July 2, 2013

Spotlight on: Saving Ben by Ashley Farley

Saving Ben by Ashley Farley 
Publication date: January 31st 2013
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Mystery


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Synopsis:
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.
Saving BenSaving Ben by Ashley Farley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was intense. It deals with some very heavy issues in a realistic and truthful way. The story centers around brother and sister, Ben and Katherine. They are attending college together, Ben as a junior, Katherine as a freshman. When Katherine meets her new roommate, Emma, the close relationship that Ben and Katherine have always shared is strained and tested. Ben begins "dating" Emma, who is a manipulative, selfish, tease. She is a very bad influence on Ben, and he begins acting very out of character - acting like a jerk to his younger sister who he previously adored and protected, and getting strung out on alcohol and drugs. But this is only the beginning of a very long series of nightmarish events. Emma's behavior escalates into stalkerish, psychotic tendencies, and people around them start to get hurt. Katherine and Ben have to fight to repair their relationship and rely on each other if they have any hope of saving what is left of their friends and family.

I have to say that this book had me in tears several times. There are several "messages" in this story, but the one that hit closest to home for me was the relationship between Katherine and her brother. They had always been so close, becoming that way after years of emotional neglect and absence from their parents. They only had each other to rely on. It was really hard seeing that bond ripped to shreds by one egomaniacal bitch. I can only imagine how much it hurt Katherine to have to watch her brother slide farther and farther down the hole that he dug for himself as he became more wrapped around Emma's finger.

Another theme in this story was that of childhood friendship. I was glad to see that Katherine had Archer, a true friend that she had known all of her life that she could confide in during all of the Emma craziness. And then of course there were George and Abby, Ben and Katherine's summertime friends that they grew up with when they spent summers at their lake house. Without giving anything away, I will say that the situation with Abby was very, very sad, and I hated to see things end up that way with her. I'm not surprised really with the snowball effect that it had on George and what it lead him to ultimately do. Just tragic, and sad, and so, so unnecessary.

I really liked this book. I tend to go for books that are a little more lighthearted and fun, with more romance thrown in, but every once in a while I need to read a book like this that's more serious. It makes you appreciate what you have in life, and reminds you to be thankful that you don't have the problems that you are reading about. I know that it's fiction, but there are people out there that are dealing with some of these same issues day in and day out. You should definitely give this book a read.

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AUTHOR BIO
I wrote a novel, SAVING BEN, in honor of my brother, the boy I worshipped, the man I could not save. It’s not a memoir, but a story about the special bond between siblings.

I'm a wife and mother of two teenagers. I have lived in Richmond, Virginia, for seventeen years, a city I love for its history and traditions. Personal experience with my brother inspired me to become involved with the leadership symposium in my son’s school where I’ve helped bring in speakers to raise parents’ awareness of the alcohol and drug problems children face. When I’m not steering volunteer committees or working on my next novel, I can be found swimming laps or playing tennis.

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