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Save Yourself

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  4,554 ratings  ·  487 reviews
Save Yourself has the narrative flair of Gillian Flynn and Adam Ross, the scruffy appeal of Donald Ray Pollock, and the addictiveness of Breaking Bad.

Patrick Cusimano is in a bad way. His father is in jail, he works the midnight shift at a grubby convenience store, and his brother's girlfriend, Caro, has taken their friendship to an uncomfortable new level. On top of all t
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 6th 2013 by Crown
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3.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,554 ratings  ·  487 reviews

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Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
this book surprised me, in a good way. i don't know what i thought it was going to be, but i definitely wasn't expecting what i got. and i like that i can still be surprised by books, this far along in my reading career.

it's the story of two brothers, patrick and mike, whose father is in jail after he killed a little boy when he was driving drunk. it's the story of mike's live-in girlfriend caro, whose desperate trapped boredom in her housewife-without-the-ring life leads her into patrick's bed
Aly (In Wonderland)
Jul 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edelweiss, adult, faves
It's not about danger, it's about control. Keep people scared and stupid and you can make them do anything you want.

This book. Once upon a time, Kelly Braffet blew me away with her book Josie and Jack. It had left me tied up in knots and book-hungover for days. Braffet has a way of screwing with your head in the subtlest ways possible. Although some people compare her to Gillian Flynn, the latter author is more direct in screwing with your head. Braffet, on the other hand, does it subtly. Th
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Patrick and Mike's dad ran down a young boy. Drunk driving. They are now on their own and live with their own demons.

Mike was strong and good-looking and he made her feel safe, but that wasn't the kind of thing he thought about. Patrick might have understood, but Caro thought Patrick had grown acclimated to misery, and even as he knew the beer cooler was poison he wouldn't have been able to get rid of it.

This book was so personal for me. My dad spent 26 years in prison. I know that feeling of yo
Ash Wednesday
Jul 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of the disturbing and dysfunctional
Who made God’s washing machine?
Who made the pointy things that stuck in God’s feet?

Let’s draw comparisons as a jump off point for this one. This book was like that movie Love Actually without the Wet Wet Wet Christmas and with every character living out their own personal versions of hell, taking a trajectory without any conceivable escape. I think I was expecting something along the lines of R-rated Courtney Summers or Hannah Harrington but ended up feeling like I read an exploded, nov
Adrianne Mathiowetz
Jun 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Pure entertainment with no meaty reward. You will learn nothing from this book, about humanity, or yourself, or timespace, or plants, even, you definitely won't learn anything about plants. The writing is perfectly adequate without ever being beautiful. You will continue to turn the pages in a kind of ambivalent horror, wondering what could possibly happen next, and that is the biggest selling point of this book -- its plot darts unpredictably like a frightened or possibly rabid animal, and you ...more
There must be something in the water that Stephen King's family is drinking.

King is currently in a bit of a second renaissance, producing some of the best work of his career. Then there's his son, Joe Hill, who with Horns and NOS4A2 has rocketed onto my authors to watch list and earned the same distinction has his famous father of "I will read everything he writes."

Add to the list of talented authors in the King family tree, his daughter-in-law Kelly Braffet. Her latest novel Save Yourself wasn
Patrice Hoffman
Jul 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
I haven't read any book recently that I can recall that has as many seriously messed up people as this one does. Patrick, Layla, Mike, Caro, and Verna all live in the small town of Ratchetsburg, PA. Their lives intersect because of another even worse pscyho. Enough about that.

Save Yourself begins with recounting the circumstances of Patrick's life. The son of a murderer. His father killed a boy while driving drunk. The town won't let Patrick forget that he and his brother Mike, need to pay for
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

3.5 Stars

"Families were like oceans. You never knew what was under the surface, in the parts you hadn't seen."

The Cusimano family consists of brothers Patrick and Mike (whose greatest claim to fame is having an incarcerated father who was jailed for killing a little boy while driving drunk), and Mike’s live-in girlfriend, Caro. The Elshere family is comprised of sisters Layla and Verna and their “God Warrior” parents. When Layla begi
Ellen Gail
Holy. Shit.

Do me a favor.

Drive out away from the city and find yourself an isolated patch of countryside, away from streetlights and cars. Wait for night to fall. Look up at the night sky. Look at allllllll those 500 kajillion stars chilling up there. See those?

I'm hereby awarding every single one of those (stars, fireflies, great kings of the past, whatever) to this book.

Bravo. I think I'm broken.
Oct 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Book: Save Yourself

Author: Kelly Braffet

Published: August 2013 by Crown, 320 pages

First Line: "Patrick worked the day shift at Zoney’s GoMart one Wednesday a month: sealed into the vaccuum-packed chill behind the convenience store’s dirty plate-glass windows, watching cars zoom by on the highway while he stood still."

Genre/Rating: Literary fiction; 4/5 lost little girls dying their hair maroon and silver just to fit in somewhere...anywhere

Recommended if you like: Owen King, Gillian Flynn, Rick M
Julia Fierro
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
BEST NOVEL I READ ALL SUMMER. So great. I loved this author's previous books, but Save Yourself was even more thrilling, complex, masterfully written. A 2013 must-read.
Aug 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Kelly Braffet’s Save Yourself will eat at you. It’s dark, it’s brutal, and it doesn’t quit. It only tightens its grip on your windpipe like a python, squeezing harder and harder, tighter and tighter until it reaches its breaking point. And when you do reach its end, it won’t leave you feeling great, but it will make you feel better for having read it.

There’s Patrick, who works the overnight shift at the convenience store, Zoney’s, who quit his previous job because he couldn’t take the whispers
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The publish date on this book is a while off, but I picked this book up and couldn't put it down. I was really impressed by it. I've been in a bit of an "actual book" reading slump for awhile. I've been tearing through audiobooks like crazy, but when it comes to an actual book in hand, nothing has held my interest in quite awhile. The little blurb about this book said it was like Gillian Flynn and Donald Ray Pollock, and I happen to enjoy the darkness of both of those writers so I was really int ...more
Aaron  J. Clark
Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: some-favorites
Best book I've read all summer (maybe this year). Prepare to squirm in your seat as the tension builds. You won't be able to keep still throughout the last 75 pages. Kelly Braffet is genius and I've loved her since day one.

Also-make sure to ignore the generic "blurb" (which reads like a blurb for some run-of-the-mill cliched-type YA fiction). Although Braffet's characters are often in their teens/twenties (see Josie and Jack also), this is straight up dark fiction at its best. Braffet has an ori
May 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
It wasn't until about three quarters of the way through this book that a light bulb went on for me: wait. This isn't some coming of age novel with redemption and learning at the end. This is a sick, twisted novel that preys on everyone within it. I didn't know much of anything about this book going in (obviously) and I wonder how different my opinion would be if I did. As it was, I felt cheated and misled.


The fact that the goth kids are really the evil, fucked up blood-sucking (OH CO
Jul 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Goodreads has taught me that I'm really bad at writing about books, but this one had a slow burn, filled with characters that felt like people I've known throughout my own life. Once things come together you are IN it speed reading through to the end. So, yeah, READ THIS.
I've got to go add more of Braffet's books to my reading list.
Rory O'Connor
Jul 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
My review in its entirety appears here:

Are you interested in getting me to read a particular book? Tell me it has the scruffy appeal of Donald Ray Pollock (my most favorite among favorite authors) and the addictiveness of Breaking Bad. I’ll read it. When I read that Kelly Braffet’s latest novel, ‘Save Yourself’, had both of those attributes – consider me sold.

Patrick Cusimano’s life is not the way anyone would want their life to be, let alone Patrick himse
Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Prepare yourself for a poetic inferno of a ride.

This author has successfully created an inferno here on earth amidst people, characters you know and see everyday, characters whom whilst not quite understanding the real deal trapped in a vicious circle of love, pain, submission and rebellion.

Betrayal, murder, revenge, ties that bond with serious consequences, parents failing their kids, parents that want control and order, others that had lost it, young girls, sisters in rebellion whom want to un
Jul 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Kelly Braffet leads her characters through a sinister court dance that winds in tighter and tighter circles until neither you nor they can breathe. Their very human mistakes stem from a quest for affection and validation; their paths predictable and inescapable, yet heartbreaking and apprehensible. Save Yourself is not devoid of surprises, but its dramatic effectiveness is rooted in the suspense of knowing the horrors ahead of Patrick, Mike, Caro, Verna, and Layla; in wishing them the best despi ...more
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Save Yourself is very good novel from Kelly Braffet. Crisp writing, smooth, easy dialog and a slow churn of a story. I dug it. With that said, my only peeve is that I could have done without *Major Spoiler Alert* (view spoiler) I realize that the story was supposedly building up to it the whole time, but it felt forced to me and it did not “fit” the rest of the story in atmosphere or tone. I would have preferred a simpler, less “ ...more
Patrick and Mike Cusimano were finding that life after their alcoholic father had been sentenced to prison for the hit-and-run death of a child was much worse than they had imagined it would be – if they had even thought about it. But the misguided guilt that Patrick felt was made worse by the nineteen hour gap between finding the damaged and bloodied car in their garage and going to the police. The blame directed toward Mike and him was such that their lives were made very uncomfortable to say ...more
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-books
I read this in one long sitting this afternoon. I am now tired and sad.

Save Yourself is one of the saddest books I've ever read - the tragedy comes from the relentlessness of the sorrow. The reader spends time in the heads of three characters - Patrick, Verna, and Caro - and each is drawn with compassion and intelligence. It's about small people in a small town, whose decisions turn everything inside out. It might be more accurate to say that it's everyone's dithering that causes the problems,
I finished this book last night as I just could not put it down as it raced towards an unpredictable climax. Although not an easy read with themes that were quite dark and depressing, it was compelling. It did seem to bring out a lot of raw emotions and there were times I cringed and others when I felt, just like the characters that I was struggling to breath. I felt both empathy and despair for Layla, Patrick and Verna and as awful as it is to admit it rage and anger towards Justinian, Eric and ...more
Rachel Smalter Hall
Once upon a time in a faraway land I denied being the "thriller-reading type" — but then I started reading the really dark and twisty stuff; the kind where everyone wriggles and squirms and NO ONE gets to be the good guy. Sold! Kelly Braffet's wonderful new book is about as dark and twisty as it gets. Eight attractive teenagers with shitty lives scramble to fend for themselves in a miserable world where grownups turn their backs just when their protection is needed most. At the story's core are ...more
Taylor Morrissey
This book was dark and twisted, the characters broken and flawed. This is the only book I’ve ever read where the POV changes from chapter to chapter where I’ve equally loved all three narrators (Patrick, Verna, and Caro). Braffet is excellent at writing anti-heroes.

Save Yourself made me feel things, and while I've been fortunate enough to not have personal experience with most of the book's subject material, Braffet made it quite easy for me to identify with each character. Caro's monologues in
Sep 01, 2015 rated it liked it
This could quite possibly inspire a "deliciously melodramatic" shelf, simply so it could be the single (so far) star of the show, or perhaps as Kelly's review suggests, a "psycho goth teen" shelf. I didn't have a whole lot of expectations going in but I was pleasantly surprised by the twists & turns here, particularly those concerning said psycho goth teens.

Cody | codysbookshelf
Aug 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rebecca McNutt
I found Save Yourself to be intriguing at first, but it soon became ridiculous and odd, and not in a good way. It also had a lot of crude and vulgar words that just seemed unnecessary.
Aug 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013, thriller
I'm finding Save Yourself a hard book to review, because I can't seem to make my mind up about it. On the one hand I really liked it and found it compelling, especially towards the ending, but on the other hand I found the book slow going and at times a bit of a depressing slog. And every time I sit down to write my review I tend to oscillate between these two extremes. One thing is sure, either way Braffet certainly succeeded in getting a reaction out of me, which surely is part of what a book ...more
Jessica Woodbury
Jul 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, arc, bff
I am always wishing there were more books about people who aren't well off in New York City, and Braffet has fulfilled my wish quite nicely. Patrick, Mike and Caro are sleepwalking through life, working dead end jobs, just making ends meet.

The weaknesses of the book come mostly from the other protagonists, Layla and Verna, raised by an overzealous born again father and rebelling to find themselves. Elements of their lives are real and viscerally true, others feel somewhat manufactured.

A few of
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Giveaway on Devin...: Giveaway! (8/12-8/31) 7 89 Aug 21, 2014 02:38AM  
Get Lit: July's Book 1 4 Jun 13, 2014 08:39AM  
Women in Detectiv...: Kelly Braffet 's Save Yourself Discussion 1 24 Sep 18, 2013 06:13PM  

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I'm the author of the novel Save Yourself, to be published in August 2013 by Crown Publishing, which is a heartwarming story about a boy man and his dog teenaged stalker. It's also about a bunch of people wondering what to do about their parents, and what to do about their children, and what to do about money, and what to do about God. There's also a few bits about Led Zeppelin, and a few bits abo ...more
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“To kill was to be doomed. To kill was to die, yourself.” 37 likes
“Caro needed to be important. It was boring and typical and transparent as hell, even to her, but she couldn’t turn it off any more than she could quit having arms.” 36 likes
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