When Patrick called the cops on his drunk-driving dad after a hit and run, he turned into one of the most hated people in the area, but he’s not prepared for the force of nature that is Layla, a wayward preacher’s daughter involved with a dangerous goth crowd, or the feelings he develops for his brother’s girlfriend, and either one could explode at any moment.
Save Yourself was a meaty thriller with fabulous characters and heart-clutching emotional suspense. The best thing about the book was while that Layla styled herself as the archetypal “manic pixie dream girl,” Patrick doesn’t fall for it. She’s not Natalie Portman in Garden State or Zooey Deschanel in anything. She’s putting on a persona and the cracks are showing. Her younger sister, Verna, tries very hard to have no persona at all, but the kids at school hate her for her father’s judgmental, bombastic behavior towards anything sinful, and in her misery she starts wondering if she should be more like Layla. Meanwhile, Patrick is universally hated because his father killed a kid while driving, and people believe Patrick covered it up. He’s living in stasis, trying to feel and do absolutely nothing, but his brother’s girlfriend Caro breaks in. The story shifts among the points of view of the various characters and builds to a shattering climax that I almost couldn’t read. So good.