4 runs earlier this week, but I will finish the mileage my training program says I should do with the help of some of my favorite bands.  I will be especially thankful when I finish because tomorrow is an "off day". I will not have to run again until Tuesday.  Woo Hoo!!

Overall, I felt like this was a very well written and enjoyable story.  I gave it five out of five stars and would recommend it to all of my friends who are fans of YA.

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