Friday, September 24, 2010

ARC Review: Salvaged by Stefne Miller

by Stefne Miller

'My body was being torn apart, and my stomach felt as if it exploded. The pain was excruciating, and I was aware that I was dying... 'Mom?' My vision was murky, but I could see her face. It was bloody, and her eyes were large and full of fear. Her voice calmed. 'Get out of the car, Attie.' Her words sounded crisp and clear. I looked into the backseat in search of Melody and found her lying covered in blood in a twisted heap on the floor. I turned my attention back to my mother and out of the corner of my eye saw fire. 'Get out, Attie!' 'Mom?' Everything went dark.'

Attie Reed should have died in the wreck that stole the lives of her mother and best friend. But her life was spared. Why? When Attie moves to Oklahoma to stay with the Bennetts for the summer, she hopes she has left her nightmares behind. But her battle is far from over, and Riley Bennett steps forward to help her fight the nighttime monsters. As the battle wears on, Riley begins fighting monsters of his own: his feelings for Attie. And Attie realizes she must begin to face the monsters of the night herself if she wants to conquer them for good. Can Attie's life be Salvaged?

I received a copy of this book courtesy of Star Book Tours.

I don't even know where to start with Salvaged. I liked where the story was heading in the first couple chapters and didn't even mind the Oklahoma accent that the author threw in. However, in Chapter 3, Jesus shows up sitting on Attie's bed wearing jeans and a t-shirt, and I knew this book wasn't for me.

I only read the description of the book, not any of the reviews online, so I hadn't realized that Salvaged is a Christian fiction novel. Instead, it sounded more like Courtney Summer's Cracked Up to Be. Had I known, I would not have signed up for the ARC tour. I spent fourteen years in Catholic school and four years in a very overtly religious Catholic youth group, so don't try telling me that I need to head back to church and affirm my faith. I just don't enjoy Christian literature. Especially not when God/Jesus talks to one of the main characters. That, to me, is a whole new level of unbelievable.

I made it through Chapter 11 before abandoning the book. The characters were too naive to be believable - even my most puritanical Christian friends knew the basics of make-up and boys, even if it was only secondhand knowledge from school or books or television. And Riley was just too.. something. I can't put my finger on it, but he didn't ring true as a male character. It was too obvious that it was written from a female point of view (similar to how the character of Amanda Feral in Mark Henry's Happy Hour of the Damned is obviously written by a man).

After reading the last two chapters, my guess as to how the story ends was affirmed. Salvaged is a very predictable story with strong Christian undertones and a very strong message about chastity. It seems as though Miller doesn't trust teenagers to be able to control themselves, not even with Eskimo kisses and silly nothings whispered into ears. It borders on the absurd. It isn't necessary to be a complete and utter prude in order to save yourself for marriage. And it also isn't the girl's fault that the boy feels randy and gets set off by little things, like the aforementioned Eskimo kisses. That was just too much.

I'm sorry to give this such a negative review, as it had great potential. However, the Christian storyline really ruined it for me. Sorry, Ms. Miller.

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