Title: Saving Maddie
Author: Varian Johnson
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 9, 2010
My Edition: ARC Paperback
Reading Level: Young Adult
Received From: Goodreads First Reads
Summary from Amazon:
Joshua Wynn is a preacher’s son and a “good boy” who always does the right thing. Until Maddie comes back to town. Maddie is the daughter of the former associate pastor of Joshua’s church, and his childhood crush. Now Maddie is all grown up, gorgeous—and troubled. She wears provocative clothes to church, cusses, drinks, and fools around with older men. Joshua’s ears burn just listening to the things she did to get kicked out of boarding school, and her own home.
As time goes on, Josh goes against his parents and his own better instincts to keep Maddie from completely capsizing. Along the way, he begins to question his own rigid understanding of God and whether, as his mother says, a girl like Maddie is beyond redemption. Maddie leads Josh further astray than any girl ever has . . . but is there a way to reconcile his love for her and his love for his life in the church?
Favorite & Funniest Lines:
"You look like a chipmunk," she said has she took the bottle from me. "You're supposed to drink it, not store it for the winter."
Saving Maddie was an interesting, well-written, and unique story full of religion, finding your true self, and romance between two "preacher kids." The story was very different than most young adult novels and had many entertaining characters. Since I'm not very religious, I hesitated a little to read a book containing a lot of religion aspects about a preacher's son and his best friend who is a preacher's daughter. The author wrote the story so the religion wasn't such a strong element of the plot but was enough to understand the characters.
Interestingly enough, I liked reading a male protagonist in his point-of-view instead of a female main character like most of the YA books I've read. Joshua is described as the "good guy" but it's starting to define him which he starts to really dislike. His best friend Maddie moved away when they were still children, but she comes back many years later as a changed woman. She has grown up, and now does things he has never dreamed she would.
With Madeline back in town, chaos stirs up Joshua's life. She doesn't want to be changed and really hates her father who won't let her back home. Her life is really screwed up, but when Joshua and her start talking and become closer physically, she finds herself changing. Sex, drugs, and alcohol is brought up, but it isn't shown to be cool and shows how teenagers are really faced with those issues. Because of that, I really liked how the story and the characters were very realistic. I was intrigued by Saving Maddie, so I'm really interested in reading Varian's other YA novel.