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I will save you by Matt de la Peña
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I will save you

by Matt de la Peña

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This book grabbed me from the first and never lost me. The voice was real and vulnerable and the story was compelling. I heard Matt de la Pena speak at the National Book Festival in D.C. and he was a great storyteller in person, too. I will read more of his work. ( )
  ChristianR | Feb 3, 2014 |
The opening scene of this book is enough to make you hold your breath: Kidd faces down the dangerous young man making moves on his girl, all on the edge of a dangerous cliff overlooking the night time beach. Suddenly, the fencing breaks - and he falls hundreds of feet to the shocked bystanders and campers below. Very quickly, Matt De La Pena allows Kidd to backtrack, and through flashbacks, and journal entries, readers are given the whole story. Kidd is orphaned, struggling with many memories of his past, and working through his demons with the help of therapists and his journal, his "philosophy of life book". When his favorite therapist Maria brings her friend to the home, and "Mr. Red" offers Kidd a summer job at a campground, the staff decide he's not ready yet. But Kidd decides otherwise: he leaves Horizons, the group home he's been in for over a year, and finds his way to Mr. Red, the caretaker of the campground on the California coast, Cardiff by the Sea. Kidd begins to find his place - he likes working with the ex-surfer Red, begins to meet some of the summertime campers, gets adopted by a camp dog named "Peanut", and even develops a friendship with a beautiful girl named Olivia. All's well - but Devon - his deranged, "chip on his shoulder" group home buddy - shows up and begins to make things difficult for Kidd. The worst part is - he's determined to strike back at all those in society better off than them - whether it's shoplifting from the local shops, threatening local college guys on the beach, or most ominously, trying to get to Olivia. How Kidd navigates all of these challenges - all while he shares asides from his journal - makes for a taut, psychological read. I quickly found myself caring very much whether Kidd can manage to overcome the obstacles he faces: both from his past and from within. This isn't a fast read- there's shifts in time, sudden insertions from Kidd's "philosophy of life" journal, and intermittent passages where you realize Kidd is "imprisoned" for his rash act in the first pages. It also requires readers who can read "between the lines", because we are in Kidd's brain the entire story, all from his point of view. Nevertheless, the author is able to give us enough details and characterizations to help readers appreciate the other characters and the California beach community they inhabit. For teen readers interested in : child abuse, alcoholism, teens struggling with "scars' - outside, or inside.
  BDartnall | Nov 3, 2013 |
Matt de la Peña's I WILL SAVE YOU contains some precise and fantastic emotional moments, particularly between Kidd and his mother. A great cast of characters helps move this book along at a rapid pace, leading the reader through a journey of recovery that's also one of destruction.

I enjoyed Kidd's narrative voice, but the banter between he and Mr. Red made the strongest impact. In fact, I'd argue Mr. Red is the hidden gem of this book, (though perhaps I say that because I'm not a teen reader and can connect readily to Red's backstory and motivations a little better). Regardless, the author has managed to create one of those great adult characters that's believable and flawed without resorting to stereotypes or silly twists.

I'm off to read more by Matt de la Peña. I suggest you check him out NOW. ( )
  evanroskos | Mar 30, 2013 |
5 out of 5 stars to Matt De La Pena's I Will Save You-never saw that ending coming! Not that there weren't clue's, in hindsight, of course. ( )
  kimpiddington | Jul 5, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385738277, Hardcover)

Kidd is running from his past and his future. No mom, no dad, and there’s nothing for him at the group home but therapy. He doesn’t belong at the beach where he works either, unless he finds a reason to stay.

Olivia is blond hair, blue eyes, rich dad. The prettiest girl in Cardiff. She’s hiding something from Kidd—but could they ever be together anyway?

Devon is mean, mysterious, and driven by a death wish. A best friend and worst enemy. He followed Kidd all the way to the beach and he’s not leaving until he teaches him a few lessons about life. And Olivia.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:40 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Seventeen-year-old Kidd Ellison runs away to work for the summer at a beach campsite in California where his hard work and good looks lead to friendship and love but painful past memories surface in menacing ways.

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