So it’s taken a few days for me to gather my thoughts on Girl Saves Boy. Upon writing this review, three things have become abundantly clear:
1. Steph Bowe is incredible. I seriously cannot believe that Girl Saves Boy was published when she was only sixteen. As I read the novel, I was blown away by how wise and astute the characters in this novel were – almost to an unbelievably poignant level. But then to learn that the author was younger than the characters were when she wrote these beautiful things just blows my mind completely.
2. I cannot thank Steph (a different Steph) from Text Publishing for giving me this book to review, even though it is several years old. You have given me a true gift.
3. Girl Saves Boy is one of those non-novel novels. Those ones that are more than just a story, more than words on a page, more than fiction. It’s one of those stories that is so full of heart and it grabs your heart in its clutches and refuses to let it go.
Let me tell you a story. A young woman is contemplating what book to read next. She dreads this decision, as her entire being is surrounded be a plethora of books. Books she wants to read, books she feels she should read, books, books, books. It’s an agonising decision to choose what to read because there is always some other book that is calling and wailing for her attention. One day, she notices a book sitting by itself on her coffee table. Surprising, since she is someone who likes to pile all her books together and stare at their spines. She decided that this lone book was giving her a sign. It wanted to be read by her and it wanted to be read by her now. So, this girl picked up this book, sat down on the couch. And didn’t move for the next four hours, which is how long it took her to devour the story within the pages of the novel. This novel just so happened to be Girl Saves Boy. And this girl just so happened to be me.
I devoured Girl Saves Boy, there is absolutely no other way to say it. From word one, page one, I was hooked. And I am being completely serious when I say I didn’t move from my comfortable reading spot on my couch until I had finished every last word in Girl Saves Boy. I couldn’t. I couldn’t tear myself away from the story, or the characters. I simply had to know what happened, and in the most efficient way possible. Which just so happened to be sitting on my couch in the same position for many hours with two cats on my legs, and a cramped knee at the end of it all.
But I’m glad I read it that way; it allowed me to be so much more immersed in the story that Bowe has created in Girl Saves Boy.
After finishing this novel, I am left wondering why it is not up there with the great contemporary books of the time. It is a beautiful story, and has amazingly realistic characters created by a teenager; someone who can clearly remember what it’s like to be one because she is one. And the characters are profound and wise because the author is so, and she was a teenager when she wrote these things and it makes this book so much more special, but also kind of makes me want to cry because how can she be so wise and profound when she is so young? It makes me wonder how she became that way. But this review isn’t about the amazing author, it is about her equally amazing story.
Move over, Augustus Waters – Sacha Thomas is in the house. Whilst I am aware that Augustus Waters is apparently the embodiment of every teenage girl/young woman/every female’s perfect boyfriend, he is very un-real. He’s great, don’t get me wrong, but no one acts like that. No one is like Augustus Waters, and there is never a chance of meeting anyone like him because they simply do not exist. And then I read about Sacha, and Augustus Waters kind of fell off the ladder entirely with his metaphorical cigarette hanging from his mouth. Sacha is beautiful, and real, and kind, and romantic, and so so sad. And sick. He can make you laugh, but he also makes you want to cry because the world is unfair and people like him don’t deserve to be ripped from its arms so young. He’s profound, but he’s also a normal teenage boy who likes TimTams and stealing garden gnomes and kissing Jewel Valentine. I am so in love with Sacha Thomas, it’s not even explainable.
The story is also told from Jewel Valentine’s perspective, who is equally as broken as Sacha and that is why they are so perfect for each other. Jewel wants to die, and Sacha wants to live, and they fit perfectly together and make the other realise that living isn’t about dying; that living is about living, no matter how long you have to do that. Their relationship isn’t perfect, or giving amazing trips to foreign countries, or contemplating the intricacies of the world. It’s simple, and beautiful, and normal. It’s perfect. It’s completely perfect.
I could go on and on about this book, and how I am begging you to read it, and how I am about to burst into tears just writing this review for you guys. I want you to read this novel, I want you to feel everything that it makes you feel. Your heart breaks, but then is patched together by the same people that broke it. You fall in love. You laugh. You cry. But you keep going, because that’s what it’s all about. That’s what life is all about.
© 2014, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.
Your Turn: Do you feel like some books simply want you to read them? Are there books that you think should be more acclaimed than they are now?