There is no question that Shay Savage writes some of the most unusual, most eclectic books ever. Some I can’t get enough of *cough – Transcendence, read it! – cough* to others that hold no appeal to me whatsoever. So every time I do start a new one, I know I’m in for something unique. And Judging Books once again fits this bill.
Ashlyn, our heroine, has her life all planned out – by her father. She’s a people pleaser, so she lets him steamroll right over whatever she might want. She’s taking college courses to further the job she’s slotted for as the CFO as her father’s company. She has the right kind of friends, dresses the right kind of way, drives the right kind of car; she does everything the ‘right’ way.
But the way she’s living her life is thrown out of whack when she meets Ethan, our hero. It’s usually the heroes that are so different in Ms. Savage’s books and this is the case once again here. Ethan is younger than Ashlyn. He’s long haired and tattooed and pierced. He is everything NOT right. He introduces himself to Ashlyn while she’s on her way to a job interview for the job that’s a given. He’s odd right off the bat, but Ashlyn accepts his offer to take her to the interview, rather than walk on her ill-fitting shoes – on his bicycle.
Ashlyn knows that Ethan is not the kind of guy for her, but being a people pleaser, she doesn’t want to hurt his feelings and as she gets to know him she sees what a special, kind, loving, generous, and original person he is and falls deeply in love with him. But does she have enough inner strength to stand up to her friends and her father?
It’s a rather simple-sounding plot and conflict, but when done in the hands of a master – and I consider Shay Savage a master – it makes for a wonderful and emotional tale. I already gave a couple of Ethan’s attributes, but what makes him unique is he suffers from brain damage. They had to do some kind of surgery and now his right brain and left brain can’t talk to each other with some rather unusual results. He has suffered even more and worse things in his young life, but he faces his life with such an upbeat way that it’s almost impossible not to love him. And while Ashlyn’s capitulation to all things ‘good’ is a bit frustrating, it’s completely understandable considering her circumstances, and, though young, she’s a character I really like.
So while not completely up there with Transcendence – and for me no other book is – this is another story by Shay Savage that I’m happy to recommend.
The debutante path is a fairly straight track: who you are, who you associate with, and whose label you are wearing become priorities. They define you. They are the aspects by which you are judged.
Ashlyn’s world has been one of enlightenment and finesse, and now she is ready to take on the financial world at her father’s company just as he had always planned. Her future had been scripted long ago, but a chance meeting with a beautiful boy on a bicycle gives Ashlyn a new outlook on life.
Ethan is far too young, far too tattooed, far too pierced—just far too everything—to ever fit into her world. He has issues, too—major ones. Ashlyn knows he will never be accepted by her friends, let alone her overbearing father, but there is something about his live-in-the-moment outlook that keeps drawing her back into his arms.
Ashlyn must make a choice. Can she forgo the family dynasty and live life to the fullest with this fascinating but damaged young man?
No excerpt available.