Salvador Resendez–Salva to his friends–seems to have it all. He’s Student Body president, captain of the football team, and has a near-perfect GPA. Everyone thinks that he could have any girl, and go to any college, that he wants. But how could he ever leave his family? After the death of this mother, his father and younger sisters need him more than ever. Then the most unlikely girl in school–shy, quiet Beth–catches his eye, and with her help, Salva starts to see things differently. And when a tragic accident strikes, Salva is forced to accept that life is too short not to pursue your dreams.
Thoughtful and romantic, this is a beautifully written story about following your heart and fulfilling your potential.
Salvation was the perfect book to start my year with. It’s a more serious contemporary story with a great message. Anne Osterlund’s first contemporary novel greatly impressed me.
Salvation is the story of Salva Resendez and Beth Courant, two very different people. Salva is smart, funny, popular, kind, and the all-around good guy. Beth is known as the walking disaster area. She’s smart and kind but she’s a little odd and she lives on the edges of high school society. When chance throws the two together they realize that maybe they aren’t that different after all, at least in some aspects. However, their few differences threaten to ruin anything they might have together.
The characters are the best part of the book. Salva, Beth, Nalani, Luka, Pepe, all of them are unique and wonderful in their own ways. Salva is a wonderful guy who definitely managed to make me fall for him (along with Beth, obviously.) He was not only a football star but also the school valedictorian and class president. He was a very well-rounded character when the book began but he was even better by the end. Beth was a little crazy but in the best possible way. She was quirky, cute, funny, and kind. She was so easy to relate to (especially with her long-time crush on Salva.) Nalani was Beth’s best friend and she truly loved Beth no matter what other people thought. Luka was a good guy though he didn’t play a huge role in the story. Pepe really added some humor to an otherwise rather serious book. He was a bit of a playboy but he was a good guy at heart.
The story was pretty much your typical contemporary high school romance for most of the book. There was quite a bit of build up leading to Beth and Salva’s relationship but that was honestly what I liked best. Beth and Salva’s relationship was very fleshed out and there was no case of insta-love here. The romance was not the sole focus of the book however. There were college worries and life worries and it was a very realistic portrayal of a high school senior’s life. The big shocker though came close to the end. Let me just say, I did not see it coming and I was thoroughly torn up by it. By the end of the book I had tears running down my face and I definitely needed some tissues with this one.
Overall, Salvation is one to check out. It’s clear that Anne Osterlund doesn’t just succeed with historical stories but contemporary ones as well.
First off, tell us a little about you and your books.
I belong to a fluffy orange kitty named Simba. And I am also the author of four young adult novels: Salvation, Academy 7, Aurelia, and its sequel Exile. Aurelia and Exile are fantasies about a princess who should not be a princess—think Cinderella inside out and with an assassination plot. Academy 7 is a science fantasy about two teens who risk everything to attend the most prestigious school in the universe. And Salvation is . . .
Describe Salvation in 140 characters or less.
A YA contemporary novel about Salva, a young man who doesn’t want to be everyone’s salvation, and Beth, the walking disaster area.
How was it different for you, going from writing historical fantasy and science fiction to contemporary?
Well, it was rough. No looking up the dates of every single word to determine whether it existed during the time period. No researching the furniture in every scene to see what it might have looked like. No need to invent machines that don’t really exist or avoid earth-related metaphors. LOL.
In truth, each genre has its own beauty and challenges. The greatest difference, though, is that even when the stories reflect modern issues, there is a certain barrier that exists in fantasy and sci-fi. In contemporary fiction, that barrier is void. The issues are real and immediate.
The characters in Salvation all have very different personalities. Is there one character most like you?
Um . . . no, of course not. I never lose things like Beth. (I say as I glance around the room wondering what on earth happened to my address labels). Or type up my notes like Salva. (I add, while, yes, typing up the third draft of this interview). Or—cough—set ridiculously unreachable goals like both Salva and Beth. (Such as writing four young adult novels for Penguin Books).
In truth, I think all authors relate to their main characters. But ultimately Salva and Beth are very much themselves. They have no problem arguing with me when necessary.
The ending of Salvation leaves things open for more. Any plans for a companion novel or a sequel?
Salvation is a standalone novel; and unlike my earlier books, it was conceived that way. Though, of course, anything is possible!
Just for fun: What is one YA book that you would like to recommend to readers?
(I grapple with the impossibility of this task and randomly select . . .)
Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson.
I think her other books are better known, but this is actually my favorite of her novels. The hero has a wonderful sense of humor, and his depiction of life in high school is fabulous.
Thank you, Katie, for hosting Salva, Beth, and I on our tour! You and your visitors are all welcome to come visit us any time on: