Title: Save Yourself
Author: Kelly Braffet. She is the author of two previous books of small-town suspense, Josie and Jack and Last Seen Leaving.
Readers: Stay-at-home Moms Dana, Katie and Krysta; lawyer Cait and event planner Kathy.
Summary: Patrick Cusimano is in a bad way. His father is in jail, he works the midnight shift at a grubby convenience store, and his brother’s girlfriend, Caro, has taken their friendship to an uncomfortable new level. On top of all that, he can’t quite shake the attentions of Layla Elshere, a goth teenager who befriends Patrick for reasons he doesn’t understand and doesn’t fully trust. The temptations these two women offer are pushing him to his breaking point.
Meanwhile, Layla’s little sister, Verna, is suffering through her first year of high school. She’s become a prime target for her cruel classmates, not just because of her strange name and her fundamentalist parents: Layla’s bad-girl rep proves to be too huge a shadow for Verna, so she falls in with her sister’s circle of outcasts and misfits whose world is far darker than she ever imagined.
Our Take: This is a dark book with complex and fully-formed characters. Our readers found it really captivating and compelling. Not a typical page-turner, but we got through it pretty quickly. While it may be too heavy for some book clubs, this is definitely one to consider for group discussion.