Thursday, February 3, 2011

Review of Girl Saves Boy by Steph Bowe

Girl Saves Boy by Steph Bowe

Pages: 288
Publisher: Text Publishing

Published: August 30th, 2010

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

Isn’t it enough having your very own terminal disease, without your mother dying? Or your father dating your Art teacher?

No wonder Sacha Thomas ends up in the lake that Saturday evening…

But the real question is: how does he end up in love with Jewel Valentine?

With the help of quirky teenage prodigies Little Al and True Grisham, Sacha and Jewel have a crazy adventure, with a little lobster emancipation along the way.

But Sacha’s running out of time, and Jewel has secrets of her own. 

[Synopsis by Goodreads]

Girl Saves Boy is a remarkable debut from Steph Bowe, only 16 years old. From alternating perspectives, it tells the story of Jewel Valentine and Sacha Thomas, two teens who find a new lease on life after meeting each other.

Both characters have their fair share of problems. Sacha's mother recently died, he has a terminal illness himself, and his father's involved with his male art teacher. Jewel's father left after the death of her brother, and her unstable mother dumped her on her grandparents. With them now both dead, she's gone back to live with the mother she hardly knows anymore. Both characters have ample reason to be depressed - which they both are, supposedly - but neither of them give off that vibe. Indifferent, sure, but not depressed. They both talk about being weird too, but neither of them feel that quirky either.

That aside, the characters are likable, and their relationship - though rushed - has a lot of chemistry in its foundations. They go through the do-they-like-me-too? motions and feel uncertain and awkward around each other at the start, which made the relationship feel natural.

The plot was different and refreshing. It didn't adhere to the introduction-complication-resolution format. It didn't have a big complication or problem to solve, but focused more on the two characters' development. It wasn't an exciting read, but an entertaining one nonetheless.

Steph Bowe writes compelling and beautiful prose, full of figurative language. I'm interested in seeing what she pens next. I give Girl Saves Boy a 3 out of 5.


I read this book for the Aussie YA Reading Challenge.