Salvage by Keren David

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Salvage by Keren David

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: Strong tale of family and identity with brilliant relationships between the lead characters builds to a stunning climax. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: January 2014
Publisher: Atom
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0349001371

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Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2015
Shortlisted: Romantic Novel Awards 2015 - Young Adult Romantic Novel

Cass is adopted. She's always been happy in her new family, getting on well with her parents and feeling protective of their natural son Ben. So when her father, a high-ranking MP, is revealed to be having an affair with a woman not much older than her the betrayal hits her hard. Aidan, her brother, manages to get back in touch with her shortly afterwards and seems to be the bright spot in her life. But how much do these siblings really know about each other?

I'm a huge fan of Keren David, particularly her When I Was Joe trilogy, and I've been looking forward to reading this stand-alone for ages. I found it to be a really compelling read - dual narrators Cass and Aidan are good characters and their past history is revealed at just the right pace. Aidan is perhaps the more obviously sympathetic as he's clearly had horrendous problems when growing up, but Cass is also someone who shows that despite her material advantages she suffers from issues of her own. The love interests - Will, a boy Cass befriends and Holly, Aidan's girlfriend - are both well drawn as well. I particularly liked the family relationship Aidan was trying to build with Holly and her 2-year-old son Finn, but Cass's developing romance with Will is also very well-handled.

While most of the book is about the three central relationships - the two contrasting romances and Cass and Aidan rediscovering each other - the progression of these relationships brings us to a heartstopping climax which had me desperately worried about the fates of all of the main characters, and one or two more besides.

I was very impressed by the way David tackled so many complicated themes here - family, identity, honesty, consequences and the class differences between Cass and Aidan all play a big part in the book. Between this, the Joe trilogy and earlier stand-alone Lia's Guide to Winning the Lottery by Keren David she's proving herself to be an extremely consistent author. Oh, and the book also benefits from a really striking cover! The front shows Aidan standing with his back to the reader; the back with Cass in the same pose. It's a stunning image which immediately shows the differences between the pair.

High recommendation to all, particularly fans of teen contemporary.

Other than David's earlier works, mentioned above, I think her fans would also love Simon Packham. He's another author who writes tough contemporary stories with stunning endings - particularly his recent Firewallers by Simon Packham.

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Buy Salvage by Keren David at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Salvage by Keren David at


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