International Latino Book Award Winner 1st Place—Most Inspirational YA
1st Place—Best Latino Subject-Focused YA
Reviews for SALVATION:
“ By the end of the book I had tears running down my face and I definitely needed some tissues with this one.”
— Katie (Katie’s Book Blog)
Salva Resendez came to the United States from Mexico as a child. He works hard to achieve his dreams, or at least, to achieve the dream his parents want for him. Straight-A student, student body president, and football star, Salva has it all until he begins to notice talented writer Beth Courant. Beth helps Salva discover what his dreams really are, but they both learn that you can’t always get what you want unless you’re willing to give up something else. In this Romeo and Juliet–esque story, told in alternating chapters, Osterlund creates a painfully real tale about two teenagers going against an unrelenting world. Along with a solid story, this also delves into issues of culture and race. Many teens who also face pressure from their family or society will instinctively relate to the story’s message: life isn’t always about popularity and grades, and sometimes the people who love you don’t know what’s best.
Osterlund offers a believable and touching relationship between two protagonists readers will come to believe belong together.
Despite the hardship of immigrating to the United States from Mexico in elementary school, Salvador “Salva” Resendez, now a senior, is a straight-A student and the star quarterback of his football team. Having taken freshman English in middle school, he’s not happy when he’s saddled with the additional responsibility of AP English with a teacher known as “the Mercenary” instead of phys ed. Beth Courant, aka the “walking disaster area,” is also an A student—though a hopelessly disorganized one—and a gifted writer. Her pitch-perfect, third-person internal dialogue, which fluidly alternates with Salva’s, reveals grief over the loss of her grandmother and her mother’s neglect. When Salva receives a D from the Mercenary, he turns to Beth. Predictably, Salva begins to return Beth’s hitherto-unrequited crush, but what is unpredictably refreshing is the manner in which their romance unfolds. Salva and Beth both want a brighter future, but when tragedy strikes, it will take their combined strength . . . to pull them through.
The romance ultimately rises . . . to tell a story of friendship, love and determination that will satisfy readers. (Fiction. 14-17)
School Library Journal:
High school seniors Salvador Resendez and Beth Courant both struggle with family pressures and dream of leaving their small town where the only opportunity is to work in the local onion-processing plant. Salva’s father demands perfection from his son to prove that leaving Mexico and creating a new life in America was worth it, and the popular teen is determined not to let his family down the way that his college-dropout older brother has. Shy and clumsy bookworm Beth copes with her mother’s recovering alcoholism and wants to leave her trailer-park home behind to attend a good college on a full scholarship. Forced to work together for a school project, Beth and Salva soon experience a tender connection that has them flirting over Shakespeare in this modern Romeo and Juliet tale. Readers looking for a gentle story of first romance will enjoy this sweet offering.
— Madigan McGillicuddy
Falling in love with someone who sees the real you and believes in your potential, who can see beyond the surface trappings of clothes and looks and social class, is irresistible to readers, and Salvation is no exception. Although they are from different worlds, we know these characters belong together, and that keeps us turning the pages in hope that they stay together. Recommend this book to readers who enjoyed Simone Elkeles’ Perfect Chemistry.
Salvation is Anne Osterlund's first Contemporary YA novel, and for it being her debut in the genre I think it is excellent. First, I was really impressed with how Osterlund really captured the pressure and struggles many Mexican families have to go through. Being a Mexican myself, I found it incredibly easy to sympathize with Salvador, and I really think that everyone will be able to relate to him.
Beth was also a great character, she knew how much someone or something had to offer and she didn't expect any less. It almost felt like she was that little voice in the back of our minds telling us to push forward and I really wished I was more like Beth, who honestly had every reason to be disappointed in life, and yet, she kept pushing.
Of all of her books, I think this one definitely has the most serious message, one that will be wonderful for teens. Salvation is all about taking action, fighting for rights, doing your best, and finding your passion.
If you're looking for YA with diversity in both race and socioeconomic status, Salvation is a delight. Populated with lifelike characters and a lovely message, I highly recommend Osterlund's latest to lovers of contemporary novels.
Overall, Salvation was a great story! . . . The whole cultural aspect of Salvation was both enlightening, and honest.
Another aspect I thought was beautiful to watch was Salva's self-discovery of who he was, and who he wanted to become. Salva made immense character growth in this story. At the begining of the story, Salva tried to please everyone, keep his mouth shut, instead of expressing his thoughts, emotions, and opinions, and let fear stop him from being the best that he could possibly be. By the end of the story, with the guidance of Beth, Salva expressed his thoughts, and emotions, stood up for his beliefs, was honest with himself, as well as his father about what he wanted, and didn't let fear stand in his way of pursuing his dreams.
Here's a little gem I didn't expect. First I have to gush about the cover. I love meaningful covers. And meaningful titles that actually relate to the story.
Beth and Salvador are a very unlikely couple. She's basically a wallflower, a bookish, smart and silent girl that has had a crush on Salva for four plus years. But behind her quiet demeanor is a fierce, passionate young woman with strong beliefs. I loved the effect she had on Salva, the way she was always making him be the best he can be and never settle for less than he deserved - and most importantly, she practiced what she preached. They weren't just empty words.
Salvador is the golden boy of Liberty High, but not in your typical sense. His character strays from the usual golden boy - he's of Latin descent, his parents poor Mexican immigrants, his ambitions less athletic and more academic. He's a natural leader, but he doesn't want to be. His father's pushing him to aim higher, do better was understandable considering his background, and it wasn't out of being strict and controlling - he really wanted the best for his children. There are a lot of flaws to Salva, always looking to please, keeping up appearances, never speaking his mind so as not to offend anyone - and while forgetting himself and his wishes in the process.
I loved their relationship and how there wasn't some major drama about it. At first I thought I knew where the story would go, that he would use her for passing AP English under false pretenses -> cue the drama, but he's just not that guy! I think it's very realistic, the way they just realized they liked each other and went for it. Oh, the Romeo and Juliet scene, I was grinning like a loon. It was awesome, I felt like I was there and the whole thing was playing out in front of me.
The little twist - I didn't expect it at all.
I won't spoil anything, but I'll just say that the author surprised me, first with what happened and then how it happened which really caught me off guard.
I loved the way it was written - I always prefer 3rd person POV to first, and the transition between Beth and Salva's POVs was pretty smooth. They had great chemistry. The conflict was very believable to me, and I applaud the author for not inventing some petty problem or misunderstanding to split these two. For those who like to know these things, there are no sex scenes in this book, it's very clean.
Overall, the book was unexpectedly good, I think. The subtle romance, realistic problems, great characters, and a really good message. I loved it all, and I definitely recommend it!