Girl Saves Boy by Steph Bowe

This is a stunning debut novel from a 16 year old writer who really knows what she’s doing with her words!
Jewel Valentine is returning to her small town after ten years of being sent away living with her grandparents. On the night she returns, she rescues a boy, Sacha, from drowning. Both are quirky characters who’ve had hard lives and they are instantly drawn to one another by understanding and hope. Sacha hasn’t had a lot of hope in his life. His mother has recently died, and he’s spent most of his childhood in the hospital undergoing radiation for his leukemia.
This is a really enjoyable novel written for 14-17 year olds, which depicts that strange border of youth and adulthood with remarkable clarity and insight. Often Jewel and Sacha seem like they’re eight year olds going on fifty year olds, as they try and sort themselves out in their often not very supportive world.
The only problem with this novel is that just about everyone in it has ‘issues’. I’m talking about a hundred percent of participants having: a missing/dead parent/sibling/spouse, divorced parents, a parent who has recently come out, a terminal illness. Mix and match those as you please, almost every character has at least one of those attributes if not three or four. And occasionally something happens quite quickly, or people react in unusual and unexplained ways that jut out of the smooth, controlled writing. Somehow though, with Steph Bowe at the helm, it’s not too worrying. She really knows what she’s doing with her narration and dialogue, and her zany characters. Great to see such masterful writing for someone so young.


~ by ConsanguineousMind on June 21, 2010.

6 Responses to “Girl Saves Boy by Steph Bowe”

  1. I think the fact that everyone has “issues” is life, not a contrivance of plot…

    • Definately Lauren, agreed. I think that perhaps there were just too many issues for one book. Sometimes having peripheral characters with the same kinds of problems as the main protagonists can take away from the story I think. But maybe I’m just being picky because I’m jealous of Steph’s writing! 🙂

  2. oh hell, i was lookin forward to hey! book for the yr from the teenager of the yr 😦 i’m so sick of issues books. everyone has issues, yes, but that’s NORMAL, and they are understated in life. when they noticably weigh down books (or when a reviewer is compelled to mention em), then they’re presented as reasons to pity people, not normal. why do we have to make ‘issues’ of issues?

    • Definitely read it, if only for the great writing. Steph manages cool understatement in everything but the very occasional melodrama (and occasionally understatement where emotions should realistically be played up more). It really is enjoyable though. Don’t let me put you off. I’m cynical and old.

  3. Can’t wait to read this. I’m with Lauren. Everyone has issues – it’s called life. ‘Issues’ books are generally about one person with one problem, which becomes the focus of the book. Steph’s book sounds like one in which the ‘issues’ are the background and living life is in the foreground. Imagien how bland and unlifelike a book would be in which no one had ‘issues’ at all.

    • Yes do read it! And to all commenters never let a reviewer’s judgement stop you from reading a book and making your own decisions about it!

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