A gripping novel full of suspense and pathos that Dennis Lehane calls an "electrifying, tomahawk missile of a thriller."
Patrick Cusimano’s life can’t get much worse. His father is in jail, he works the midnight shift at a grubby convenience store, and his brother’s girlfriend, Caro, has pushed their friendship to an uncomfortable new level. On top of all that, he can’t shake the attentions of Layla Elshere, a goth teenager who befriends Patrick for reasons he doesn’t understand, and doesn’t fully trust. The temptations these two women offer are pushing Patrick to his breaking point.
Meanwhile, Layla’s little sister, Verna, is suffering through her first year of high school. She’s become a prime target for her cruel classmates, and not just because of her strange name and her fundamentalist parents. Layla’s bad-girl rep casts a shadow too heavy for Verna to bear alone, so she falls in with her sister’s tribe of outcasts. But their world is far darker than she ever imagined…
Unless Patrick, Layla, Caro, and Verna can forge their own twisted paths to peace—with themselves, with each other—then they’re stuck on a dangerous collision course where the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Kelly Braffet has written a novel of unnerving power—darkly compelling, compulsively addictive, and shockingly honest.
“This summer’s must-read. . . . Braffet expertly captures the suffocating confines of small-town life and the desperation of its outliers, with prose that simmers and thrums. . . . The tension Braffet generates becomes nearly unbearable, and the conclusion, when it comes, feels satisfying and thoroughly earned.” —Laura Miller, Salon
"There’s storytelling skill to burn here. Ms. Braffet has empathy for her working-class characters and brings neglected places to convincing life." —New York Times
“Spectacularly nightmarish.” –Entertainment Weekly
“Kelly Braffet is the real deal. Save Yourself is an electrifying, tomahawk missile of a thriller with honest-to-God people at its core. It rocks the house.” —Dennis Lehane, author of Live by Night
“Kelly Braffet’s Save Yourself is that rare and beautiful thing—a novel that takes us to dark places not just through vivid storytelling but also through keen emotional force. It’s a tale of damaged families and the perilous weight of the past, and as the action rushes towards its chilling conclusion, you’ll find yourself breathless, shaken, moved.” —Megan Abbott, author of Dare Me
“Astonishing. Save Yourself goes deep into the hidden and shameful parts of grief, love, and anger, and the reader emerges shaken and grateful on the far end. It’s a lacerating read, and proves that Braffet is a writer in full command of her many, many talents.” —Emma Straub, author of Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures
“Excruciatingly rendered characters and locomotive plotting. . . . The plot is on a collision course that is going to end ugly—but also, in Braffet’s hands, beautifully. . . . Perceptive, nervy, and with broad cross-genre appeal.” —Booklist
“Captivating, realistically creepy. . . . Braffet uses graceful prose, astute dialogue, and vivid characters to carry the plot to an unexpected and believable finale.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)