cover image Saved by the Music

Saved by the Music

Selene Castrovilla. WestSide (, $16.95 (280p) ISBN 978-1-934813-14-0

Castrovilla writes an alluring first novel about the unusual relationship formed between two self-destructive teens. Willow, a 15-year-old who borders on anorexic, has had a rocky childhood with her irresponsible single mother ("I was about as supervised as an alley cat," she says). Still, she would rather spend an unsupervised summer at home than where she is instead: living on a dilapidated barge with her aunt, who dreams of transforming it into a chamber music concert hall. Willow's only distractions from her dreary days onboard are her interactions with two young men: her aunt's hired hand, Craig, who has more raw sex appeal than charm; and Axel, an 18-year-old cellist who lives alone on a neighboring boat. While Willow's relationship with Craig goes from good to bad to dangerous, Axel might just be her salvation. Castrovilla skillfully weaves the stories of Willow's and Axel's past traumas into a touching account of their growing friendship. Readers will stay on the edge of their seats to see whether the teens will be successful in overcoming their obstacles and healing emotional scars. Ages 14%E2%80%94up. (Oct.)