Genre: NA Contemporary Mystery
Publication Date: January 31, 2013
Source: Received for review for book tour
Life is sweet for Katherine Langley. A freshman at the University of Virginia, she is free from the drama of her parents’ dysfunctional marriage and ready to focus on studying to become a nurse. Her brother, Ben, belongs to the hottest fraternity on campus, and her new roommate, Emma, is beautiful and charming, a party girl whose answer for a hangover is happy hour. She is also a psychopath.
When Katherine’s obsessive-compulsive overprotective brother succumbs to Emma’s charms and falls dangerously off-track, Katherine must save Ben from himself. Lives are threatened and someone disappears on New Year’s Day. The only evidence left: a single set of footprints in the snow.
From the university campus to a cozy cottage on Carter’s Creek, Virginia, Saving Ben is a haunting tale of love and loyalty, anger management, substance abuse, and betrayal. (Summary from goodreads.com)
Saving Ben is not my typical read. In the end, it also was not what I was expecting. This book turned out to be interesting, but probably one I will soon forget all about.
Though there was one part I teared up at a little, I couldn't really bring myself to care about any of the characters beyond the basic, "I hope everything turns out well for them." Kitty, the narrator, is a bit bland for my tastes. Kitty would go to any lengths to protect her brother, apparently, yet nothing she does is all that exciting. She does a lot of sitting around and waiting for things to play out. And Ben...well, I don't care how messed up you are or how guilty you feel afterward--if you slam your sister against a fucking wall and choke her...no. Just no. It wasn't just that, either. I just couldn't sympathize with his downward spiral. Cocaine, begging Kitty for money, telling Kitty off when she tries to give him a little clarity. All for what? Sex? Get the fork out of here. Their bond is supposed to be so strong and yet one psycho-bitch can tear all that to shreds?
The plot had a certain predictability about it, and I really didn't like the way it kind of shifted toward the end. I may not have been able to sympathize with Ben's corruption, but it was still compelling. There is a dark, tense feel to the book as Emma manipulates Kitty, Ben, and many others. There is a sort of triumphant feeling that comes as Emma's lies unravel. And then WHAT DO YA KNOW it becomes a murder case. Wtf? In a way, it was a cheap shot of an ending. Not to mention a tad cheesy. I definitely found the first 3/4 of the book more enthralling than the end. If this book had a killer ending, this book would have been 74826459 times more astounding. The truth of the matter is, though, that the ending we are given is simply lackluster. Not nearly tense or emotional enough.
Don't even get me started on the drinking. These kids were seriously always drinking. ALWAYS.
I'd say if you're looking for a NA book with a very minimal focus on romance, this is definitely your book. I was trying it out, and it may not have really been my thing, but I still enjoyed most of it. Saving Ben has a storyline you'll want to see through to the end, full of various secrets, tricks, and the dark effects of death, manipulation, drugs, and losing control.