Debut-novelist Jenny Elliott’s thrilling romance, chosen by readers, writers, and publishers for the first list in the new Swoon Reads imprint, pours on the tension and danger in an addictive combination that will keep you turning pages!
Something strange is going on in the tiny coastal town of Liberty, Oregon. Cara has never seen a whale swim close enough for her to touch it—let alone knock her into the freezing water. Fortunately, cute newcomer David is there to save her, and the rescue leads to a bond deeper than Cara ever imagined.
But then she learns something about David that changes everything, and Cara is devastated. She turns to her best friend for support, but Rachel has changed. She’s suddenly into witchcraft, and is becoming dangerously obsessed with her new boyfriend….
Cara has lost her best friend, discovered that her soul mate is off limits, and has attracted the attention of a stalker. But she’s not completely alone. Her mysterious, gorgeous new friend Garren is there to support her. But is Garren possibly too perfect?
Save Me is not your typical paranormal romance. This is a fresh take on the genre with a supernatural twist. Something dark and sinister is afoot in Liberty, a fictional town on the Oregon coast. Cara, a high school senior with a love of whales, volunteers part time for Liberty Charters, a whale watching tours business. While working a tour, she meets a cute newcomer to town when both are tossed overboard by a transient killer whale. Thus begins an intense romance that is doomed before it starts because David is completely off limits.
A second newcomer, Garren, provides a much-needed, albeit not romantic, distraction as she pines for David and watches her best friend, Rachel, become that girl. The one who ditches her best friend for her new boyfriend, Ethan. But there’s more to Ethan than meets the eye and Cara soon fears for her Rachel. Add to that a jealous girl with her sights set on David, more transient whale sightings, and things become mysteriously eerie.
Save Me takes a traditional, religious look at witchcraft and demon possession that is both creepy with shades of The Exorcist, as well as endearingly sweet. There is no overt horror, no strong language, and no sex, making this a safe choice for younger teens and even middle grade students who like their stories on the darker side.
The main plot revolves around the witchcraft and there are a lot of balls in the air, making it fun to try to figure out what’s going on. The subplots involving who Garren really is, Cara’s affection for Grayback and Bobbie, the local whales, and the romance with David all add lighter moments to the darker main plot. Author Jenny Elliott doles out the information we need, as we need it, to keep us in the story. She builds to a climax, weaving together all of her subplots into the main plot, and tying up all the loose ends in a satisfying conclusion.
World building is where Save Me really shines. I can almost feel the briny ocean air, sense the cool sand beneath my toes, hear the waves crashing to shore through the descriptive settings, tone, and word choices the author makes. Liberty, Oregon comes alive inside the pages. The world of witchcraft, demon possession, and religious symbolism and rituals all have an air of authenticity, but are fueled by Elliott’s imagination. She’s clearly done her research, but allows her own creativity to influence the rules around the world she’s created.
Cara is mature for her age which keeps her from making so many of the impulsive teenage mistakes a lot of characters in this genre are famous for, and it’s refreshing. It also makes her relationship with David, who is a bit older, not only believable by understandable. It never seems implausible that a man four years older would be attracted to a teen girl because she’s intelligent, wise beyond her years, and caring.
The conflict between Cara and her mother over her relationship with David is realistic. David was also quite believable in his role as the forbidden love interest who tries so hard to do the right thing, despite his strong feelings for Cara. The romance between Cara and David is so sweet that it is a welcomed offset to the dark themes of witchcraft and demons. It’s like the perfect sweet and sour chicken – just enough of both to make a delicious blend.
Top Five Things I Enjoyed About Save Me
1. The descriptive details of Liberty, Oregon and the way the author makes the setting come alive.
2. The paranormal twist based on religion and witchcraft which is a refreshing departure from what I’ve read in this genre recently.
3. That cover! I mean it’s gorgeous and it fits the mood for the story so perfectly.
4. Cara’s devotion to her best friend, Rachel, and how determined she is to save her.
5. The underlying story of the whales that threads through the story, tying everything together and epitomizing the themes of good versus evil.
Save Me is a fresh take on the paranormal romance that is both darker and lighter than many others in the genre.
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
About the Book
Title: Save Me
Author: Jenny Elliott
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
About the Author
Jenny Elliott is a lifelong resident of Washington State and lives in Spokane with her husband and four kids.
Writing fiction is her favorite method for avoiding insanity. Other avoidance techniques include reading, playing Scrabble, and browsing social media sites.
Save Me is her first novel.