Families aren’t easy. Cass’s father has left home to live with his pregnant girlfriend, her mother is falling apart and out of the blue someone contacts her, claiming to be Aiden, the half-brother she hasn’t seen since she was adopted as a toddler. Aiden’s playing happy families with his older girlfriend and her two-year-old son, but living in fear that his disrupted past will turn up to haunt him. He can’t help but contact Cass when he sees her picture in the paper. The last happy relationship he can remember is their closeness when she was tiny.
Salvage is about messy families, coming to terms with the past and digging deep to get beyond your assumptions about who your loved ones are and what they have done. I’ve made it sound like an ‘issues’ book, but it’s so not. It’s a book to lose yourself in.
My only niggle with Salvage is I wonder why it was necessary to put Cass’s chapters in the past tense and Aiden’s in the present. I think their two voices would have been strong enough without this rather intrusive varying tense. In spite of this teeny flaw, I’m giving Salvage five piranhas. That’s not an accolade I hand out lightly, but Salvage passed my five piranhas test. Number 1: when I’d finished, I breathed that sigh you breathe when you’re sorry it’s over, but know it couldn’t have ended any other way. Number 2: I wanted to run around going ‘read this, read it now!’ to everyone.
Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2015