Cross-posted with As The Eraser Burns.
Happy book birthday to regional member Jeri Smith-Ready for today’s release of THIS SIDE OF SALVATION! Jeri is the author of several books including her young adult Shade Trilogy and she’s joining us today in the cyber chair for some coffee & conversation on her latest young adult novel that takes a turn for the contemporary:
Everyone mourns differently. When his older brother was killed, David got angry. As in, fist-meets-someone-else’s-face furious. But his parents? They got religious. David’s still figuring out his relationship with a higher power, but there’s one thing he does know for sure: The closer he gets to new-girl Bailey, the better, brighter, happier, more he feels.
Then his parents start cutting all their worldly ties in to prepare for the Rush, the divine moment when the faithful will be whisked off to Heaven…and they want David to do the same. David’s torn. There’s a big difference between living in the moment and giving up his best friend, varsity baseball, and Bailey—especially Bailey—in hope of salvation.
But when he comes home late from prom, and late for the Rush, to find that his parents have vanished, David is in more trouble than he ever could have imagined….
[A] smart, well-rounded, and unpredictable tale…bringing to light issues of belief versus free will, spirit versus body, and family versus self—while never being heavy-handed. — Booklist, **Starred Review**
This is a frighteningly realistic story that delicately handles the issues of religion and family—an emotional mystery sure to be popular and perfect for discussion. —VOYA, **Highlighted (Starred) Review**
THIS SIDE OF SALVATION is impossible to pigeonhole. It’s a mystery, a love story, a tale of friendship, of prejudice, and of a family overcoming tragedy; and at its heart, it’s a difficult conundrum for our time, exploring the fine line between true faith and exploitative fanaticism with humor and sensitivity. I fell hard for David’s inspired, likeable voice. Throughout the book I found myself alternately aching for his family and their suffering, wanting to kick them for their stupidity, and breathlessly hoping they weren’t all going to end up dead. David’s remarkable spiritual journey is painfully believable—and what better way to contrast the otherworldly mysticism of religion than with the physical mysticism of baseball? Jeri Smith-Ready has her finger on the pulse of American youth. — Printz Honor winner and NYT Bestseller Elizabeth Wein
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