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Sunday, 8 July 2012

Review: Girl Saves Boy

‘The first time we met, Jewel Valentine saved my life.’

When Sacha Thomas decides that the tragedies in his life are too much to bear, he tries to drown himself to escape the pain. When he is making his plans, he doesn’t count on Jewel Valentine saving him.

Jewel reminds Sacha that there are reasons to keep living, but even her influence can’t change the fact that Sacha is ill and his future looks bleak. Jewel has her own issues to deal including the memory of her brother’s death as a child and her father’s abandonment. Is Jewel strong enough to care for someone else who will leave her?

This amazing debut novel by 16-year-old Australian author Steph Bowe conveys a sense of hope in the midst of the very sad and complicated lives of the two central characters.

With a maturity beyond her years, Bowe raises issues such as childhood tragedy, divorce, terminal illness, suicide, abandonment and complicated family relationships while still creating a story that draws readers in and reminds them that life is worthwhile. The quirky personalities of the central characters and their friends and several genuinely funny scenes bring a welcome element of humour and light-heartedness to balance the more serious elements of the story.

Girl Saves Boy isn’t just about Jewel saving Sacha, but about the way they help each other deal with their damaged emotions in the way only someone else who has suffered can. The experiences of Sacha and Jewel are extreme, but sadly many readers will find elements of their story that they can connect with.

This novel doesn’t offer readers a nice story tied up neatly with a bow. The experiences of the characters are raw and their lives are dominated by painful memories and confronting issues, however the value of friendship, compassion and humour shines through and the novel really does offer a surprising sense of hope. Bad things happen to good people, but Girl Saves Boy is a reminder that despite the challenges of life, we can still choose to make our lives count and find pleasure in the moment and comfort in true friendship.

Title:  Girl Saves Boy
Author: Steph Bowe
Publisher: Text Publishing, $19.95 RRP
Publication Date:  30th August 2010
Format: Paperback
ISBN:  9781921656590
For ages:  14+ years
Type: Young adult fiction

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